Google's Nexus lineup may not sell well, but still challenges Android makers
Nexus is Google's 'hedge against indifference'
Computerworld - It's been nearly four years since Google sold its first Nexus device running Android, the Nexus One smartphone, in January 2010.
In smartphone terms, four years can seem like a decade, especially when most smartphones turn over in two years.
So it's certainly fair to ask: Has Google's Nexus smartphone and tablet series -- featuring no software modifications beyond basic Android and coming unlocked from carriers -- had much of an impact, if not in sales, then in the overall market?
During the last four years, the total Android market, including devices made by several major manufacturers, has grown to dominate global smartphone sales, reaching about 80% of the market, while Android on tablets outdistanced Apple's iPads in 2013, according to IDC.
By comparison, most analysts don't have specific numbers for Nexus device shipments or sales, although they are considered too small to have had a significant impact.
"Google-branded smartphones have not made a material impact in market share. They are in the 'other' category of global smartphones," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. The top five makers in recent quarters are Samsung, Apple (on iOS only), Huawei, Lenovo and LG Electronics.
Yankee Group surveyed 16,000 U.S. smartphone customers throughout much of 2013 and found the percentage of those who bought a Google Nexus smartphone in the previous six months was below 5%, while the percentage owning one was less than 1%, but improved in August to 1.04%. The margin of error in its polling is about 1%.
"Google Nexus devices aren't having much of an impact on the market," said Carl Howe, a Yankee Group analyst.
The same can be said of Nexus tablets in terms of market share of all Android tablets. But that misses the point: Robust sales are not Google's ultimate goal in making Nexus gear.
Google's original intent when it devised the Nexus line was to show what an all-Google user experience would be like and to inspire Android makers and developers to make better phones, tablets and Android apps.
"The Nexus line is a hedge against indifference," Moorhead said. "It sends a message to manufacturers that if they can't develop competitive Android products, Google will on their own."
The Nexus One
The original Nexus One, manufactured by HTC, ran Android 2.1, also known as Eclair. Since 2010, Google has ushered in an array of relatively inexpensive yet full-featured smartphones, including the latest, the Nexus 5, built by LG and running Android 4.4 KitKat, that was introduced on Oct. 31.
There are now Nexus tablets in various sizes as well, starting with the first generation Nexus 7, a 7-in. tablet featuring Android 4.1, that went on sale in July 2012.
Nexus tablets and smartphones offer tech-savvy buyers an Android experience devoid of third-party software modifications added by wireless carriers and manufacturers.
- BlackBerry pushes BBM Protected for end-to-end encrypted messaging
- Can Microsoft's Windows Phone OS surge in market share?
- HTC One M8 called a good looker and genuine rival to the Galaxy S5
- Smartphone innovation is slowing, so what's next?
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Google and Samsung grow cozier with patent deal, Motorola sale
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Android White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!