Alongside new products such as the 4K Chromecast and the virtual reality headset named Daydream VR, Google has officially unveiled its new smartphones on its Oct. 4 event, called the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL, which forebodes the discontinuation of the Nexus branding Google has applied to its previous devices.
The company's launch event has long been advertised with a "Made by Google" tag, representing its tightened focus on proprietary products with a lone Google branding, doing away with collaborators it shared credit with in previous devices. It seems the first one to suffer this blow is the LG-manufactured Nexus 5X and the Huawei-manufactured Nexus 6P.
Google has officially pulled its previous flagship phones, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, from its store. Whatever footprint both devices have made on the site has now been wiped clean. Both devices are of course still available to purchase via third-party retailers, though it's uncertain if that option is going to last.
Google made a comment to The Verge stating that it currently has "no plans" in the future to introduce an addition to its Nexus line of products, which consists of 14 products in total, more than half of which are smartphones. Google collaborated with many phone manufacturers to release Nexus-branded phones over the years. According to them, the Nexus phones represent the perfect and optimal example of how a device should run Android.
One of the five most important features of the new Pixel and Pixel XL is Google's own voice-activated virtual assistant named "Google Assistant," built right into the Pixel software. With the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P disappearing from view, it's unclear whether they will receive an update that will carry over the virtual assistant. Now that both devices have been pulled from Google's own store, it seems that they're out of Google's main focus, now that its main priority is the Pixel and the Pixel XL.
The Nexus line was previously a way for the company to introduce a "definitive" Android experience using its own hardware. The selling point for past Nexus phones was the low price point they were set at, compared with much more expensive phones with similar specs. That objective, however, seemed to have gone through an inflection point once Google tried to position the Nexus devices within the high-end spectrum of smartphones, making the devices as expensive as their competitors.
At a starting price of $649 for the Pixel, the aspect of affordability seems to have stepped away from Google's new lineup. The Pixel isn't exactly what you'd call affordable, but you get what you pay for with its specs and a stock vanilla android experience.
The Google Pixel is available for preorder today. While Google is keen on its Made by Google branding, the Pixel and Pixel XL were actually manufactured by HTC, but the devices don't bear the HTC logo on the back. This is because Google was in charge of every aspect of the phone except for actually manufacturing it. Meaning, it was less of a creative collaboration and more of Google employing HTC for manufacturing.
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr