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.

  • Top notch article.
  • Or is it stupid notch?
  • I'll bite. The Nexus 5 was the best.
  • I definitely agree. And even after a 6p, one plus 3, and pixel 2 xl, it is still one of my favorite phones.
  • I agree as well, the 5 was the best one. I still regret selling it once I got my 5x that I quickly dumped for a 6p. The Nexus 6 is the only Nexus I never was interested in.
  • Yep
  • Agreed, the 4 looked and felt better, but the 5 just wouldn't quit. The peak of the Nexus program.
  • The best nexus (for value) was the 7lte,just a pity that google decided to cripple it with no dialing system.i still use mine daily,but the galaxy tabs are better,just because they were just phone hardware with a tablet screen,much more sensible,but i wont buy because their samsung and i dont buy/use samsung on principle,enough sheeple in the world help prop up a massively corrupt firm and system,but not with my cash.
  • Not for nothing but anybody that buys a phone with a dumb notch, no headphone jack or micro SD support is the definition of a sheep.
  • Only one I will miss is the
    Nexus 7 … great price - great tablet
  • Same here nexus 7 I've got 2. One is starting to play up though. Its 5 years old.
  • Remember the days of the Nexus when Google phones had terrible cameras. Now the days of the Pixel Google phones have the best camera in the game. For someone who prefer Android over ios, at least on phones. I will take the Pixel...
  • I miss my Nexus 6, although it's a bit small. Only 6-inches. Used it for 3 years. Using a tiny Moto X4 Android One. I'd love for Google to bring back the Nexus line as the cheaper, budget/mid-tier lineup. I just don't want to pay premium Pixel prices anymore. I want hardware that's "good enough," but a kick-ass LTE (X16+, X50) modem.
  • ☹️☹️☹️
  • the thing i will miss the post is the nexus price of $350. Paying twice for the Pixel, even more expensive than an iPhone is just stupid. And yet i don't have a single other choice if i want updates.
  • You can get refurbished phones for under$500 soon after release, and they are on the three year update cycle.
  • Sure one can , but what’s the point ,google will slowly make those nice little phones die of starvation , so that people will go and buy the Pixels , then they will stop feeding the pixels and the circle start all over again
    One should just move to another brand and send the message to google , you kill our phones and you will not sell one more to me
  • The scale to which that would be affective is impossible to reach.
  • Android One phone? Moto X4 is $399 and gets updates right away.
  • Pringles are not a dessert, at least in the UK. They are a savoury product so don't qualify as an Android name
  • I've definitely eaten Pringles as a dessert lol. Although they are definitely more of a garbage snack. And don't forget, a cheese plate and some crackers is a perfectly acceptable desert.
  • Cheese, crackers, and some grapes... mighty fine dessert
  • I'm voting for Pretzel. Adding salty goodies would expand the possibilities enormously. Besides pretzels go great with beer. Hmm, I really hate beer. Maybe Potato Pancake. Hmmm those really suck with syrup. Hmm I can't think of any others so maybe it's back to peppermint but when Android Q comes along well good luck with that one. I know! Quiche. Crap, back to salty.
  • I wish they would dump the whole letter thing and simply stick with Android 8, Android 9, etc.
  • Still holding on to my Nexus 6 as my daily driver, but I know it's time to upgrade. It's no longer getting security updates. I'll probably upgrade to the Pixel XL 3 on T-Mobile and the Moto X on Fi. Then I hope they'll have the quick updates and lack of carrier kruft like the Nexus phones did.
  • Great article, I'm glad someone is saying the notch is stupid. I'm shocked so many are following the trend of a notch from Apple, that's not top notch anymore. #stupidnotch
  • I like the notch
  • Wait, what? Nexus is dead because it will not get the *next* Android version?
    What about phones left in 5.x, 6 or 7? We are doomed, I tell you, doomed 😂 In my book, Android 8 will be good for next 3-4 years as having support for common apps from devs. Pokemon Go still runs on 5.1, count from that.
  • I think Jerry's point is that the phones won't get software updates, or more importantly, security updates. Not that they can't run P or future versions of Android. That's why I'm replacing my Nexus 6. Even sideloading, I can't get security updates any longer.
  • Exactly.
  • They will if you switch over to a custom ROM like Lineage OS. I have two Nexus 4's, a 2014 Moto X, and a 2013 Nexus 7, all on Lineage 14.1, which is Android 7.1.2. They currently have the February 5, 2018 security patch, which will update to March shortly. There is a big community of developers for the Nexus 6. I'm certain there will be a build of Oreo coming soon.
  • Great read.
  • The notch on the iPhone X serves a purpose. The notch on the Android devices listed in the article have no use to them at all and they're being put in the device for the sake of having one. Stupid.
  • Apple could have made the phone without the notch for a bit more. There is some documentation out there that shows they insisted on having it because it's the only way (at the time), people would know that you're using an iPhone since the single home button disappeared, and all phones look the same from the front. So they put their users, developers etc at a huge inconvenience for the brand. But hey, they're Apple, and clearly Android OEMs are dumb enough to follow suit with zero justification.
  • It serves the same purpose in android phones as in the iPhone 10. It's where the front camera, earpiece and sensors are. It's definitely a stupid design, and it's mainly being done to mimic Apple, but it's no more or less stupid on an android device than an iOS one.
  • iPhone X needed them for the FaceID sensors plus the ear piece/speaker, front facing camera, and the ambient light sensor. There's a bit more to it than the Android devices. The Android devices would've been better if they had a slim top bezel like Samsung. They're just mimicking the iPhone X notch just because.
  • Yeah, once November 2018 comes along, no more security patches for the Nexus phones after that unfortunately.
  • I left Nexus back with the 4 & the revised Nexus 7 I'll miss the designs and the fresh updates of stock Android
  • Nexus 4. To me that started it all. Brought the nexus into the mainstream
  • Long live the NeXus xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Who left this bowl of onions here?
  • Okay Jerry! I see you with the Nexus S! I'll never forget seeing the app drawer "waterfall" down over that glorious SAMOLED display for the first time. It was amazing. 🤘
  • I am reading and writing this on my Nexus 6p. I decided to stick with a nexus..not because I wanted to tinker with it but because it was bloat free, and got regular version updates and security updates first. Yeah other phones have more shine and features but the Nexus was always good enough for me. So now I will Pixel. I will get updated when they are released, updates for three years plus security updates after right? So I am ok with that too. I keep my phone's for at least three years so I'm good. Even if you have a 4 year old iPhone, yeah you get updates but you may not get the latest and greatest features so I am not jealous. There are iPhones in the house; no one that uses them cares if they are updated at all, and i am regarded as the weird one worrying about it. This is how most people probably are. So this fall--Pixel it is.
  • I liked the Nexus 6P, it was the best Nexus phone and I kinda miss my Nexus 6, it was a very good phone let down by a poor quality screen, camera and the software initially until Marshmallow, but it was time for Google to move on from the Nexus line and I have faith that the Pixel line will succeed, and can't wait til I finally get my Pixel 2 XL 128GB when my financial situation is resolved. It was the Nexus 6 that made me fall in love with stock Android as I loved being first in line for software updates and security patches and the smooth pure Android experience from Google and can't wait for the day I open my Pixel 2 XL, it will be a happy day for me as a Google fan, who can't imagine using anything that isn't a Pixel as it's the best, fast and smoothest Android experience you can get. Nothing else is even close. All I ask is plea Google don't follow Apple and have a notch on the Pixel 3.
  • "P" stands for "Pixel or die"! My honest take is that keeping close to the Pixel theme it'll stand for Pixy Sticks.
  • Galaxy Nexus started everything. Crummy radio, but custom romming was heaven.
  • I have a couple of them and use one for custom ROMs, it's running Lineage OS at the moment, and one that is stock.
  • After multiple Nexus, I am happy to see that it spawned the Pixels. These phones are great successors to the Nexus line. The most solid performing Android phones I have ever owned. Now, just out in in the form factor of the Moto X 2 with the leather back options, and it would be perfect.
  • The Nexus was always the best bang for your buck for Android devices. I think now OnePlus has taken over that role. Unfortunately the Pixel is similar in every way to the Nexus, just double the price.
  • Well, even 1+ is on a slippery slope now. It's pretty much flirting between affordable and straight up flagship territory. If it hikes the price up even just a bit it loses it's "affordable Flagship" title in my opinion.
  • Theres also Nokia taking on android on on all their devices....Im not saying my Nokia 6.1 is a pixel equivalent but it really reminds me of the early moto x and nexus devices...
  • From what I've heard about Android Pontefract cake, the fact that the 6P and 5X won't get it may be one of their best features.
  • Android is so good these days that u can't even mod it and iphone just does it better in stock to stock and I'm so close to fully switching to apple since the rom community is dead.
    So if ios and android are equally as good I rather have ios since it does social media better. Never thought I'd see the day id be a believer in Apple
  • It's the opposite for me, I used to hate Android at first because of Lollipop but Marshmallow helped to win me over but Apple has gone downhill since the 6s and can't stand them anymore, and Android has overtaken them and I switched to Android for good at the end of January and sold my 6s Plus and cut ties completely with Apple as I got sick of the closed and restricted nature of iOS and I've fully embraced the freedom, flexibility and customisation of Android I have a Chinese Oukitel K6 which runs what is pretty much stock Android and I'm loving it, making your phone truly yours and being able to do what you want on your phone (and not what Apple wants) never felt so good, I'm never going back to Apple, I'm Android all the way now and I plan on getting a Pixel 2 XL as it's the best Android experience IMO which is fast, smooth and bloat free and the advantage of being first in line for updates and security patches is just too good and I get the pure Google experience to boot, personally you'll be making a mistake going to Apple, have you used iOS 11? It's a steaming pile of dung and a buggy mess, I'm glad I left all that behind and switched to the world's most popular, powerful and advanced platform in Android.
  • I have a Pixel 2 now, but I do miss my 5X.
  • I miss mine too even though I gave it to my brother also a reason why I got the smaller Pixel 2 got use to size.
  • We'll miss you, Nexus!
  • It truly was a great line of phones. Yes, it had its compromises like crap battery life, average cameras (Nexus 6P and Nexus 5x aside), among other things but it ran so smooth, always had updates, and was affordable.
  • I recently fired up my 6P for an international trip so I could use Project Fi. I forgot how much I loved this phone, and how quickly the battery drops. Seriously though -- if my 8+ died, I could easily go back to this phone. Everything runs great and nothing feels dated. And it's a much better fix in my Mavic Pro controller. I'm tempted to pick up one of those recently discounted ones that are floating around in the deal sites.
  • Still have my Nexus One. What as great start for Android.
  • It's not just the Nexus line that's going to be EOL. The Pixel C (Google's first Pixel branded Android device) will also be EOL.
  • R. I.P. Nexus.
  • End of an era. I owned a Nexus 4 and 6 and loved both.
  • I had the very first Nexus phone. I was a loyal Nexus user until the Nexus 6. The camera sucked so bad, I dumped it for the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge. It blew away my Nexus phone. I have no regrets. Google didn't have enough fire in the belly to build a top shelf phone. I'd say the verdict is still out on the Pixel.
  • I still fire up my Nexus One from time to time just to see the colorful trackball. I think Nexus 5 was the best of the line though.
  • I have the 6P - it's still going strong... "phones don't get the life we would like unless they come from Apple" - you do know that Apple updates kill older phones. At least my 6P will continue just fine - it just won't get updated.
  • What's worse is that later updates make iPhones run slower,then they disable downgrading back to an earlier version that worked better.
  • That's just one of the reasons why I left iPhone for Android, along with the fact that Apple admitted slowing down older iPhones on purpose with software updates and add the fact that I got tired of Apple dictating what I could do on my phone and I have no regrets switching to Android for good after 2 years of switching between Android and iPhone, I'm never going back to Apple.
  • I'd rather have my phone run a little slower, than to have it shut down without warning at 60% battery because it was defective from the factory. I'm no Apple fanboy, believe that, but I'll always credit them with making nice stuff at least. Basically everything that google produces is absolute junk in comparison.
  • That was the case with the early Nexus phones but the Nexus 6 and 6P in particular was where Google started to step up their game and the Pixel line is a result of that, Apple is more like expensive junk these days, another reason why I left iPhone along with being Sick of Apple's walled garden was the annoying bugs of iOS 11, which has been a sh*t show of bugs and I'm the happiest I've been with Android, which is smoother than iOS now, I'm never coming back to iPhone I'm done with Apple's BS and hype, Android is where it's at, if you want freedom, flexibility and customisation to make you phone look the way you want and not the way Apple wants.
  • This article makes me want to rank my Nexus devices: Nexus 7 2013 - my favorite Nexus device; I still use it nearly every day (even though I also have a Shield Tablet)
    Nexus 5 - my favorite Nexus phone; my mom still enjoys the one I gave her
    Nexus 4 - I loved this phone when it came out, but the 5 was a large step up
    Nexus One - not my first Android device but still one of my favorites (nostalgia...)
    Nexus S - a really solid phone for its time; it even ran JB quite well
    Nexus 5X - I'm on my third version of this phone; without the failures it would rank around the OG 5
    Nexus 6P - same boat with this one; at least they gave me a Pixel XL when it failed for the 3rd time (and that HOT SD 810 - yuck)
    Nexus 6 - a large phone that fit my hand perfectly, but the camera was terrible and it just felt janky
    Nexus 10 - a decent device that didn't receive the support it should have
    Nexus 7 2012 - if there was ever a device that felt outdated in less than a year, this was it
    Nexus 9 - the build quality on this thing was perhaps the worst I've seen, even among the cheap Chinese tablets
    Nexus Player - since my Shield TV arrived I have used this device exactly 0 times
    Nexus Q - I still have mine somewhere...
  • Google can suck a festering, hairy, sweaty, and ****** laden cack. Fvck them and their garbage Nexus phones. This 6P is the 5th consecutive Nexus phone I've had, and I'd drag my sack across red hot broken glass all the way to the nearest Apple store before I'd ever buy another anything from Google. 🖕✌️
  • Well.... That escalated quickly,
  • I'm hopeful that the Nexus 6P and 5X will get Android P relatively quickly via custom ROMs. I'm worried about whether Google Pay will work on a custom ROM though...
  • AFAIK Google Pay won't work on rooted devices, Android Pay didn't so I have no reason to suspect that Google Pay will either.
  • I have a Mi A1,love it. Absolutely no bugs,no problems.
  • I still believe the Nexus 5 will forever go down in history as the best Nexus device. Nexus 6P take a very close second.
  • My current back up a Nexus 6P with a screen i can read. It still work great and i keep the apps updated just in case the Pixel 2 XL dies.,
  • With the exception of my very first smartphone, it's been nothing but Nexii for me. Hoping for some good Android Ones, because I refuse to Pixel.
  • My Nexus 6 was one of my faves. Replaced it with S7 Edge.
  • I really miss my 6p....
  • When TouchWiz had round, colorful icons for the quick settings and settings, it was "childish" and "cartoony", but now that it's stock Android, it's okay?
  • P should be Poptart. As for the Nexus iPhone (no expandable memory=iPhone), good riddance! Bye bye! Now ya'll can discover a REAL phone...called the Samsung (insert model here). Expand your horizons (and your storage capacity), see what it's like to be given a device that you can use as YOU see fit, not as some d-bag manufacturer THINKS you should use it. Sorry guys, I know this will ruffle some feathers, but you'll get over it once you see what else is out there. Now hopefully the Pixel and Essential will follow suit. Man, it's really unbelievable how much sub-standard junk is on the market, and the following they have. 😁
  • And if I see fit to not use all the extra software and bloatware Samsung forces on me? Oh wait.. Can't uninstall, can't disable.
  • Oh big deal, you just don't use it. Cry some more. Or you could use an app called BK Disabler which DOES allow you to disable any and all bloatware on a Samsung phone. So because of 'bloatware' you'll settle for junk? Sad. Very sad.
  • What will the P stand for? P = Pi