Nexus: What’s in a Name?

Nexus "X"

If Android Central is correct, the forthcoming duo of HTC-made phones coming this fall will not bear the Nexus logo. Google almost managed to pull this off in 2014 with Android Silver—you’ll recall that the gargantuan Nexus 6 was originally intended to be Motorola’s contribution to the Android Silver program. But this time its for reals, with some further evidence in that Android Police render showing only Google branding on the back of the device.

Speaking of Android Police, I heard a bit of juicy gossip on one of their recent podcasts: Apparently Google was in talks with Huawei for a multi-year contract to produce devices for them, but Huawei walked away when they heard that said devices could only have Google branding.

But I digress…

So what does it mean if Nexus goes away? That word has never enjoyed the brand equity of say, Samsung. Here in Canada, carriers have only ever sold Nexus phones with the minimum storage option; presumably these new phones will still be available SIM-unlocked direct from Google, so nothing will change there. Likewise, if you’re looking for straight-from-the-source software updates without any carrier bloat, I highly doubt that these new devices will disappoint on that front, either.

If it’s the cheap and cheerful part of the Nexus equation that you miss—that is, a phone that punches well above its weight for the price, there will again will be a smaller, hopefully cheaper version of whatever Google and HTC end up bringing to market. So what are we left with?

Well, for me, Nexus has always meant an unlockable bootloader, with a universe of custom ROMs and Xposed modules just a fastboot-oem-unlock away. And here’s where there’s at least one sign of trouble:

Nexus 6P Fail

This verified boot warning appears on all bootloader-unlocked devices running Android 6 Marshmallow. While I’m sure it’s meant to protect users who don’t know any better, it’s a bit of an insult to those who do. As far as I know, the only way you can unwittingly end up with an unlocked bootloader is if you buy a second-hand phone; it’s not the kind of procedure that can be exploited remotely.

What this seemingly innocuous screen says to me is that Google no longer values the Android power user (for lack of a better term), and if that’s really the case then the word “Nexus” no longer holds any value for me.

What does Nexus mean to you, if anything?

Source: Android Central

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