The Google Nexus 6 will keep users guessing about whether the brand is set to go out in a blaze of glory or is here to stay. For over six months, technology pundits from around the world have speculated that the Nexus series will eventually give way to a wide range of Google Play devices manufactured by Lenovo, Samsung, LG and Motorola. However, at the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC), Google’s senior vice president in charge of Android, Chrome and App development, Sundar Pichai announced that the Google Nexus 6, successor to the Nexus 5 smartphone could be expected no earlier than June this year, sparking off rumors of a revival in the Nexus line.
The Google Nexus series has enjoyed a predictably profitable run in a smartphone market dominated by Samsung and Apple. Samsung smartphones currently run on the Android operating system and Google continues to enjoy preeminence in the mobile OS market with nearly 67 percent of all phones in the world running on the popular and open OS. In the hardware department, Google has maintained a regular succession plan for all its Nexus devices. In 2013, the Nexus 4 was succeeded by the Nexus 5—the current flagship smartphone created in conjunction with LG as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partner. Google has traditionally released Android upgrades and new phones at the end of the year and this shows no sign of changing despite rumors of the impending release of Samsung Galaxy 6 in August 2014.
Earlier this year, technology bloggers predicted that Google would move from their current OEM partnership model to a Google Play-supported model. This will allow leading phone manufacturers to create hardware that better supports Android and other Google Play-capable hardware. As a result, the Google Play store could potentially put third-party smartphone brands for sale on their website. However, Pichai’s announcement about the release of the Google Nexus 6 smartphone, the Nexus 8 tablet and the much-anticipated Android 4.5 seems to indicate that Nexus may be here to stay rather than go out in a blaze of glory.
In a bold move aimed at stymieing the rampant lawsuits over the infringement of patented technologies, Google has signed a global patent cross-license agreement that allows the two firms access to each other’s key technologies and patents. This agreement grants the two firms access to all current patents and the patents filed in the next ten years. Samsung, in particular stands to gain from this agreement. Allen Lo, the Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google has said that by working together on agreements, companies can reduce the potential for litigation. Dr. Seungho Ahn, the Head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center comments that Google and Samsung can lead the way by showing the industry that more will be gained through cooperation rather than pointless patent wars. It remains to be seen whether Google will work with other smartphone manufacturers or will seek to actively acquire them in order to strengthen its position in the smartphone market. Despite intense speculation in technology and business circles, Google’s secrecy about the future of the Google Nexus has left most consumers wondering if the device is here to stay or being set up to go out in a blaze of glory.
By Grace Stephen
International Business Times