Debuted in 2010, Google’s range of Nexus devices quickly became popular among Android enthusiasts looking for a ‘pure’ Android experience. At a time when Android’s adoption was rapidly increasing, Google decided to launch a product line that would serve as a reference for Android, with hardware produced by the most promising smartphone manufactures.
Android’s open-source nature made it the fastest growing mobile operating system. Many smartphone manufacturers started producing Android-based devices with proprietary components. In 2010 it was already surpassing Symbian’s market share and only a year later it was the operating system which powered more than 52.5% of smartphones worldwide, according to Gartner. While this made Android one of the most important building blocks of the mobile revolution, it also posed threats: fragmentation and issues regarding the compatibility of updates across devices. Nexus phones were meant to showcase how Android could (and should) be used to its full potential. Google managed the development process, working closely with their partners, and released the latest Android versions on Nexus devices. Most importantly, Nexus allows users to have root access to their devices, enabling them to control advanced system settings, install custom apps, and experiment with the device. Highly appreciated by developers and Android fans, Nexus devices weren’t a big sales success, but they definitely had an impact on the development of the Android ecosystem.
With the release of Pixel, a flagship which is 100% made by Google, the company stopped the Nexus line. Google’s new Pixel brand is taking over and, as the company’s representatives promised during the keynote, it will show "the magic that's possible when the best hardware meets the best software". While we’re waiting to witness the magic, let’s take a moment to remember Nexus.