A few days ago Michael wrote an article about how how Samsung is ruining the Galaxy brand. There’s no question that Samsung has some very high-end, well-built phones that carry the “Galaxy” moniker. There are also some “Galaxy” devices that don’t serve to build up the Galaxy brand, instead they’re trying to ride the wave of popularity that the “good” Galaxy devices have built up over time. The Galaxy Camera, really Samsung?
This got me thinking about the other forefront Android brand, Google’s own Nexus.
What is a “Nexus”?
Just what is a “Nexus”? According to Dictionary.com, “Nexus” is a means of connection, a tie, a link; a connected series or group; the core or center, as of a matter or situation; or a specialized area of the cell membrane involved in intercellular communication and adhesion.
When it comes to Android, “Nexus” represents the several devices that Google commissioned to push the operating system and the platform itself forward. It serves to represent the standard by which other Android-powered devices are measured. They’re not the latest and greatest; they don’t have the fastest processors or the greatest amount of RAM; they are simply the baseline. From there other manufacturers try to “one up” the latest “Nexus” with whatever their offering is. Hopefully they don’t stray too far from the direction that Google is taking the platform, otherwise they’ll look somewhat silly when the next Nexus comes out.
There are rumblings and rumors floating around that the next “Nexus phone” from Google won’t be a single phone. Instead, there may be several Nexii (Nexus? Nexusses? Nesissies?) from multiple manufacturers. Nexus phones are almost always amazing, so having a whole bunch of them would be a good thing. Right?
In the beginning there was the Nexus One. And it was good.
The Nexus One was the first “Google Phone” that they said would never be made. Remember when we were told, in no uncertain terms, that Google was not interested in making their own phone? They been true to their word — but just barely.
The Galaxy Nexus was also commissioned and sold by Google, but built by Samsung.
The Nexus Q isn’t a phone or tablet, but it was commissioned, built, and “sold” by Google.
Is dilution the solution?
I once had an Environmental Science professor that summed up the general consensus when it comes to pollution: Dilution is the “solution” to pollution. Of course she was being sarcastic. Diluting pollution doesn’t get rid of it, it just spreads it around until it isn’t as damaging to the environment or the people that live in it. Instead, maladies take a long time to show up, and by that time it’s almost impossible to convince a jury that it was the pollution that was the cause of the problem in the first place.
Bringing dilution back to smartphones, when a brand is diluted it has the same impact on the mobile ecosystem as it does in nature. It begins to “go away”. It’s not as easily seen because it’s spread out in a thin layer, rather than concentrated in one place.
Just as with pollution, dilution won’t solve any problems, instead it will just spread it around and make it less noticeable for a while. With a smartphone, that’s sort of the opposite of what a manufacturer would want. We just need to look at Apple to see how having a single offering helps focus consumer attention on their brand.
Can any good come of it?
Could anything good possibly come from “diluting” the Nexus name with a family of phones coming out all at once? Absolutely!
Imagine if every major manufacturer had a current Nexus phone all at once: a Nexus Droid, a Nexus X, a Nexus Galaxy, a Lumia Nexus (okay, maybe not that last one). The “Nexus” name would be the “Android” unifier that’s missing in the market today. Every manufacturer would have a Google-experience device (without their own custom skin) all at the same time, and the AOSP would get a huge influx of code for drivers.
For me, these are very good things, but will it do more harm than good?
Now it’s your turn, why would Google do such a thing? What manufacturers do you think would be on board with such a plan? What benefits could we see from a unified Nexii release? Is dilution a big deal, or could it possibly be “the solution”?