It's time to say goodbye to the Nexus program for good

Android dudes
Android dudes (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

We got our first look at Android P this past week. As expected, it's an evolution of the formula Google is happy with and we won't have our socks rocked off or anything when it shows in its final form because that's what happens with all software; once it gets to the place the creators wanted it to be, it stops being "different" from version to version.

Sometimes it's fun to have a phone that's a mess just waiting for us to make better. Or worse.

That doesn't mean it's not some good stuff, though. Small changes up front have little to do with big changes in the back and Android P should do the things Android O does even better and give people who develop the software we love to use more and better tools to work magic with. That's also how any software project works. Good software, anyways. But this is only a first peek, so there may be something to come that surprises us all.

But while I'm looking forward to what P has to bring us (besides the inevitable crude jokes that come with the "P" branding until we get a real name), I'm also a little sad because seeing Android P means it's time to say goodbye to the Nexus program.

Pringles. Let it be Pringles.

It's not like this was a surprise. The Nexus 6P and 5X are past the freshness date on the bottom of the carton. Unfortunately, phones don't get the life we would like unless they come from Apple and the last two Nexus phones are soon to be officially end-of-life'd and sent to the place in the sky where the Wi-Fi is always free and fast. They may not have been the best phones ever, or even the best Nexus phones ever (everyone knows that was the Nexus S) but I think everyone who has or had one is sad to see them go. It means the end of a good thing and chances are we'll never see another Nexus branded phone from Google.

We'll still have the Pixel line, and here's hoping the third one is great and has an awesome display and doesn't have some stupid notch that serves as a tool for developers who need a solid phone with a stupid notch so they can write apps that work around a stupid notch. We all will never agree on bezels or aspect ratios, but a notch falls into the same category as a headphone jack and unifies us all. Stupid notch. But anyway, back to the Pixel line.

They're good phones. Ignore the people who love them and the people who hate them, realize that a small percentage of them are bum units like every other model of phone ever made, and that's what you'll find. They are good, solid phones that also serve as a baseline for developers who need everything that's supposed to work in a particular version of Android. Google has to make sure that's provided every year if they want to keep developers happy and writing apps. It's just that Pixel phones aren't the same in plenty of ways, and I'll miss being able to know I can have a phone that's going to be cheap and easy to break and just as easy to fix. I like having a phone that's polished and feels "finished" to use every day, but I also like having one to fiddle with. I don't think I'm alone there.

I'm not sure that anyone misses the Nexus 9 or Nexus Player.

It's also telling that I didn't have any of these same thoughts when the Nexus 9 or Nexus Player reached their respective end of life. There's a place for a good tablet or media box and I don't think either type of product is destined to fail, but Google just wasn't very good at either. Better products were available from partners, and the NVIDIA Shield TV or a Galaxy Tab was a smarter buy. I expect we'll see future versions of both. I hope so because they're both damn great products.

I'm probably going to fire the Nexus 6P back up and use it for a while, and my wife still uses her 5X no matter how many other phones I try and get her to use. And both will still keep working once Android P is released and they are left behind, even with security patches for a few more months afterward. But I know eventually they'll both have to go back into their box over on the shelf and that I'll probably not have to make room for another Nexus phone on it ever again.

Hashtag420rootit YOLO Nexus line. I'll miss you.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.