Brought on by the ridiculous miss-handling of the Galaxy Nexus by Verizon Wireless the guys over at Android Community have suggested that Google make a Nexus Certification Program where any OEM can submit devices for the Nexus label. Months of delay caused by Verizon’s desire to partner with ISIS for a NFC payment system that won’t be ready until early 2012, combined with Verizon’s and other carriers’ need to lock bootloaders for major releases like the Droid Razr and carriers’ ability to have apps removed from the Android market seemingly at will are reason enough for me to agree with the proposal made by Android Community.

The problem is that as Android has come of age and become more widely accepted carriers and OEMs have meddled and messed with what Android was meant to be. Fortunately Google started the Nexus label as the “Pure Android Experience.” But if this latest Nexus device is an indicator of what’s to come Google really needs to go back to where it started and wield some of the power we saw them use in 2008 and 2009 when the Nexus One came out. But there are a couple of things that need to be addressed along with that assertion.

There also need to be more form factors associated with the Nexus label. Personally I love the giant screen super slim design. I have a Galaxy S II and am very happy with its size and design. However there are others like my Dad who prefer a real keyboard since he has thicker fingers. I know several of my friends are put off by the current trend of bigger and bigger screens, they just want a sleek easy to carry design. Another form factor I’d love to see is a Nexus phone that is ruggedized from the get go. No need to purchase an extra case, it’s military grade out of the box.

All of these things can be possible if Google would make a Nexus Certification Program which would speed up the process by which new Nexus devises are released. Basically OEMs would submit devices, get approval and then agree to NOT put any bloatware etc on the devices thus producing the pure Android experience. Android Community goes so far as to “cut out the middle man” (carriers) entirely and have a Google Nexus store online where we could purchase the Nexus devices which would free up consumers to choose carriers based on service and not just what device is offered. For instance, I’d love to get my hands on a Galaxy Nexus but I’m happy with my T-Mobile service and don’t want to switch. If I could purchase a T-Mobile Galaxy Nexus version from Google I then have total freedom to choose what carrier works for me and still have one of the best phones on the market. Get the picture?

Another feature of the Nexus branding would be OTA updates from Google directly. Since the Nexus branded devices would have to fit certain criteria Google could have the freedom to update them directly. This would eliminate the months of waiting for OEMs and carriers to update software after Google puts out a new release. It would also hopefully help with the Android’s fragmentation problem. If you had a Nexus device you could rest assured that you won’t be left behind on the next big release or even just going from 2.2 to 2.3!

Point is there needs to be a Pure Android Experience standard and I hope the Nexus brand will be it. Maybe we the end-users can influence the decision. But I fear if this doesn’t happen Android will lose its way and be a failed experiment in Open-Source caused by greedy carriers who don’t really care about the end-user’s experience.

3 Responses

  1. Radzuky

    Totally agree on your article. However, every phone maker (Samsung, Motorola, HTC, etc.) have to do this, and just stick to one model and not overload the phone companies with several phone designs because the service provider company doesn’t like the current design. A very good example is the Galaxy line. Verizon didn’t want it OK, T-Mobile wanted a design, AT&T wanted another Design along with a name change, Sprint wanted another design. Meanwhile the Europeans and rest of the world has one design and that’s it. As much as I hate to say it. Companies should start doing what Apple does, one design and one design only. If you like good, if you don’t too bad. I don’t see Apple changing the design of the way it works every 2 months. This is also comparable to gaming consoles. Imagine a different Xbox in every single Market of the world. Japan would get a design with a different name from whatever we see in America. hahahaha that would be so disappointing

    Reply
  2. Ironzey

    Meh, I don’t think I agree. Nexus phone, Nexus tablet, Nexus laptop if this does happen I can see the Nexus just turning into another brand. A brand that will be eclipsed by pretty much everything that comes out after it. The intent behind Nexus name may get diluted by too many products in the same catagory. The author mention even different specifications within a class “ruggedized Nexus phone” if you start diluting the Nexus line like that it’ll stink. What happens when you buy the new Nexus joint and 2 weeks later another one is announced with a bigger screen or better camera?

    I get it, a lot of people feel burned by Verizon handling of the Galaxy Nexus. I agree, they messed up big time but most people don’t care. If it REALLY was that big a deal people wouldn’t have bought the phone but they did. I hope going forward Google won’t do these exclusive deals with carriers but depending on how well the phone sold it could be a preview of things to come.

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  3. Aaron

    No.

    No no no no no.

    No.

    The intentions are admirable and the problem is real, but the proposed solution is wrong.

    The Nexus line is intended to be a *reference* device for other future devices. THAT is why everything is – by definition – “pure” and unmodified. The Nexus hardware is developed in tandem with the software for optimal integration. That means Google and the hardware manufacturer have lots of back-and-forth. Could you realistically expect Google to maintain the same level of quality and focus if they did this a dozen or more times a year, even with their resource potential? The more tasks you add to anything or anyone, even Google, the more likely something is to slip through the cracks.

    Furthermore, since the Nexus line is the reference design for the next generation of Android-based devices, it serves a dual purpose as the premier developer’s phone. It is the key device against which all major Android development is first tested against due to its purity. If there were a dozen or more Nexus releases per year by varying manufacturers in various form factors, this would dramatically increase the burden on developers in all realms, be it kernel development, ROM packaging, AOSP modification, or high-level application development.

    I understand and agree with the argument that we could use more “vanilla” and “open” devices, but expanding the definition of the Nexus line is not the way to go.

    The PROPER solution – for whatever my opinion is worth – is to have a new line of devices which is a proper branch of the Nexus line; not true Nexus devices for the intents of reference design and development, but “Nexus-like” devices that otherwise adhere to the definition of Nexus devices as you’ve described. T-Mobile already does this to some extent with their “G” line of phones – the G1, G2, and the G2x are all “vanilla” Android with minimal carrier bloat and have historically been easy to root since they don’t have encrypted or locked down bootloaders.

    In summary, the Nexus line only has merit because of its narrow and pinpoint-precision focus. If we overcrowd the line, it will mean just as much as “Galaxy” or “Droid”.

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