The end of Nexus: This year's Google phones to forge new path

Android statue
Android statue (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

This year's Google-branded Android phones will not use the "Nexus" name, Android Central understands, indicating a hard break from the past six years of flagship devices for the company. The widely expected HTC-built handsets — referred to as "Nexus" phones in recent online leaks — will instead come to market under a different brand name, according to several people familiar with Google's plans.

The move would seem to draw a line under the long-running Nexus series, which began with the HTC-made Nexus One back in December 2009 and continued to the Nexus 6P and 5X in 2015. Throughout the life of the Nexus program, Google has partnered with the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and Huawei to sell both phones and tablets showcasing its latest software. By contrast, these new phones are expected to put the "Google" brand front and center, eschewing the HTC name altogether. We have no specific info on which name will be used instead of Nexus, however.

Nexus 6P and 5X

AC understands that this year's Google phones will feature additional software and a tweaked interface atop "vanilla" Android. This will notably differentiate the new models in terms of software experience from previous years' Nexus phones, which featured a relatively barebones Android experience — and this goes hand-in-hand with the decision to not use the "Nexus" name for the phones. And as we look back at the progression of Nexus phones, this was inevitable — Google has kept adding closed-source apps, services and features to the Nexus line, moving away from the initial idea of what "Nexus" really meant starting as early as the Nexus S 4G.

These revelations are broadly in line with what's been shown in recent leaks from Evan Blass and Android Police, which have published images of a new button layout, color scheme and Settings app that are far removed from what we see on Nougat on the Nexus 6P and 5X today.

The biggest shift in Google Android phones in the past half-decade

While we don't know for certain that "Nexus" is completely dead, the fact that these phones are expected to release in the fall window traditionally occupied by Nexus devices strongly suggests that Google's strategy for its own Android handsets has undergone a significant shift — not just in name but in software and experience. And it would also fit with remarks from Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the Code Conference back in June, indicating that the company would become become "more opinionated about the design of the phones."

As for Google's plans beyond smartphones, we haven't heard anything about any Google-branded Android tablet plans, though one source was able to corroborate AP's report that Google will release two own-branded Android Wear smartwatches later this year.

As we approach fall and the first Android Nougat maintenance release, it's likely we'll witness the biggest change in Google Android phones in the past half-decade. How it plays out could change our perception of Google's entire hardware strategy.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

475 Comments
  • I am not sure I am getting this. "The biggest shift in Google Android phones in the past half-decade". A name change is the biggest shift? They are going to brand future phones as "Google" instead of "Nexus", right? If this is all, I am not sure what the big deal is. What am I missing here?
  •  "this year's Google phones will feature additional software and a tweaked interface atop "vanilla" Android." Unlike Nexus' rite?
  • Thanks. I missed that line. That makes sense then.
  • There is a guy on Reddit doing an AMA right now about kids in America and their reading below grade levels.
  • Cool story.
  • Hahaha.Very good.
  • Don't be an asshat.
  • ahahahaha
  • I hope there's gonna be a YouTube summary about it I can watch.
  • Will it have pictures?
  • Its not just reading. There is a great clip from the HBO show 'newsroom' that sums up america's deficiencies in education.
  • Let me educate everyone... Android = AOSP NEXUS = Google running "Android". GOOGLE PHONE = Google running "Android" with "Google specific" apps and modified skin. SAMSUNG PHONES = Samsung running "Android" with "Samsung specific" apps (Samsung Pay) and modified skins (TouchWiz). HTC PHONES = HTC running "Android" with "HTC specific" apps" and modified skins (SENSE). Are you starting to get the picture?
    Android (AOSP) will continue on. Google just decided to play like the OEMs and make a Google version of "Android", while still maintaining "Android AOSP".
  • I'll one up you SAMSUNG runs SAMSUNGS version of android HTC runs HTCS version of Android NEXUS runs GOOGLES vision of android AOSP is GOOGLES open source android( no proprietary stuff) You just said Samsung has Samsung specific apps and skins it goes much further than that.
  • We pretty much said the same thing, I just tried to make it easy to understand for the NORMALS.
  • Fair enough
  • DWR_31 I disagree with you. The way you put it makes it sound as though with a Samsung phone you get Android exactly the same as with a Nexus phone with just some Samsung apps installed. Samsung and all the other OEMs take the standard Android and modify it. This is why when new versions of Android come out it takes a while for all the other manufacturers to upgrade, well one of the reasons at least.
  • You pretty much disagree with my first comment because you didn't READ my 2nd comment. You are one of the NORMALS that I was making it easier for.!. You have a simple thought, but try to make it complex, without understanding how to explain what you mean. I know that you don't understand what I mean, so please, just go about your NORMAL type of business and leave the thinking to people that are Smarter than you.
  • What are you talking about?
  • Nexus phones have always had "additional software" (Google+, Google Drive, HP Print Service Plugin, etc.) like every other OEM and the Google Now launcher has been a thing for a while... Are we talking about 3rd-party software like Facebook? If so I am out...
  • All the apps you listed are google apps that OEMs include on their phones, they are not limited to nexuses, the proprietary software mentioned in the article is the leaked nexus launcher, the redesigned two-pane settings menu, the google assistant (probably, maybe not) and all the other features of the 2016 nexuses that have been leaked so far. We aren't talking about third party software like facebook.
  • Yep, Samsung phones include Samsung apps which is why I said Google does the same thing every OEM does. What makes a Nexus phone different is it doesn't include 3rd-party and carrier apps (generally). What is the "additional software"? The stuff you listed is no different than what I listed. It's just "additional software" and new things Google has always added to Nexus phones over the years. You used the word "proprietary". The Google phone is not "proprietary"? I can't get it (officially) on my HTC 10. I still don't know what the difference is software wise on the "Google" phone compared to a Nexus phone.
  • Vanilla Android don't include any proprietary software or feature, that's why you need to download apps from the play store to so and so for you, they can now license a proprietary software and include it on nexus phones which is not on vanilla Android, i welcome this approach
  • AOSP AND VANILLA OR "STOCK" ARE DIFFERENT THINGS
  • +100 :)
  • Finally the only person to sum it up. AOSP IS ANDROID OPEN SOURCE PROJECT. HENCE THE NAME OPEN SOURCE. Meaning that AOSP is a complete barebones set of software that will run AOSP on a device without ANY outside packages installed( this means not even GOOGLE apps, no play store, no chrome, etc.) AOSP is open source meaning you can add what you want to the code as long as it is still able to run. AOSP is what most custom ROMs are based off of such as CYANOGENMOD, AOKP, etc. So put two and two together a Nexus obviously is NOT running AOSP. The same way that Samsung developed its own version of Android for its phone's, Google has also developed its own version for Nexus devices. The Nexus runs a version of Google with very little modifications hence the name Vanilla Android. A small thing that most people don't realize is that AOSP does not include and proprietary software so say you install it on a galaxy device , this means that certain features that came with the phone will no longer work weird AOSP installed as your phone's rom such the nice camera software that comes on galaxy devices. Just thought I'd try to sum this up in an organized little paragraph. But I like you explanation. If was the only one that made sense so I hope that people read this after they read yours.
  • What? LOL
  • You're about to find out I guess. But the Nexus difference isn't 3rd party and carrier apps, otherwise there's a lot of unlocked phones that would qualify. What made a Nexus a Nexus was that it was alsowas essentially AOSP+Google Services and nothing else. Sounds like Google is talking about joining Samsung and Huawei and the like and simply making their own setup more skin-like. If you can't beat em, join em, right?
  • Hopefully this will help you understand the shift. Traditionally, on a nexus device, there was never anything on a nexus that you COULDN'T get on another phone. An OEM could tweak or scrap the lockscreen, notifications, dialer, settings, etc. The OEM could also leave it stock... The apps that are closed source but install-able like gmail, launcher, etc are also installable on the majority of non-nexus phones. Motorola is a good example; can you get the motorola lock screen on a non-motorola device? Ever?? No you cannot.
    Can you get completely nexus looking notifications on a non-nexus device? Yes, Motorola for example uses stock android notifications, no extra tweaks or styles. What they are saying in this article is that they are dropping Nexus name, and dropping the idea that the google phone would be vanilla. Now there is going to be closed source not-installable software that you can only get on a google phone. Potentially you can't even get this software on a non-2016 google phone running the same base version of android.
  • Actually, the process already started. Try installing Google Dialer on a non-Nexus phone, for instance. That's probably a harbinger of what's to come. "Stock" may now start to mean "Google phone only."
  • That actually sounds wonderful to me, and I only use Nexus phones. As a Nexus user this won't mean anything to me, I'll still get the Google software and services, I'll still get quick updates. I won't deal with clunky and terrible overlays that in no way improve my experience of using the phone. This move will significantly worsen the experience for non-nexus android users though... now not only will they have clunky and terrible interfaces, no updates, but they'll even lose support for core google services and apps that Nexus users will get. Google has had a problem since the start of this madness in terms of fragmentation and delays, this seems like a good weapon to force the masses to switch to phones that actually get updates. I like it very much.
  • Last time I checked, 99.9% of all non-Nexus Android phones still had the core Google services (i.e., Google Play Services, Google Play Store, Google Connectivity Services, etc). I don't know where you're getting your information from, but you are not correct. OEM's base their versions of Android off of AOSP, and once they complete and pass the Google CTS suite they receive Google Play Services and the Play Store. AOSP will still be business as usual. Just because Google isn't calling their new phones a "Nexus" doesn't mean OEMs will have any worse interfaces, less timely updates, or lose any Google services. Most Android users do not give a damn about updates. In fact, a lot of people fear updating their phones because it tends to introduce new bugs and issues, which they have no desire to troubleshoot on their own. Most users are not phone geeks, so I think you are overstating the allure of quick updates. Why listen to me, you ask? Because I have been working for a major carrier as a repair technician for the last 5 years and have been fixing at least 15 to 20 devices per day, which includes software troubleshooting as well as hardware repairs, and believe me, most people DO NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT UPDATES. I have fixed at least 13,000 phones in the last 5 years (I fix at least 50 phones per week x 52 weeks per year = 2600 phones per year x 5 years = 13,000 and that's a low ball estimate) so believe me or don't believe me, most people don't care about what version of Android they are running, they just want their phone to work above all else.
  • You may not be able to say it but I will, I worked for VZW for 3 years in one of their contact centers. I can share the same kind of feedback, the greater majority do not care for updates. Those that get the update keep living their lives, and a small percentage who are unfortunate enough to get bugs or issues they can't resolve on their own are troubled to have to reach out to get something fixed when they could be doing something else.
  • Hi do you know what touch wiz is? Just wondering do you own or have you owned a nexus device before?
  • Google phone WILL have proprietary software. Thus it will not be a Nexus
  • Every Nexus phone has had proprietary software. Google Play Services is 100% proprietary, non-open source software.
  • New settings, new launcher, some plugins for assistant, that's all i'm aware of.
  • The only thing exclusive to the old nexus phones was the google now launcher. The google apps are on every android phone with the playstore. stop making crap up. Google doesnt sell our device to app makers like samsung and carriers do.
  • The Google Now Launcher wasn't exclusively for Nexus's though?
  • The Google Now launcher was exclusive to Nexus at first but it is now in the Play store.
  • ' doesn't make it plural ;)
  • The additional software we are referring to is stuff like the new 'Nexus' launcher leaked recently (will obviously bear another name), the Google Assistant, the new colored nav bar..
  • I'm pretty sure Google assistant will be available to third party OEM's
  • Might as well be an exclusive for some time, though. Remember the Google Now launcher was Nexus only for a good while before they finally expanded compatibility..
  • Oh yes, like you're not going to buy a phone because Facebook is preloaded. This is the stupidest argument / fake issue that AC continues to propagate.
    GTFO.
  • The reason I buy Nexus devices is because there is no carrier or 3rd-party crap that can't be uninstalled but only disabled... Why is that hard to believe? I said that not AC.
  • I would suggest the main reason people buy a Nexus device is that they know they will get a least 2 updates of Android without having to buy a new phone and those updates will be almost when the new version comes out. Waiting up to a year to get an upgrade of a non Nexus phone is just disgraceful, and then only if it is a flagship. Sure not having all that bloat is nice, but i wouldn't say it is the main reason. Having your phone almost be like a new phone with the latest features is the main point of getting a Nexus. With the new Google phones, whatever they decide to call them, I'm sure they will have this available as they'll be able to either upgrade the new Google specific software as part of the Android update.
  • Nexus phones have had a different OS than AOSP and added features exclusive to the Nexus line for a while now. I fail to see the difference here outside of a rebrand. Much ado about nothing it seems.
  • "These revelations are broadly in line with what's been shown in recent leaks from Evan Blass and Android Police, which have published images of a new button layout, color scheme and Settings app that are far removed from what we see on Nougat on the Nexus 6P and 5X today."
  • I see now. Ok thanks. That is different then.
  • "Different," yes. "Far removed" seems to be pushing a little too hard, though, in terms of the mere looks of things. The dual-boot setup and seamless updates, on the other hand; those are more like it for "far removed."
  • Same story! Reading thie article and I can't get the point what's the biggest shift in Google phones still!?
  • I guess you missed the part where there will be tweaked software on top of vanilla.
  • Google is a much more valuable name than Nexus. It's a fact. It's a very smart and overdue move. My 6p approves.
  • Not reading the whole article. It won't be stock, vanilla(untouched, like getting windows, without 3rd party software). There will be a overlay, of some sort, made in Google's vision of android's future.
  • im sure ya didnt really read this eh?.......
  • I wonder if they will have a new GPE program that will offer more AOSP-like Android? I am not so sure this will be any better than any other manufacturer's "skinned" Android experience. I mean, they make their money on advertising... It's interesting that if a manufacturer decided to offer a mostly AOSP like device they would be unique. You'd think phones like that would be everywhere. I suppose there is much more limited money in doing that. The ability to easily root and modify my phone is 100% the reason I am using Android. Hopefully the new Google phones are as hacker friendly or I will have to pass as that is really the only reason I stick with Nexus phones.
  • They have to be for developers to use them. As for the GPE idea, that's highly unlikely given that almost nobody bought them the first time. Unless Google was willing to subsidize the difference in manufacturing cost to the OEM, which again is unlikely.
  • Or at least offer financing
  • And your in a very very small minority of users as less and less ppl are actually rooting their devices anymore or buying Nexus devices.
    Google is trying to appeal to a wider audience with these new offerings which I'm guessing tie into their project FI cellular service. Google is looking to control everything like Apple but with its own carrier from what we are seeing through Google's projects of late and I'll be happier than a pig in **** when they achieve that and we can get rid of these greedy carriers especially here in Canada.
  • Small minority, lol your funny. You should do research before spitting garbage out. You aint Pure enough to even talk about this. Rooting and Roming are here to stay and never go away. Long live the Devs!!
  • While I disagree with your wording, I agree with the basis of your statement. While more people are buying Nexus, doesn't mean less people are rooting. It just means a bigger percentage of people aren't rooting. In fact, I only know of 2 Nexus owners that haven't unlocked their bootloader; one isn't Enlightened and the other has a Nexus 4 (and isn't Enlightened either haha)
  • You are completely right. Don't let these morons who think that the "Nexus Army" or WTF they call themselves mean anything.
  • As Long as they finally make a GPE device that works on all carriers. I wouldn't mind owning a Samsung GPE device but it never worked on Verizon. And that's why GPE failed,m by not working with a Company with 100 million strong in customers
  • Death of #nexusmasterrace
  • Dun dun dunnnnn
  • Good riddance
  • Lol why say that. U don't like nexus
  • The problem is the caustic nexus fanboy's being as bad as or worse than the apple fanboys. If you constantly have to try and run everything else down to feel better about what you've chosen,then you really don't have much confidence in what you've chosen.
  • as bad.. .not worse.
  • That only explains why you don't like "caustic nexus fanboys" though. It is possible to appreciate the Nexus program while disagreeing with the behavior of some subset of Nexus owners.
  • It sure is.Unfortunately,almost the only thing that ever presents itself for nexus are caustic fanboys.I can actually see positives in nexus vanilla,samsung features,and apple's walled garden.Shocking,I know,right?
  • There's reasonable and unreasonable fanboys/not fanboys for every single manufacturer and platform out there. I just don't think it's fair to say one set of fanboys is worse than another. Or one platform consists of JUST overzealous fanboys. I'm not a fanboy myself, but I do have favorites, just like many others out there, and I'm sure just like yourself. So it goes many ways. As for relating to the article:
    I can't wait to see what is in store for the future of Android. I just hope some of the inconsistencies can be worked out with more polish across the board. Otherwise it's a great ecosystem to be a part of.
  • The difference is this-do you essentially tell others you hate them for making a choice other than yours?Rather than engaging in conversation,do you only spew vitriol?Probably not.
  • I get what you're saying, but I don't get where you actually see that all the time. And like I said, there's just as many of those people for every other platform or manufacturer. You can't just single one out over the other. You're obviously doing it yourself right now by even making this a thing. So as far as I'm concerned, you're just here bashing those "caustic fanboys" and that makes you no better than them.
  • Once again I appreciate the nexus program,samsung features,IOS walled garden,etc.,etc.,not the caustic nexus fanboys,who appreciate nothing else,and in large part,are hateful towards all others.You either get that or you don't.Have a good one.
  • Lmao you're just in it for the attention now. This goes no where.
  • No,it certainly doesn't go anywhere,with your feigning a lack of comprehension.Hence,my previous comment to you."Have a good one",as in goodbye.
  • I can comprehend just fine, it's your lack of spaces that makes **** hard to read. Lol
  • Buh,bye now.LOL
  • If you refer to yourself as part of "[X-thing] matter race" you've aligned yourself with, and identified yourself as, one of the "caustic fanboys".
  • Yes,one of the most obvious tipoffs.
  • Or the Samsung fanboys, the BlackBerry fanboys, the Windows fanboys, etc, etc. There are fanatics in every group. Try going to a site that isn't OS centric, and there really isn't one group that's better or worse than the other. You say if they run something down they don't have confidence in their decision, but if you only condemn a handful of groups when every OS has their fanatics, then you're not looking at the entire picture, either by mistake or willfully. If one fanatic is bad, they all are.
  • Nope,the difference is fairly obvious to most. They don't just say their choice is great,they come across as strongly despising all others.
  • Again, go to other sites that don't focus on a single OS. There are fanatics for all OSs that do exactly what you're describing. I've seen BlackBerry fanatics condemning all others because none are as secure as BB OS, and when they started making Android devices, their implementation still better because...you know... BlackBerry. There are Samsung fanatics that are essentially the same as Nexus fanatics, just on the opposite end of the spectrum. They don't need updates, as long as they have all the features that Touchwiz brings with it. And heaven help you if say anything to the effect that someone else has as good a camera as a Samsung device. They'll gouge your eyes right out.
  • Amen.
  • Nah, the Windows Phone fan boys are the worst lol
  • Yeah. All five of them.
  • Did it ever occur to you they had a point? I'm guessing not and you're in a constant state of buyers remorse
  • Nope,not all.Enjoy your blinders.
  • I think you're the one with the blinders buddy
  • Because I can see more than only one thing?LOL.
  • They are just try8ing to protect you from buying bloat filled and slow galaxy phones. give them a break.
  • Good points are present in all sets.Vanilla,full featured,and even walled.
  • You just described all fanboys ever.. Singling out Nexus fanboys was insanely ignorant and simply irresponsible.
  • Nope.The level of nexus fanboy hateful is typically over the top compared to other fanboys. It could very well be tied to fact that they represent such a tiny portion of Android phones/devices in use,so they feel combative rather than conversational. Whatever,have a good one.
  • Yup, they're the worst, no other fanboy set is as bad as they are. /s You're condemning them for believing they're the best and everyone else is wrong. You don't see any irony there? Maybe you're not seeing it because you like something a Nexus fanboy ridiculed, but after having owned phones from HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and Nexus I can tell you that the fanatics in each camp are just as bad as any other. In fact it's one of the reasons for my sour experience with Samsung. The fact that you seem to blissfully ignore how bad fanatics in other camps are says to me that you're a bit biased here. You don't believe me, look up tim242 on Android Police. That guy has taken fanaticism to a whole new level, to the point that people have started blocking him from their disqus. Or then their is Richard Harrell as well. Both are pretty well known fanboys who accept nothing as even decent accept for their own choices. I had quite a few problems when I owned a Galaxy S3, so I went to the forums for help. You would be thought I called their mother a prostitute. I was accused of making up the problems I was experiencing to make Samsung look bad. If you like these phones or a company, fine, great. But if you can't except their faults as anything but a made up attempt to make them look bad, then you need to take it down a notch. None of these companies or devices are perfect, that's reality.
  • Funny,that's pretty much my point.I don't hate anyone for what they might like,which is pretty much the opposite of what you see the nexus ****'s typically spewing.You are much more reasonable than the norm,have a good one .
  • Your comment will really help the war
  • Agreed, Probably won't happen though.
  • Haters gon hate
  • That would be the exact point being made.I.E.- hateful nexus fanboys.Thanks for agreeing and making the point.As long as it makes you feel better.
  • You sound like you're full of hate and jealousy. It's just phones brah.. Relax.. Nexus is best
  • Continue on blindly,without the ability to appreciate anything else.
  • Take your own advice
  • Let's see,I appreciate a wide variety,and you hate anything non nexus.LOL. You're just a typical nexus troll.Cling to your only and hate all others.
  • LOL. There's only one troll here and it's you Kevin.
  • Aw,I'm hurt. Look, any time you say anything about the nexus cult,you know you're in for a day of it automatically.The best ones trash talk google nonstop,but love nexus more than their kids.Oh,well.
  • You're a strange dude Kevin
  • As are you.I do like nexus,as well as apple's garden,and samsung's fat features list.Have a good one,man.
  • Sounds like a ******
  • Hahaha
  • Seriously, your lack of using spaces after punctuations is ridiculous. It only diminishes any credibility of knowledge you might have.
  • There is a lot of voice to text.Get over it,or don't.I don't care.
  • Voice to text puts spaces where they go. Nice try though.
  • Whatever geek girl get over it or don't I don't care have a super day all done with voice to text Einstein What's the matter girl are you a little Nexus fangirl and just don't have the guts to say that instead of this other inconsequential garbage?
  • I wanna say GphoneMasterRace but I'm not convinced.
  • How about let's just stop paraphrasing nazis and white supremacists altogether?
  • Yes,definitely one of the most off putting things.
  • #nexusmasterrace
  • Look,the blind. Good thing little nexus fanboys aren't hateful,right?You prove my original point with every little post you make.Thank you.
  • Quiet peasant
  • Look,it's a blind nexus fanboy,without the capability to appreciate anything else.
  • You sound like a fanboy lol
    Silly silly troll
  • I am,of multiple OS'S and OEM'S.
  • I live that IBM OS/2 life
  • This. I fear it's already too late for my fellow PC gamers...
  • I only started saying it cause it honestly made me laugh so hard it just caught on lmao.
  • You go, social justice warrior.
  • prob not true at all but if this gets you guys ad revenue for crap like this go for it.
  • There was a more in-depth explanation of this on Android Guys last night. It seems legit.
  • You have a cute dog.
  • It's a cat
  • You have a cute bird.
  • Oh myyy! How did you get to see his bird?
  • Hmm, HTC brought forth the Nexus line, and now this new line. Hopefully with this new branding they'll be more competitive.
  • Android Silver?
  • l o l
  • Hahaha that's great
  • Confusing. Trying to shift away from being a niche productline?! The basic idea of the nexus wouldn't be dead I hope. Posted via the Android Central App on my GS7 edge
  • Question: What will NoNexus have to say?
  • *Gets a chair & popcorn*...
  • Well he'll have to change his handle for one.
  • To NoMoreNexus?
  • "The Troll Formerly Known As NoNexus" ? :) I don't really think he is a troll but that sounds funnier to me.
  • NoMoreNexus is funnier.
  • Nonexus will have to seriously have think things over, he's life long wish has finally come true. This changes everything for him! perhaps some soul searching is in order.
  • Hahaha that's great. I've noticed her hardly ever comments anymore though
  • But honestly hell probably just change to NOONEPLUS lol
  • [spins Wheel of Internet Rabble-Rousing] Something ****** about T-Mobile.
  • Good one
  • Glad I picked up the Nexus 6P when I did.
  • if it really is the last nexus, big bucks (not as many as larry has) on ebay??? LOL
  • Oh yeah,I got $10,000 for a final production year zenith on ebay.LOL.They're disposable modern electronics with a finite lifespan.
  • Same here. But Google's new line is still gonna be very similar to the Nexus line overall. I'm all for Google baking in some additional features if they want to try stuff out. What I care about most is getting the latest firmware the day it's released. That'll always be an option and it'll be exclusive to the new line
  • Maybe, maybe not. If anything, this could benefit the other OEMs in that all unlocked devices would be pushing their updates at roughly the same time if they commit to updates. With the current setup, Nexus devices would be faster to update no matter what, because all they had was essentially AOSP with some preloaded Google apps. OEMs OTOH had that, plus their custom overlay, so they would always be behind simply because there was more to do. Now that may not be the case. Nexus devices for the last 2 years also had the benefit of being unlocked for all domestic US carriers, but as we saw this year, Samsung did the same with their summer released unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. If other OEMs did that and eliminated the carriers from the equation, and these Google phones also have a custom software overlay on top of AOSP, how would they be any faster?
  • Presumably because Google is creating the software for the new versions, therefore they'll have direct access and be able to build their proprietary software as new versions of Android are being developed. I doubt that the team working on AOSP will be very far removed from the Non-Nexus team.
  • OEMs have had access to preview releases while the AOSP team was still working on it for quite awhile now. It's not like the OEMs didn't start working on it until after the final release. In the early days it was advantageous to be the Nexus OEM because they had early access to the new version of Android before other OEMs, and that gave them a headstart on the non Nexus devices as well. But a few years back all OEMs started getting preview releases to start work on their updates, similar to what they did with Nougat in this year's beta program.
  • Well regardless, Google isn't going to do away with the ability to push fast updates. The OS also originates from them, so there won't be any difference as far as up to date software is concerned. I wouldn'