19 October, 2014

"Is The Nexus 7 a Phone or a Tablet? I'm confused," says the customer...

October 19, 2014. I must admit, this post is a few days late... but this past Wednesday, Google unveiled not just the two rumored Nexus devices (the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9), but three — if you count the Nexus Player, that is. Since I've got a Chromecast and a cable box, along with only two HDMI ports, well, they're all in use... but the fact that the Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready AND supports Android TV apps as well should be a good selling point. Anyhow, in 2012, we had the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. In 2013, the Nexus 5 replaced the Nexus 4... ah, but the Nexus 7 was simply replaced with another Nexus 7, and the Nexus 5 came on board, replacing the Nexus 4. Now, in 2014, the Nexus line-up got a total makeover, with the Nexus 6 replacing the Nexus 5 and the Nexus 9 replacing both the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10, respectively.

For 2015, however, this poses a bit of a dilemma. If Google decides to simply replace the Nexus 6 with another Nexus 6 the way they did with the Nexus 7, then there won't be any problems... but if they decide to actually increment the number once again, they would end up reusing the Nexus 7 name... for a phone!

This presents a myriad of problems. For starters, just like the title states, it would confuse customers a whole lot... and confused customers hurt business. Beyond that, however, there's also the size factor: sure, a tablet with a 7-inch screen is fine, but a phone with a 7-inch screen?!?! Talk about something that just can't be handled. You couldn't put a phone that big in your front pockets at all (only your back ones), and what's more, you can't pick up a phone that big to make phone calls without using two hands either, which means, nope, if you're in a dire emergency and need to make a phone call quickly with one hand, good luck.

Even something like a Nexus 6.5 would be problematic. Why? Because the names in the line are often rounded down or up to the nearest whole number... which in that case is also 7. That leaves Google with only two options: Either go Apple-style and treat the generations of Nexus 6 like the generations of iPod Touch, releasing three, four, even 5 generations of phones with the same name (which is a good one IMHO) or simply replace the Nexus line altogether with a turnkey solution for OEMs and carriers in the US the way they already did with Android One in India — or, in other words, Project Silver redux, which would seriously increase the adoption rates of new Android releases on a prompt basis, which is the holy grail of fragmentation reduction.

Let's hope this worst case scenario doesn't happen, shall we? Of the two above options, however, I personally would love to see Project Silver manifest itself much more so than I would multiple generations of Nexus 6. Why? Because of the crushing impact it would have on Android fragmentation: by forcing all the phones on the market to stay on the latest version of Android and get updated on a prompt basis, version fragmentation would be, for the most part, a thing of the past. Then again, I need more opinions here. Would you rather want multiple versions of Nexus 6, or would you be fine with every Android phone on the market being updated on a prompt Nexus-like basis?