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Why the Google Nexus 5 should be the Nexus 5C: “C” for Cheap

There was this rumor running around that the Google Nexus 5 might be based on the LG L9 II. The rumor was not given all that much attention. One reason being that die hard Nexus fans would probably revolt at the idea of the Nexus phone being based on what is a lower rung mid-range device

LG-L9-II

On the other hand, this is what the Android ecosystem might really need. A low cost phone which is provided updates for a long period of time. A Nexus smartphone to target the Apple iPhone 5C, rather the iPhone 5S. Between handset manufacturers and carriers, Google has been having a hard time implementing an 18-month update commitment from Android manufacturers. This leaves Android rather fragmented, with even a one year old phone now stuck forever on Android 4.0.x, Ice Cream Sandwich. Manufacturers, notably Sony, Samsung and HTC have been much more diligent about upgrading their flagship phones since last year to a reasonably current version of Android.

The Nexus phone has been about uplifting the Android ecosystem– introducing new features or setting the direction of where the platform will go. If there is anything that needs to be fixed right now, it is Android fragmentation. Maybe what the ecosystem needs now is a low cost phone which will receive software updates for a long period of time. Such a device could force other Android manufacturers to follow suit.

Now some will argue that the Nexus 4, and its US$299 price tag was cheap enough. The price of the Nexus 4 is now down to US$199.  But those low prices only apply where Google subsidizes its Nexus devices. In the developing world, where smartphone demand is expected to increase, that is not the case, with Google Nexus phones costing as much as other high end Android devices. Now if Google could offer a US$199 or US$249Nexus 5, off contract and unlocked, this could have a positive effect on the Android ecosystem. This would also tie into the rumor that Android 5.0, Key Lime Pie, will focus on support for lower end smartphones, and the Moto X “spec’s don’t matter” philosophy around its design.

Now I do not have any inside information on what Google plans to do for its next Nexus 5. In the past, I wondered whether there is still a point to Google producing another Nexus phone. But a low cost, and I mean one which is not subsidized, actually makes a lot of sense to me. It would help stamp out fragmentation.

Photo Credit: LG