Google naturally promotes its Android mobile operating system on many mediums, especially television. Android smartphone manufacturers, on the other hand, advertise their individual handsets and their unique features not found elsewhere more than emphasizing their dependence on Google’s software. The search giant then finds itself in an awkward position, as the steward of both Android as a constantly evolving product, and the recent release of two of its Nexus phones, the Huawei Nexus 6P and the LG Nexus 5X. It looks like Google may be taking a page from its OEM’s books and shifting its marketing muscle towards its new devices as opposed to being responsible for singing the praises of Android.
In the past, Google has regularly unveiled new devices to refresh the Nexus family, which includes both tablets and smartphones. These handsets are unique from most of their fellow Android phones because Google directly provides the code used to run them, as opposed to most OEMs who place proprietary skins over Google’s code. Nexus devices are also sold directly from the tech company, allowing consumers to leave network carriers out of the picture. In addition to timely updates when a new version of Android is released, a significant improvement over OEM handsets who may take months to update if at all, a vanilla Android experience is a boon for some techies.
Despite the benefits of the Nexus line, Google has usually allowed them to serve a more conservative role than similar devices from its partners. Not wanting to leave Android in the background, Nexus devices like the Nexus 5 were used to portray physical embodiments of Android and celebrate the entire ecosystem while also serving as examples for what Google sees as the ideal Android smartphone.
Now, with the launch of Android Marshmallow and two new Nexus phones, Google seems to be taking a new approach. Recently launched ads for the Nexus 5X promote the smartphone itself, its curves, fingerprint sensor, camera, and the like, more so than the new flavor of Android OS. Most of the ad revolves around a spinning model of the LG manufactured device, presenting it as an attractive and modern handset. Android Marshmallow is relegated to a few seconds towards the end of the spot, as the operating system’s logo is displayed on the Nexus 5X’s screen and text to the side mentions the update. An advertisement for the larger Nexus 6P is very similar, playing up the device’s metal construction and only pointing to Android in the last few seconds.
The new ads are strikingly different from what Google has traditionally done, and it seems the company is looking to start a new trend for its Nexus devices. Those watching sports events are likely to catch a glimpse of the plastic Nexus 5X, and be witnessing what may be Google’s first true entry into the crowded Android smartphone market, for better or for worse.