I’m going to go on a mini rant here. When Google rolled out their pre orders for the Nexus 9 and soon-to-be Nexus 6, I did some reading around. Following the device announcement, the prices started getting posted. Then came the comments in the forums and social media. In a way I dismissed the complaints to those people who want cheap cheap cheap all day, all the time. Then this morning I came to a realization. I was wrong in my thinking.
Google, for whatever reason, has now decided to toss out the essence of the Nexus brand which was pure Android devices as a great cheap price. The cheap pricing aspect went out the window officially in my opinion. You could say that it was ironic that Google unveiled the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 the day before Apple’s event where they unveiled their iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. It’s ironic because now Google thinks its Apple and can be a premium brand.
Trust me when I say I’m not the only one having this reaction. Take my small example today. I was looking on Future Shop and the base 16GB Nexus 9 pre order page is up at a price of $470. (Note: it’s a bit unclear about the accuracy of the Future Shop pricing, so it may end up being $430 for the WiFi model with 16GB which is shown on Google Play) So I think thought to myself, wow. That’s 16GB and no expandable storage and it’s a Nexus. Isn’t that supposed to be slightly more affordable? So I think decided to search Future Shop for the iPad Air. Guess how much the iPad Air 32GB costs? It’s $490 on sale right now. Oh you might be saying oh but the Nexus 9 is the latest and greatest. Okay, sure it might be. However consider one fact. The iPad Air has 32GB vs the Nexus 9 measly 16GB. On top of that, you’re getting the most premium tablet brand on the planet. Sure it’s not the iPad Air 2, but I can say quite safely that it’s not going to struggle with ANY TASK YOU THROW AT IT.
I’m quite irked to be honest because I wanted to get the new juicy Nexus 9. I’m finding the pricing somewhat arrogant to be honest. When you consider the accessories on to of the $480 base 16GB Nexus 9 you might also scratch your head.
Nexus 9 Keyboard Cover: $130
Nexus 9 Folio Case: $40
So if you get the $470 model and desire that official keyboard cover, you’re paying $600 + TAX. Don’t you think that’s an enormous price for what amounts to an undersized netbook? It’s expensive when you consider the cheap wave of Windows 8 laptops around the 10-inch and 11-inch size for around $250. You could quite literally buy 2 laptops (non touch screen of course) for the price of one Nexus 9 with 16GB only and the official keyboard cover. Heck, I used to make this argument all the time in the past about the pricing of the Apple iPads! Sadly it seems that I’m here making the same argument against the Nexus brand which for me and others, always represented fair if not excellent pricing.
I haven’t even touched on the Nexus 6 yet, but it shows the same premium pricing. Ready? It’s going to be $780 in Canada. That’s more than $300 more than what the Nexus 5 costs. If it’s right up there price wise with the Galaxy Note 4 and the iPhone 6 Plus, is that a great buy? I mean you must consider that Android is not iOS. It’s great, but it hasn’t been up until this point a “premium” based OS. Sure Apple doesn’t use expandable memory and obviously Nexus device share that same philosophy. Then again, Apple can do that and get away with it because they are Apple. So the Galaxy Note 4 being similarly priced to the Nexus 6? Well, no pen stylus with the Nexus 6. But more than that, the Note 4 has expandable memory and removable battery. Those are in fact value added features. It would seem that Google expects consumers out there to value the “pure Android” experience to the point where they dismiss the competition out there and the compromises.
One thing is quite clear these days when it comes to tablets and smartphone/phablets. It’s called outdated. A current tablet or smartphone will last you a long time, but companies continue to pump out new models yearly. So when you’re going to drop down $500 on devices that will lose value so quickly, what is the point of buying such an expensive tablet? Apple is the only exception to the debate because of their brand reputation, their build quality, their app selection, resale value and their customer loyalty. Does the Nexus brand garner the same? Not in my opinion. If it’s a new direction for Nexus, that’s fine. Based on what I’ve been reading, it’s a bitter pill for those folks who are looking to upgrade their previous Nexus phone or tablet.
Frankly speaking, I don’t like it and I simply don’t get it. Is this Google trying to be Apple? Does Google not so much care about sales anymore with the Nexus brand? What do you think the Nexus brand stands for now? Since price isn’t a selling point of a Nexus device, is the “pure Android experience” enough to make you buy a device with no expandable storage?