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Hardcore fans mourn the death of Nexus by denouncing the Pixel

Ryan Whitwam | Oct. 14, 2016
Not all Android fans are excited about Google's new phone, but they'll probably come around.

It seems Google would like people to think the Pixel is the first phone it has ever produced with its “Made by Google” ad campaign. The most devoted fans of the Android platform have never seen it that way. To them, the Nexus phones were about “pure Android,” but now they’re suddenly finding their phones have been demoted.

Google has said there will be no new Nexus phones, and what's more, the Pixel and Pixel XL will get exclusive features that aren’t coming to the current Nexus line, and Nexus owners are understandably upset. How upset? Well, we cannot reprint some of what’s been said, if that gives you an idea.

Sticker shock

The response to Google’s Pixel announcement among Nexus fans came in two waves—first came the price shock, then the feature shock. When the phones were announced, everyone was dismayed by the pricing. It was leaked in advance, but actually hearing that the smaller Pixel would start at $650 was jarring when the Nexus 5X was introduced at a starting price of $379, and had recently dropped to about $300.

People have pointed out time and time again that the Pixel phones lack some important features like water resistance and removable storage seen in other phones like the Galaxy S7, but the pricing is very similar. Google probably has a rationale for pricing these phones like it has (namely, identical to the iPhone 7 and 7s), but Nexus fans don’t see anything particularly compelling. Many comments around the internet simply call Google “crazy” for pricing the phones so high. Some especially irked Nexus fans actually seem insulted by the idea they should go back to spending $700-800 on a phone. Those who try to make a case for the pricing of the Pixel are frequently shouted down, and on Reddit, downvoted into oblivion.

nexus dying pixel price
You could spend over US$1000 on the Pixel XL.

People are looking toward phones like the OnePlus 3, Axon 7, and Moto Z Play as potential alternatives that aren’t so expensive. It’s hard to say if devoted fans of stock Android will go out and pick up a OnePlus 3, but the “stock Android” situation isn’t even as clear as it once was. That’s the other reason Nexus owners are feeling slighted.

Making Nexus a second-class phone

The selling point of Nexus phones was always that buyers would get “pure” Android right from Google, with over-the-air updates as soon as they were ready. There weren’t very many features layered on top of the straight AOSP (Android Open Source Project) version of Android for Nexus devices, but buyers were fine with that because they’d always have the newest, most Google-y OS. Now, Google has essentially created their own Android skin for the Pixel, and it’s not coming to Nexus phones. What’s more, Nexus owners are waiting on the 7.1 update like Samsung commoners. The nerve!


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