Google has announced the end of its Nexus line of smartphones and is replacing it with the Pixel line. Many a Nexus lover gasped in shock and horror as the news reached them. After all, the Nexus line is much beloved by Android purists who want to avoid the whole manufacturer overlay experience. Will Pixel have an overlay? Is it going to get bogged down by manufacturer add-ons? Read on to find out just what’s going on with the demise of Nexus and the rise of Pixel.
What’s the Big Deal With Pixel?
Google is bringing back the development of its line of smartphones to home base. That is, no more partnering and working with manufacturers to create the phone. Every last millimeter of the Pixel line is designed in-house and sent to manufacturers, such as HTC, for production.
All of the Nexus phones have been produced with the input of the manufacturer. What this translated into was a mixed bag of nuts in terms of quality. Some Nexus phones were rock solid at high price points while others were budget-priced and budget produced. The Nexus 5 is a good example of a budget phone. Made by LG, it had a poor quality camera, lower-end processor, and a weak housing. It took very little corner impact to break the digitizer on the Nexus 5. As this was the only phone offered through the Nexus line at the time, it’s not hard to imagine that the low quality did some damage to the Nexus brand name.
Google seeks to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with its Pixel brand. The Pixel C tablet was a quality product from top to bottom and was designed in-house. The tech giant is bringing this approach to the smartphone line and is planning to put its weight behind the new branding in order to compete more strongly.
What’s Happening to the User Experience?
Nothing. Pixel phones will run stock Android just like the Nexus phones did. There is to be absolutely no change to the user experience whatsoever. Google feels it’s important that smartphone buyers have the opportunity to get a quality phone without annoying manufacturer overlays. The nature of Android means that Google can’t dictate what OEM manufacturers do with Android, but Google itself can control how people use their phone, a la Apple, with the Pixel line.
Nexus users who upgrade to Pixel won’t see a difference between a Nexus and a Pixel phone except for improved hardware and function. Those who are new to the stock Android experience will find themselves using a phone that’s fast and responsive along with the physical feeling of a quality build.
The bottom line is that Pixel is a good thing for both Google and Nexus users. The tech giant is now putting out a pure Google phone that’s true to the Google brand. And users don’t have to worry about stock Android disappearing from the face of the earth.
Michele Goudie is a lover of all things stock Android and dreads the day she has to give up her Nexus 6.
Image via Flickr by Sam Greenhalgh