Strap in: It’s time for some wild speculation.
It’s been almost a year since we first learned that Google’s Nexus brand would be going away, replaced at the high end by Pixel, as the company ramped up its new hardware division.
But rumors continue to swirl around Google’s future plans for Project Fi and Android One. The former needs something to replace the aging Nexus 5X and 6P, and I’m not convinced a single Motorola phone is going to do the job. Meanwhile, the latter is reportedly due for a U.S. launch later this summer, as we approach Android O’s launch season.
Developments around Fi and Android One hint at the potential for Google-branded (or at least Google-adjacent) hardware outside of the Pixel line. So how might that play out? Could Nexus make a triumphant return, albeit in a slightly different form?
Google hasn’t completely ruled out a return for the Nexus brand, although the most recent information we have tells us that as of late 2016 there were no plans for any future Nexuses. However, plans can change. (The original Nexus 7 tablet was famously rushed to market in just 6 months, based on an existing ASUS design.) So for the sake of argument, let’s take a look at how Google might bring Nexus back in 2017, and how a brand name with significant recognition among enthusiasts might be adapted for a new line of affordable handsets.
Following a report by The Information in January of this year, we broke down how bringing Android One to the U.S. would require a unique approach, with carrier cooperation, and higher price points — perhaps between $250 and $450 — compared to the ultra-affordable One-branded handsets seen in emerging markets.
The unavoidable conclusion was that these phones would wind up being Nexuses in all but name, benefitting from