The Nexus 5 is Google’s follow-up to the once-popular but now sold out Nexus 4, which was a very good phone at a very good price.
Oddly enough, there are a bevvy of Nexus 5 rumors but still no official release date—word on the street is that the Nexus 5 will hit the streets in October.
Why are people so excited about a phone that doesn’t even officially exist?
The Nexus 5 Specs
Some leaked benchmarks show it may or may not rival the specs for the iPhone 5. It will supposedly carry a fast processor, plenty of memory, a decent camera, and LTE speeds.
But that’s not why this phone is such a big deal.
The reason the Nexus 5 (and Google’s Nexus line of phones in general) matters is because it’s so different than every other phone out there.
It’s All About the Benjamins
The last Nexus phone (Nexus 4) started at $299 unlocked, which meant you didn’t have to sign up for a two-year contract with whatever carrier you were with. So you paid your $299 (for the 8GB version—the 16GB version was $349) and then you had a fantastic phone that you could take anywhere you wanted.
Try buying an unlocked phone without extending your contract from anyone else and you’re looking at spending at least $600.
Because you bought the phone directly from Google, you did not have to sign a two-year extension with your carrier.
Contracts are a Thing of the Past
It started with T-Mobile’s whole “Un Carrier” campaign (the Cowboy spot was my favorite). They claimed they were going to act differently and no longer force customers into a two-year contract in exchange for a discount on phones.
Other carriers have followed suit. The selling point is that you can upgrade your phone whenever you want to, as frequently as you want to. Of course, you’ll still be paying the $600+ that each one of these devices is worth for that luxury, but they don’t really focus on that.
The overall trend in the industry is moving towards freedom of choice and minimizing restrictions.
Carriers are Becoming a Commodity
We’re headed to a future where conversations like this will become the norm:
“Oh wow, that’s a cool phone! So what carrier are you on?”
“I have no idea…I’ve been on all of them but eventually got a great deal and just stayed put…AT&T?”
Coverage is getting better. Speeds are getting faster. Plans are all moving towards unlimited everything. It’s no longer about the carrier, it’s all about the phone, how much it costs, and how restrictive the agreement with the carrier is.
Now that elite phones like the iPhone and the Galaxy S4 are available on pretty much every carrier, there’s no reasonto pick a carrier based on the phone you want.
Remember when the original iPhone came out and people joined AT&T only because they had to? Those days are long gone.
The Nexus Paradigm
The Nexus program matters because Google is giving you a high-end phone at a budget price with no contracts. They don’t care what carrier you’re on as long as you’re using an Android phone. So they’re essentially subsidizing your phone in exchange for picking their Android platform. They don’t care what carrier you’re on or how long you decide to stay with said carrier.
They’re offering you freedom of choice at a very good price.
Another added benefit is that Nexus phones get software updates before any other phone…so you’ll be on the cutting edge of any new Android features that are released.
While $299 is a great deal (compared to $600), most people are used to getting a brand new, high-end phone for just $199, and that’s ultimately what will keep a lot of people away from joining this new paradigm. If you’re happy with your carrier and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon, you might as well sign on the dotted line and get a new phone every two years for “just” $199.
The question is: are you happy with your carrier or would you rather have the freedom of not being on a contract?