Google’s hardware event today was arguably as noteworthy for what wasn’t announced as what was. While it launched a pair of new smartphones, a new Chromecast streamer, an Amazon Echo competitor, and a budget-priced VR headset, none of them carried the Nexus name.
Nexus has long been synonymous with the search giant’s forays into hardware, branding a slew of Android mobile devices and a pair of media streamers, but that string has apparently ended. According to The Verge, Google has halted using the name for new products, with nothing Nexus-related on the drawing board.
The Pixel brand now takes over the Nexus role, at least when it comes to smartphones, though Google has dubbed its more recent streaming devices as “Chromecasts” gave the VR glasses the cutesy Daydream View moniker, and abandoned fancy titles altogether with the Google Home smart speaker and Wifi router. Of course, Pixel didn’t debut with today’s phone launch, as there’s the existing Pixel C Android tablet.
But also notable in its absence was a replacement for the Pixel C, which is yet another sign of the times for the faltering tablet market. Launched this time last year as something of an Android competitor to the Microsoft Surface and Apple iPad Pro, the productivity tablet hasn’t set the world on fire, even getting a temporary price cut last spring to encourage more developers to buy the Pixel C to test Android apps.
Ironically, the last Google tablet rumor involved a new Nexus slate, reportedly to be powered by Huawei. The Chinese manufacturer supposedly scuttled its involvement with the new Pixel smartphones because its name wouldn’t be on them. With Google putting Nexus to rest, that rumored Huawei-built tablet doesn’t look like it will happen, either. Will there ever be another Google-branded tablet, under the Pixel brand? Does it even matter anymore?