Google's Nexus 6 is more likely to be more of a bring your own device workhorse than its larger brother, the Nexus 9 tablet.
After two weeks with the Nexus 6, a Motorola-made 6-inch phablet that is easy to hold and built well, it's a safe bet that it'll get more play among prosumers as well as employees bringing their own devices to work.
The bet: Phablets will more of a workhorse device and usurp some of the momentum enjoyed by tablets. Like the Nexus 9 tablet, the big selling point for the Nexus 6 is that it is run by a more pure version of Android that'll be updated regularly. Nexus 6 has a solid build that feels good in your hand along with nice specs including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13 MP camera, a 16:9 aspect ratio Gorilla Glass 3 screen as well as Android 5.0 Lollipop with a flatter user interface.
An unlocked Nexus 6 will go for $649, but Google is hitting all the major carriers for $199 with a two-year contract for the 32GB version. If you're into the Nexus 6 for the Android updates be aware that not all carriers are created equal when it comes to giving you the latest and greatest OS quickly. Verizon is notorious for dragging.
As for the hardware, the Nexus 6 feels like a departure from previous Nexus devices, which had an everyman quality to them. The Nexus 6 feels premium and could run against everything from the Samsung Note franchise to the iPhone 6 Plus. The hardware is engineered to fit well in your hand.
Here's what Android 5.0 brings to the enterprise table on the Nexus 6:
- Encryption is turned on automatically for new devices. The Nexus 9 arrived with encryption by default.
- Android Smart Lock, which secures phones and tablets to be secured by Bluetooth.
- Multiple user support via Samsung's Knox integration.
- Continuity between Android devices visually through Google's user experience as well as easy backup and synchronization between devices.
The win for the Nexus 6 is that it's large enough to digest corporate documents such as spreadsheets with ease, but doesn't require you to lug a tablet around. The notifications and way Google delivers information matches the Nexus 9, but seems more accessible on the smaller screen.
Naturally, Google Docs are handy as business docs as well as photos are easily backed up to Google Drive. Nexus 6 is a good choice if your company runs on Google Apps.
But the real development that may make the Nexus 6 more of a bring your own device (BYOD) play is that Microsoft is stepping up its Android game. Beginning in 2015, Microsoft Office will break apart and provide individual apps on Android. Microsoft will also offer more features without a subscription. That move may ultimately make the Nexus 6 more of a work tool. It does remain to be seen how Google Docs and Microsoft Office play together on one device. Microsoft cut a deal with Dropbox, but perhaps Google Drive integration wouldn't be a bad idea.
Now hell may freeze over first, but the Google Drive-Microsoft Office link is a nice thought.
Meanwhile, more enterprise software vendors are paying more attention to Android and building native apps. Typically, Android gets enterprise apps late, but companies like Workday, NetSuite and Cisco are stepping up the focus on Google's mobile platform. In addition, the Nexus 6 isn't hampered by Android apps that aren't made for it. The Nexus 9 is restrained by a lack of apps designed specifically for the tablet.
Bottom line: With carrier coverage, the Nexus 6 has a good shot to make it to your enterprise amid the phablet craze.