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Report: Google to Take Top-To-Bottom “Apple-Like” Control Over Nexus Line

gold nexus 6p

Ever since the launch of the Nexus 6P and 5X at the end of 2015, we have begun to see this narrative arise suggesting that Google needs to stop partnering with companies like LG, Samsung, HTC, and Huawei to build its Nexus devices and instead take the Apple approach, where they handle everything from top to bottom and simply contract out companies to help build devices. That essentially means going the Pixel route, where we see products like the Pixel C that were designed and essentially, manufactured, by Google. In other words, Google takes control over everything from the software to hardware design to make a tablet or computer (or phone) that is 100% Google. Sure, they are sourcing chipsets and RAM and displays and all of that, plus they need someone to physically build everything, but they aren’t asking someone like LG or HTC to add their name to it.

While this “Apple-like” control over the Nexus program seems to be the opposite of what the Nexus program was designed for, a report out of The Information this morning, suggests that’s what Google plans to do going forward. 

According to this report, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his crew has told “colleagues and outsiders” that the company will take greater control over Nexus smartphones. No time frame for when that will happen was mentioned in any form during this report, nor were there any other real details, so we don’t have much to go on other than that bit about Pichai informing “colleagues and outsiders.”

The report continues with mention of HTC potentially still hustling to try and build this year’s Nexus phone(s), but that insiders at HTC aren’t exactly thrilled that Google may want tighter control that wouldn’t include HTC’s name in any way. Then again, HTC could be the last partner before Google switches to a Google-only branded Nexus line later on.

Of course, the argument surrounding this move has to do with Apple. According to sources of The Information, Google wants more control, because it wants to compete at the high-end with Apple and is worried that Apple will continue to try and squeeze Google’s money-making opportunities out of the iPhone, which again, controls the high-end of the smartphone market. So, putting tons of money into the niche Nexus program is going to fix that? OK.

Some other bullets from the report suggest that Googlers weren’t happy that the newest Nexus phones weren’t sold through carriers and that Nexus phones typically carry “high price points.” Honestly, I don’t know that I can get on board with either of those statements. I don’t think Google likes partnering with carriers. They attempted it last year with the Nexus 6 and the phone was largely thought to be their worst selling Nexus in years. Do I even need to bring up the Galaxy Nexus fiasco? The Nexus line also has never really been sold at “high price points” outside of the Nexus 6. The Nexus 6P, at $499, is quite the bargain actually. Anyways.

So who knows what this all means in the end. If Google wants to reduce the partner participation of companies like LG or Huawei or HTC for its Nexus line, I guess it is what it is. We all know that Nexus phones will never be household items until Google puts some marketing dollars behind them. Will a top-to-bottom approach finally push them to do that?

Via:  The Information (subscription)
  • LucidSomnia

    There are other continents in the world except USA. In Europe, 6P is as high as 700 euros. So it is as expensive as another flagship. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Google resides in USA, but that is no excuse. Nexus 5 was sold for 400 US dollars, and 400 Euros respectively. I guess this has something to do with the Dollar/Euro equivalent but still, I won’t buy such an expensive device. I know I can’t have it all, but I just bring this as a contradiction to what you say.

  • Shadowstare

    I saw the headline and went straight to the comments. I forgot to read the story. Now that I have, I completely agree. Google can’t compete with Apple in terms of sales for a phone because of the carriers. Tablets are as far out of reach, but phone DEFINITELY are.

    All this tells me is that the next Nexus will be $7 or 800 unlocked, maybe more. And I HIGHLY doubt any carriers aside from T-Mobile and Sprint will sell them in their stores.

  • gintoddic

    The ones complaining about a high end phone that’s $300 less than an iphone are likely poor college students and teenagers.

  • thehouseofho

    “The Nexus line also has never really been sold at “high price points” outside of the Nexus 6.”

    That sounds like it was written by someone who didn’t know about the Nexus line until it became popular. The Nexus One and Nexus S were sold at a very high price point for the time. In fact, even the Galaxy Nexus was considered to be sold at an above average price point upon its release. It wasn’t until the Nexus 4 that the Nexus line was considered a good deal.

  • Svnjay

    Why must everything be likened to Apple? Apple is not the only company that does this. Practically every company does…

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  • Was I the only one who saw this coming last fall when the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C were released? In 2012, we had the Nexus 4, 7, and 10; in 2013, another Nexus 7 and the Nexus 5; in 2014, the Nexus 6 and 9 ― when 2015 came around, instead of releasing a Nexus phone and tablet simultaneously, Google released two Nexus phones and a Pixel tablet. It’s really only natural for the Pixel team to, after successfully designing and building a Pixel tablet, go on to design and build a Pixel phone.

  • How about Google just buys the hemorrhaging HTC and make them make their phones.

  • Steven Howe

    Actually you miss the point. Google pays Apple to keep google search on Apple phones. This ploy could force Apple to offer to continue to put google products on their phone if Google wont compete in the phone business directly. That’s worth a billion or more dollars a year.

  • Rawdawg PB

    Quite the bargain in the US in Europe raped

  • remus

    I so agree. the crap every oem installs is just hideous

  • ackthbbft

    I was planning on getting a 6P in April/May and switch to Google Fi, but hearing this news and the fact that the 6P will be considered a bit “old” by that time, I guess I may have to play a waiting game to see what Google produces as the next Nexus. (Or would that be the “Nextus”?)

  • Isydia Vibes

    if I can’t root the device to uninstall all the loaded garbage that runs in the background then it’s worth nothing in comparison to the rest of mobiles/OS’s out there! Google devices can instantly become popular if they give back control to the user who wants it

  • pramarama

    Selling phones that are way more expensive than their previous two models, and blaming carriers for poor sales.

  • jjredfish

    Oh, Google… just stop. You are embarrassing yourself. Again. How can you forget your epic Motorola failure?

    • kirko77

      Motorola was just another OEM (that had to spit of phones to pay salaries to entire manufacturing chain infrastructure, logistics, etc). This is totally different.

      • jjredfish

        Google bought Motorola to start making their own phones. They failed so miserably at it that they sold it for a 12 Billion (with a “B”) loss within a year or two.

        • kirko77

          The bought it mainly for patents and sold off cable box for few billion before dumping the rest. Either way you look at it, it’s NOT what Google wants to do today. They don’t want to manufacture their phones… they want to design their hardware (similar to how Apple does it) and then ask someone to build it. It’s stupid to be in a business of slapping together some off-the-shelf components (what Motorola was doing) because this segment is already taken by very well organized giant OEMs who do this exceptionally well

          • jjredfish

            “they want to design their hardware (similar to how Apple does it)”

            “It’s stupid… because this segment is already taken by very well organized giants who do this exceptionally well”

          • kirko77

            Mmmmmmmm… I guess you can’t put 1+1 together.
            It’s stupid trying to get into manufacturing business. Apple isn’t manufacturing iPhones… Motorola did

          • jjredfish

            Yep, got that.

            My point is that your same reasoning applies.

          • kirko77

            To what? It was silly to assume that somehow Google would eventually resurrect dying Motorola. They took a chance and moved on after it wasn’t working out… and rightfully so… because it’s stupid trying to get into manufacturing business. It’s smarter to outsource manufacturing like Apple and focus on engineering

          • jjredfish


            “they want to design their hardware (similar to how Apple does it)”

            “It’s stupid… because this segment is already taken by very well organized giants who do this exceptionally well”

            Apple is *also* “a very well organized giant” who does things “exceptionally well”…

            Therefore… ____________________

          • kirko77

            Not gonna play your twisted brain twister. If you don’t get it, i cant help

          • jjredfish

            It’s not a brain teaser. It is basic logic, using your own argument.

            Look, I will spell it out for you… (paraphrasing (look it up…)):

            1) If “it is stupid to enter a segment that is already taken by very well organized giants who do things exceptionally well” and

            2) Apple is most definitely “a very well organized giant who does things exceptionally well”, then

            3) “It is stupid to enter the segment”.

          • jay

            You took #2 out of context. The statement was – “It’s stupid to be in a business of slapping together some off-the-shelf components” which is what Motorola was doing.

          • jjredfish


            First of all, it would be “#1” that you are referencing and, secondly, the entire point is to apply kirko77’s same *logic* to both use cases. If the logic is applicable to one, then it *must* be applicable to the other.

  • Anothermuse

    This rumor seems to pop up every year. I suppose it could be true but sounds more like some comments taken out of context. Google has avoided directly competing with it’s OE partners and nothing in this supposed leak would give them a reason to anything different. Being more involved doesn’t have to mean owning every portion.

  • Orion

    Nexus…pixel… I don’t care what Google plans. It will definitely be my next phone.