What would be better than a new Nexus phone each year? How about several Nexus devices, built by multiple manufacturers? According to the WSJ (and their confidential sources) that will become a reality in the near future. According to the Journal, Google will be working with as many as five device manufacturers to build Android lead devices, which they can then sell directly to consumers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia from their online device store. This is Google's way of exerting a modicum of control over Android, without stepping on the open-source toes at its roots.
Right now you can walk into your carrier store and buy a great phone that runs an Android-based operating system like Sense 4, or the new TouchWiz, complete with full carrier support and customer service. With this news it sounds like those of us that aren't concerned with carrier subsidies or support may be able to shop at our own Android store. It's an answer that many of us have been looking for.
The devices are expected to run Jellybean, be completely SIM unlocked, and available near Thanksgiving. Start saving your pennies.
I think this is a long time coming. It sounds like what Google was trying to do in 2010 with the Nexus One, but back then they didn't have the foothold (or is it stranglehold?) on customer mind-share that they do now. Two years later, and I'll wager a good many of us would jump on this opportunity, including some that didn't when the Nexus One was released.
If Google wants to pull this off, they will need to offer quality hardware at a reasonable price (I'm thinking under $500 per unit), and convince customers in the U.S. to switch away from Verizon and Sprint to GSM carriers. If they can manage this, they will have finally changed the mobile world, like they wanted to do all along. They certainly have my support.