2008 saw Google release its first mobile device, with the G1 handset by T-Mobile, and was originally to be known as the HTC Dream. Which, was the first ever Google Android phone, that has served as an ancestor of sorts to a long line of bloat free devices, that in time would receive software updates, and almost all of them were sold under the Google Nexus banner.
By 2009, the anticipation of a Google-branded Android smartphone was widespread amongst bloggers and tech fans. Google was already selling the Android Dev Phone 1 to developers, which was really just a HTC Dream, SIM free and unlocked. The thought that Google might be selling its own smartphone precisely to consumers was certainly intriguing.
Here we are going to take a look back to the beginning of the Google Nexus.
The first truly branded ‘Nexus’ phone has triumphed the original G1 Handset. The Nexus One was released in January 2010, and has come a long way since then. It was also manufactured by HTC and had features some very remarkable specifications for its time, for example a 1GHz Qualcomm Scorpion processor with an Adreno 200 GPU and 512MD of RAM. This phone also had an AMOLED screen, with an 5MP rear-facing camera, and a trackball that allowed users to scroll through the content without having to touch the screen.
In terms of specs, the Nexus One had undeniably stirred up the market and pushed things forward. The screen had been considered big at that time and the Nexus One was widely praised for being a powerful smartphone, yet it wasn’t a smash hit. HTC would of actually had more success with the Desire which was very similar, however it was sold with the HTC brand and through traditional carrier routes.
Within the first week, Google sold around 20,000 units and, within ten weeks in Flurry had estimated sales that reached 135,000. However, people were not used to buying mobile phones at full price online from Google and it was somewhat expensive. The reaction to this phone was very positive and these were some of the best specs that anyone had ever seen on a smartphone. Everything on the phone was great, except for the price, even by today’s standards.
The next Nexus phone has been manufactured by Samsung and was launched in December 2010 which helped promote the Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Google had decided to switch from the Android pioneer HTC and partner up with Samsung for the new Nexus S. It had continued the trend of a larger display screen with a 4-inch Super Amoled (there was a Super Clear LCD version too).
The Nexus One, was sold directly to users through Googles website and those that were interested could pick up the Nexus S through retail partners such as Best Buy. At first the Nexus S wasn’t a best seller, according to Android Central, up until six months after its arrival when Google had introduced a version on Sprint with WIMAX data capabilities. Yet, some users still complained that the phone had no expansion slot and that the processor was a little dated at that time and that it did not feature 4G or HSPA+ support.
It is not very clear on why Google had switched to Samsung, yet the general consensus seemed to be that it was anxious to spread the patronage around. The latest Android update that was available for the Nexus S was the Android 4.1, which was the first version of Jelly Bean which was introduced at Google’s I/O in 2012.
Samsung’s second design of the Nexus came to the market with a completely different design. It was still plastic but it had a much more textured back plate and was still keeping the slight curve of the screen and has a very heavy bottom.
During November 2011, Androids market shares were increasing all across the board. All the while, 57% of the new purchases, were Android handsets, as Samsungs Galaxy S II was holding one of the top spots alongside the Galaxy S 4G.
Google stayed with Samsung for the Galaxy Nexus and the name has been acknowledged for Samsungs growing success with the Galaxy brand. The announcement had to be delayed, as Steve Jobs had passed on October 5th, yet on October 19th 2011 it was made public and it went on sale the following month. The Galaxy Nexus released the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and it was madly anticipated. Google had advanced the Android platform and Samsung demolished it on the hardware front with the Galaxy S2.
The Galaxy Nexus was not a huge success, and one of the Samsung lawyers had described the sales as ‘miniscule’, however he was arguing against Apple in a patent infringement suit.
Reviews had said that the phone had a mediocre battery life, yet Google still continued to support the phone all the way up through to the Android 4.2.2.
Twas the time for change within the Nexus department, so this time Google partnered with LG. After a cascade of rumors had flooded the internet, the LG-constructed Nexus 4 finally appeared on October 29th 2012. This was the first handset to come with the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean right out of the box. This was fueled by a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM.
Most people were surprised when Google switched to LG, however it was an OEm on the up. The LG Optimus G was proving to be very successful and this then showed that LG was capable of producing high-end smartphones. The Nexus 4 was based on this and would be the most successful Nexus to date.
However, the Nexus 4 was launched with some issues. It had quickly sold out at the launch and new devices did not come in on time because of the manufacturing mix-up. Many people were disappointed with the smartphones lack of LTE connectivity also. Yet, according to estimates, Google had sold roughly around 3 million Nexus 4 handsets by the middle of 2013.
LG has been maintained as the manufacturer for the Nexus 5, which launched on October 31 2013. Google repeated their trick of offering a high end smartphone with near-flagship specs for an underestimated price. The Nexus 5 had mingled a 4.95-inch full HD 1080p display, that has a lightning fast 2.26GHz quad-core processor, and a 2GB of RAM. The phone featured an Android 4.4 KitKat and it won an instant plaudits for being an excellent performer at an affordable price.
There has been some bickering about the purpose of the Nexus smartphone line over the years. People say that it might have started as a reference design and quite a handy device for developers, yet there is no doubt that the appeal has widened beyond that scope. The Nexus 5 has never been heavily marketed and it does not come close to competing with the big Android OEM flagships in terms of sales, however it has certainly gave it a good shot to make an influence.
Google has done it again, and this time they have partnered up with Motorola to bring customers the new Nexus 6. Google has announced the release of the Nexus 6, which is the first plus-size smartphone f from Google. The Nexus 6 isn’t a simple upgrade from the Nexus 5.
The Google Nexus 6 has a razor-sharp and expansive display, a top-of-the-range Snapdragon 805 processor, the latest Lollipop OS and an OIS-equipped camera that takes stunning outdoor photos. However, the Nexus 6 is heavier and wider than most big smartphones, its call volume is also low on audio speaker. It is also the most expensive Nexus yet.
Despite the fact that the Nexus 6 trails the slimmer Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in a processor performance and native productivity features, it is still the most powerful Android handset available and the largest Nexus yet. The Nexus 6 is relatively 40% larger and heavier than the Nexus 5. This counters with improved ergonomics as the power and volume buttons are moved down the side and the back is much more heavily curved.
What does the future hold?
In the lead up to a new Nexus being revealed, there has been plenty of suspicion and speculation about what the future may hold. There have been rumors whizzing around about the new Android Silver program, and how the Nexus line was going to end. Yet, the rumors were just rumors and no one has an idea of whats next. However, there have been some Chinese whispers going round of the Nexus 9 roundup.