Can the Nexus 6 save Google’s Android ambitions?


With the arrival of the Nexus 6, Google has some control over the Android platform and almost none of its revenue. Like a runaway train which can no longer be fully controlled by its conductor, Android keeps getting bigger and more profitable even as Google does most of the developmental dirty work and its partners cash nearly all of the checks. The Nexus has long been one of the best smartphones on the Android market, yet most casual buyers haven’t even known it existed. The Nexus 6 has an opportunity to change all that. Here are three reasons why.

Android 5.0: Google’s ace in the hole over third party Android hardware vendors is that it controls the system software. And while it’s never attempted to use that position to shut vendors out, it has had to sit back while most of those vendors have done too little to make their phones forward compatible with future Android software releases. Android 5.0 is debuting with the Nexus 6, and as users focus ever more on the fact that most Android devices aren’t particularly compatible with software updates, the new Nexus is set to become the beneficiary of that shift in public perception.

Samsung: Simply put, Samsung’s reign atop the Android marketshare stacks is coming to an end. That levels out the playing field for the others, and while various Asian hardware vendors have stepped in to scoop up marketshare with cheap Android phones, Google and its Nexus 6 now have an opportunity to make a major move in the high end of the lineup.

Andy Rubin: On the surface it can be difficult to make a case for why the creator of the Android platform leaving Google could somehow be a good thing for Android or Google. But Rubin was a rebel who initially created the platform for the philosophical reasons of “openness” and an aversion to the kind of cohesiveness which can only be achieved by streamlining various aspects of the platform. Rubin’s departure means he was likely hands-off for much of the Nexus 6 development cycle, and its shows, as this is the most tightly integrated hardware-software Android product to date.