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Why Motorola should have built the Nexus 5 instead of LG

Armando Rodriguez | Nov. 1, 2013
We're never going to see a truly revolutionary Nexus phone again until Google decides to take a stand against the other Android smartphone manufacturers. It's time for Google to drive Android forward with a more holistic hardware-and-software approach, and make Nexus mean something again.

Time to use Motorola
Motorola and Google collaborated on the Moto X, one of the most innovative phones available. Note that it's not a "Nexus," even though the OS bloatware and customizations are minimal—it's rocking nearly stock Android. The kicker? You can get it on pretty much any carrier and there's a developer version available for people who want it. The Moto X deserves the title of Nexus more than the Nexus 5, as it introduced a lot of the Nexus 5's ostensible innovations first. (Take, for instance, touchless controls.)

In releasing Nexus devices via its Motorola arm, Google could more directly shape the Android experience. It could dictate all aspects of the phone, creating cutting-edge new hardware features to go hand in hand with new Android software features. KitKat introduces a lot of under-the-hood improvements that allow it to run better on low-end hardware, but manufacturers will continue to cram as many processing cores as they possibly can into their phones in an effort to win an imaginary specs war, making the optimizations almost meaningless. So Google could build a phone showing that you don't need a quad-core processor and 2GB or RAM to run simple apps without lag. And your battery wouldn't be eaten up due to poorly written radio drivers.

It would essentially be the Apple approach to making smartphones, an approach that's proven to work and often leads to a better device. And if Google decided to compete directly with Samsung and others via Motorola, it would push the other Android manufacturers to make better phones and set the bar for Android devices—just like the Nexus One was originally intended to do. Microsoft is trying a similar tactic by purchasing the devices division of Nokia, while Google lets its $12 billion Motorola purchase go to waste.

We're never going to see a truly revolutionary Nexus phone again until Google decides to take a stand against the other Android smartphone manufacturers. The more the company attempts to placate Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony, the more meaningless the term "Nexus" becomes. It's time for Google to drive Android forward with a more holistic hardware-and-software approach, and make Nexus mean something again.

 

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