Should Nokia be the “new Nexus”?

Nokia 6

It’s only been a little over half a year since HMD Global resurrected the Nokia brand in mobile, and although the once colossal brand has had a relatively quiet start, a recent release by HMD Global suggests that it has its sights set on a bright future for the Nokia by having a close relationship with Google, possibly as the new Nexus, or something along those lines.

The loss of Nexus wasn’t a big deal for most smartphone consumers, but for enthusiasts the loss was significant. While many agree that Google’s addition of the Pixel and Pixel XL flagships have been good for Android, the extremely premium price tag that comes with them were a far cry from the more affordable Nexus devices (at least in its later generations). Although there are a plethora of affordable Android devices to choose from – many with “near stock” experiences – none quite deliver a complete Nexus experience.

Those unfamiliar may be asking, “What is a Nexus experience, exactly?” A Nexus experience meant stock Android (or “vanilla” as many refer to it as), two years of relatively fast updates, and decent specs for a good price. For the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, Nexus also served as an affordable entry into Google’s Project Fi service. With the 6P and 5X having been “Out of Stock” for months now, the only way to use Project Fi is by purchasing the Pixel or Pixel XL, which starts at $649 (or purchasing a Nexus 5X or 6P through other means, but the phones are coming up on 2 years old at this point).

The loss of Nexus and the resurgence of the Nokia brand could be a perfect set-up for Nokia to take over where Nexus left off. However, there is one issue with this idea, and that’s that Nexus typically rotated manufacturers. HTC, Samsung, LG, and Huawei have all produced various Nexus devices, some more than once. The idea that Nokia might be only company to produce a Nexus-like device in the future may not bode well for people who enjoyed the thought of being able to experience different manufacturer’s styles without having to sacrifice the Nexus experience.

At the very least, I could see Nokia and Google partnering up to make a big comeback at least once for Nexus, if that’s the case. Although Google clearly didn’t release a Nexus last year, that may have been more of a break rather than a decision permanently put in place. The Pixel was a big project for Google, and perhaps it was best that they focused all their efforts on getting people to recognize Pixel rather than splitting their focus between Pixel and Nexus. Regardless of their motive, Google’s rigorous marketing for the Pixel paid off. More people seem to know about the Pixel in the 9 months since its release than in the 5 years Nexus existed.

It’s hard to say whether HMD Global will be able to strike a deal with Google to become “the next Nexus”, or even something like it. I think it’s an intriguing idea and I wouldn’t mind seeing it come to fruition. As an owner of a Nexus 4 and later a Nexus 5X, not even having a Nexus to window shop for has been a little weird. The Nexus line has been missed, and I think that HMD Global would be a great candidate to bring it back with.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the possibility of the Nokia brand becoming the “new Nexus”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!