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

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.

SHARE:
LG_Optimus_G_35427825-3-crop_1_610x517

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

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

24 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Asus, not Acer

    The Nexus 7 is built by Asus, not Acer. Also, Google has said from the get-go that Motorola Mobility will be run as an independent buisness unit and they will not favor it over other OEMs.
    jdavis106
  • Fixed

    Took a while to show up but it has been fixed. Just emailed Acer and it stuck in my brain. Thanks.
    JamesKendrick
  • Do you get what nexus is intended to be?

    James, you write this article as if the Nexus line has been intended for mass consumer usage. It hasn't up until arguable the Nexus 7. Prior to that Google's intent was to supply DEVELOPERS with a pure android experience for apps. That's why the phones didn't have top specs or expandable memory, nor were they advertised or marketed all that much. There has been a slight departure with the Nexus 7. Now this could be a tablet only change or it could be coming to phones too. This may be why Google is rumored to be opening up the nexus line to any OEM under certain standards.

    The hallmark of the Nexus up to now has been stock android, which is why so many android enthusiasts are so critical of Verizon's nexus because google permitted some bloatware from Big Red.

    Finally, I don't know how James missed this, but in the CNET article and others (most notably from android and me, yet how they don't get credited more with this story is beyond me as they had it before CNET) have quoted that this rumored LG nexus looks strikingly like the galaxy nexus, not the Optimus G. This would resolve this this other has would it not?

    ZDNET, if you are hiring, let me know. Apparently, I follow details more than this writer and I'm just a casual observer.
    Adam Estep
    • Nexus 7 changed all that

      The Nexus 7 is aimed squarely at the consumer market so the brand has been pushed into that market by Google.
      JamesKendrick
      • That's my point

        That's exactly my point, yet you write about all the other nexus phones that were developed prior to this shift. Your criticism would be valid if another year or 2 from now, nexus phones were not of similar form or made by the same manufacturer.

        Ultimately, I believe google does want to work with one manufacturer for nexus products, but they have to be careful to not upset their OEM support. Hence the move to open up nexus brand to any under certain conditions. Then they say OEMs have while they work more closely with their Motorola brand. Development doesn't happen in a vacuum.
        Adam Estep
        • You are exactly right.

          For now it's still about expanding the Android market so OEMs are still the life blood of the platform along with software developers. Let's not forget that some of these OEMs have also created and added some cool software to the Android platform. Samsung is a good example.

          Google will continue to spread the love for another couple of years, at least.
          laequis
      • Re: Nexus 7 changed all that

        Doesn't matter whether it did or not; that's not the primary purpose of the "Nexus" designation.

        There's no reason the next "Nexus" device will be targeted at ordinary consumers; tablets were a special case because they needed a boost, while phones clearly don't.
        ldo17
  • Nexus is the Google Phone

    The Nexus program was never supposed to be just one vendor Jim and if you had actually done your work you would see this is one of Many Nexus phones coming to market very soon.

    Google stated their would be multiple Nexus devices going forward and Motorola has both a phone and a tablet coming as well.

    Besides, if the Wifi, Maps, or Camera have problems in one model then you have another to choose from!
    slickjim
  • Wat Google needs is to propose a Nexus standard

    I think what Google needs to do is allow any manufacturer to create a "Nexus" phone and brand it as such, as long as it follows certain guidelines. Google should estable minimum memory and processor specs, as well as demand that the default GUI be the plain vanilla of whatever OS is current. Also, OS updates for the phone should be guaranteed for a certain number of cycles, and should follow within a certain number of days (say 30) of the official OS release. That way, HTC, ASUS, Samsung and LG could all simultaneously offer a "Nexus" model, and consumers could buy theirpreferred brand knowing that the phone will remain current, with scheduled updtates for... say... the length of their contract.
    dsf3g
  • Never going to happen...

    "Also, OS updates for the phone should be guaranteed for a certain number of cycles, and should follow within a certain number of days (say 30) of the official OS release. That way, HTC, ASUS, Samsung and LG could all simultaneously offer a "Nexus" model, and consumers could buy theirpreferred brand knowing that the phone will remain current, with scheduled updtates for... say... the length of their contract."

    As that would put the spotlight on the issue that the OEMs would just assume keep in the dark. The reason the OEMs do it is the prestige of being chosen for the Nexus offering. If everyone could do it when they wanted to, there would be little incentive.

    The OEMs like being able to skin their phones as it makes them look different from their competitors. I also suspect that they have a strong preference to not provide anything more than bugfixes and security patches when it comes to OS updates.

    Therefore, I suspect that if any OEM could put out a Nexus device whenever they want, you may have some do it initially because they can, but that would wither away after a year or two.
    TroyMcClure
    • That depends on consumer reaction

      That depends on consumer reaction. If phone sellers discover that there is a certain group of consumers who will buy the "Nexus" model because, for instance, it is guarenteed to stay up to date with OS updates, then I could see manufacturers continue to release Nexus variants.
      dsf3g
  • wow..

    You misunderstand why people love Android - choices. I'm absolutely excited that there will be more than one Nexus device to choose from. I don't know if I want the LG or HTC one! Both companies I would not typically choose.

    Another thing - this makes sense. Many Android users did not like the galaxy nexus, because they favored the One X, for example. Many were torn. So making nexus devices from multiple companies greatly increases the odds of someone buying it.

    Last thing - this strengthens not only the Nexus Brand, but also Android! Think about what this change does to fragmentation. Up to 5 devices that are likely to sell very well, will be getting the latest updates before company flagship phones. That's a selling point, and builds confidence in the customer that their phone will be worth something longer than others. It also forces companies to advertise the nexus devices more, because Samsung, for example, can't rely on all android enthusiasts to buy their phone. They have to compete!

    This next year will be great for Android and consumers.
    Steven Stratton
    • Not the case...

      Unless I'm very mistaken, this article is simply talking about the selection of LG for the next Nexus phone, not multiple OEMs having the ability to release Nexus phones at their discretion. Sure, I don't think existing Nexus offerings will disappear, but having aging versions of the Nexus isn't the same as having a program where OEMs can release Nexus devices whenever they feel like it.

      Google's simply allowing the OEMs to each have a turn, not to trot out a new Nexus device whenever they feel like it.
      TroyMcClure
  • Android is getting even messier

    With so many skins and versions and security issues, its a no brainer not to buy a phone that runs android. A lot of version update promises were broken, which basically means that the OEMs were simply lying.

    Google is selling the OS for free and cheap tablets is because they want to shove their ad-netword and malware into those devices and then milk money from advertisers.
    owlllnet
    • Choice

      Some people like it, some people want apple to tell them exactly what they should be using and how. It's a no brainer for me not to choose a phone that is apple branded as I like choice. That's mine and your choice.

      Yes I know that true usage comes from the apps available but what you seem to forget is that android is even more app-centric. We don't need to wait a year for our maps to update, they update periodically in between major OS updates. Sooner or later even the itards are going to get bored of rolling out the OS update line - it's not as big an issue as they'd like to make out.
      Little Old Man
    • Are you accusing Google

      of deliberately installing and propagating malware through their software? Please explain what malware I've received from google so I can try and limit the functionality of this malware.
      Little Old Man
    • What else will you say

      Go and hide under your rock with your iPhone? You are an iFanboy. There is nothing in it for you
      Van Der
  • Almost Interesting

    This reads like a personal opinionated rehash (partial rehash) of information already floating around. Not a bad thing provided the trending data backs up the opinion.

    Two biggest missed points:
    1. Rumored form factor - is supposed to keep the current Nexus basic form
    2. Consumer targeted launch has yet to be done for a Nexus phone device.
    rhonin
  • What's the mass market appeal?

    The Nexus branding was to all intents a pure version of android for developers. Less cutting edge hardware but no carrier bloatware and speedier updates. Will that be enough for mass market appeal or would they remain niche market products? I know someone, who isn't a developer, who bought one for those two main reasons but all other android users stick to mainstream models.
    Is it effectively going to be effectively a "Google Choice" moniker?


    So what would
    Little Old Man
    • Oh for an edit button

      n/t
      Little Old Man