Next Nexus phone coming from LG: No consistency in the brand

Summary:Google has shown a willingness to share the love with its Nexus-branded phones and tablets, a move confirmed to continue with the next Nexus phone from LG. This will be the fourth hardware partner making a Nexus device, preventing consistency in the brand.

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Google's Nexus line of phones and tablets is the flagship line for the Android platform. Each Nexus device has debuted with the latest version of the Android OS, without OEM customizations to complicate things. Nexus devices have usually gotten updates in a timely fashion, something rare in the Android space.

CNET has confirmed that the next Nexus phone will appear this month, produced by LG. This will be the first time Google has teamed up with LG and it should help the latter break into the US market. The phone is expected to be heavily influenced by the LG Optimus G as seen in the photo above.

"LG is among the companies that's still struggling to turn a profit on its smartphone business. The company is hoping for better this holiday season, with AT&T selling its Optimus G and keeping the Optimus franchise name intact." — Roger Cheng -- CNET

Partnering with LG for the Nexus phone is a departure for Google, as past Nexus phones have been produced by HTC (Nexus One) and Samsung (Galaxy Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus). Those companies were at the top of the Android phone space at the time of the partnership which is not the case with fledgling LG. Google is apparently trying to help LG break into the US market with the new Nexus phone.

While Google is winning friends by spreading the Nexus love around the OEMs involved, it's not firming up the Nexus brand with consumers. Each OEM that has produced a Nexus phone in the past has built a phone nothing like other Nexus handsets, resulting in an inconsistent image with consumers. It's not really the best way to build a solid brand.

In addition to the (soon to be) three different companies building Nexus phones, the first tablet from Google (Nexus 7) is build by Asus. That partnership was a surprise given both HTC and Samsung have built Android tablets for a while. The Nexus 7 is a solid tablet so the decision to go with Asus was a good one, but it keeps the Nexus line from having consistency in design.

Partnering with different companies to make Nexus products may be a good decision by Google to keep the major partners happy, but it dilutes the brand in the eyes of consumers. The design of Nexus phones has varied greatly with each different manufacturer, and this will continue with the LG version. It might be better in the long run for Google to stick with one OEM to give the brand a consistent design over time.

It is this writer's opinion that Google would be better served to commission a distinctive design for the Nexus brand and to stick with it. Google could produce the Nexus brand with its own Motorola division but has made it clear that won't happen. It's as if Google wants its own brand yet wants to keep some distance from the devices. 

Topics: Android, Google, HTC, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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