If you’ve followed Android and AOSP for any time at all, you know about the Nexus lineup. The Nexus lineup has been defined by cost-effective devices that spread Google’s vision for Android. It was leaked earlier this year by Android Police that Google would be moving away from the Nexus moniker and begin to market its phones as Pixel devices.

The difference between Nexus and Pixel

The first Nexus device was the aptly named Nexus One in 2010. The Nexus One was made by HTC and sold by Google and set the standard for future Nexus devices. From that point on we saw carrier unlocked devices with pure Android sold directly by Google or sometimes by a hardware partner every year. The relationship between Google and the hardware partner of choice was never a secret. We always knew who produced the hardware that ran Google’s pure operating system.

Nexus 6P Lineup 810

The devices in the Nexus lineup were also cost effective, except 2014’s Nexus 6. The Nexus 6 was rumored to be the start of a new line of phones dubbed Android Silver. When that fell apart, Google and Motorola had to scramble to get a phone ready for the Nexus lineup that year and came up with the super-sized, super-priced Nexus 6. Recently we’ve been treated to the $499 Nexus 6P and the $399 Nexus 5X and the $349 Nexus 5.

In direct opposition to the Nexus lineup is the Pixel lineup. We’ve only seen three devices in the Pixel lineup so far, the original Pixel Chromebook in 2013, a refresh of the Pixel Chromebook in 2015, and the Pixel C – an Android tablet that was rumored to ship with Chrome OS until those plans were scrapped. Where the Pixel lineup differs from the Nexus lineup is in build and price.


While the Nexus lineup doesn’t hide who builds the hardware, the Pixel lineup is either built in-house by Google or by a third-party but not played up by Google. These devices also aren’t budget friendly like the Nexus lineup. The Pixel C was $499 at launch, and that didn’t include the keyboard dock that truly made the Pixel C something worth owning.

A New Direction

While Google has always tried to get its devices in the hands of developers and customers at an affordable price, it would appear that a new strategy is being shaped. And, I hate to say it, but it looks a lot like our friends in Cupertino. This could be the Apple-ization of Google. Now, I don’t want that to sound all dramatic like Google is turning into Apple or anything, because it isn’t. But, it does appear that Google is taking a page out Apple’s playbook with its new Pixel and Pixel XL phones.

This rumor comes from David Ruddock from over at AndroidPolice. AP is responsible for a lot of the leaked details we’ve seen on the Pixel and Pixel XL so far this year so we’re inclined to trust them a little bit. Last week Ruddock tweeted that it looked like the Pixel XL was going to start at $649. That ruffled some feathers since we would no longer be treated to cheap, stock Android devices anymore.


Well, if that ruffled some feathers, today was a bit of a gut punch. Ruddock released more info today indicating that the Pixel, not the Pixel XL would be priced at $649, seemingly indicating that the Pixel XL would cost even more since it has a bigger battery and larger display.


Google is supposedly going to lean on device financing to soften the blow of these higher prices, but…. wow. I don’t know if that’s really going to help. If Google’s pricing follow’s Apple’s, we’ll see a 32GB Pixel as $649, with higher storage tiers (64GB? 128GB?) costing even more. That should put the base 32GB Pixel XL in at a base price of $750. That’s a far, far stretch from the base 32GB Nexus 6P that started at $499.

Full control over hardware, full control over software, two hardware lineups, $650 entry price. Who does that sound like to you?

I’m not necessarily saying there is anything wrong with Apple or how it prices its device or that Google may follow down that path, but the good old days of cheap hardware and stock Android appears to be over and this is something we should all prepare ourselves for.

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  1. Apple makes an insane amount of profit on each iPhone. The vast majority of Google’s money comes from advertising and it’s services. It seems extremely odd that they would mark up the Pixel phones so much for the sake of profit on hardware. I would have thought they’d keep the profits down as much as possible so that they can benefit from higher market penetration and gain more money on advertising, services etc.

    • I would like to comment about the profit made on Apple devices. One aspect that is missed is that Apple purchases stock on parts of the supply companies of the parts that got into the Apple iPhone “X” 5, 6, 7……. They make deals that insure to lowest price in bulk. They control the supply chain so tightly. THIS practice is a dominating factor why so much is made per iPhone sale. Google and other technology firms are now catching up to this and will be duplicating the same yield as Apple. Make no mistake.. I don’t like Apple products period but I will say.. I wish Google would put more focus on a more complete solution and grow and foster what the have.

      • I guess this makes sense but it makes sense for Apple who can almost guarantee that millions of devices will be sold in the first days. As great as the Nexus phones are, they won’t really see those kinda of sales anytime soon even if they are not supply constraint.

  2. I’m up for my biennial upgrade, but no way I’ll cough up $650 for a phone that will gather dust in a drawer in 2 years – and surely not for the base model. No, I guess I’m off to China to get me another “more than good enough” phone for less than 1/3 of that.

  3. No longer interested in the Nexus Line, now Pixel. Bought a Moto G4 Plus, 64 Gig version, expand to an additional 128 GB via SD card, works for me.

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