While Android 5.0 Lollipop might be Google’s “sweetest” release yet, getting your hands on the devices debuting alongside the OS isn’t sweet at all, and has proven to be more a pain than it ever needs to be. Did you manage to pre-order a Nexus 6? Of course you didn’t, unless you’re either an internet ninja or just incredibly lucky. We’ve been here before, and sadly, I doubt much will change. I’m perhaps kicking a beaten horse here, but the fact that Google still hasn’t managed to get their act together when it comes to selling devices is something that will continue to hold the Nexus brand back.
For a long time, the Nexus line has been made up of smartphones and tablets described as “great at this sort of price” or “yeah, but it costs half as much” and these arguments were always true, but they weren’t really the point. I had a Nexus 5, I managed to buy it 10 minutes after they went on sale, which was ironically today’s date last year. Last year, I don’t remember Nexus 5 sales being too awful, at least not compared with the Nexus 4 launch and the most recent of shambles, the Nexus 6 pre-orders. This year’s Nexus devices are made by new partners, they’re packed full of the absolute latest specs and they’re built to much higher standards. Sure, that means they cost much more, but they are great devices, period. Not, great “for their price” or “good at this price point”, they’re just great, and we’ll describe just why that is in our reviews coming in the next few weeks.
However, the fact that Google still doesn’t understand how to sell devices is what will ultimately hold the Nexus line back, and in some small way help people think that stock Android is not good enough for everyone. “If it’s that good, why do only a few devices use it and they can’t even sell them properly!” The Nexus 9 went a lot smoother than the Nexus 6 pre-orders and while I was too late to get one pre-ordered on Amazon here in the UK, I managed to get one from the Play Store. Still, when I pre-ordered my £319 Android tablet, Google proceeded to charge me £9.99 for standard delivery. Apple wouldn’t charge me delivery. Microsoft wouldn’t charge me shipping. Of course, Google is still selling these devices at almost rock bottom (considering their internals and build) but I don’t expect to be charged shipping when I just spent over £300 with you. Speaking of Amazon, here in the UK, it looks like people might not receive their pre-orders until December, which is just all kinds of incredible.
The Nexus 6 was on sale for what, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes before it ‘sold out’? Nobody really knows, because the Play Store crashed and displayed all sorts of insanity with people still being able to buy, some not able to buy at all and so on and so forth. I probably sound like some sort of impatient fanboy salivating for his latest piece of tech, and that’s fine, you think what you want. The fact is that this isn’t the first time Google has sold devices that are undeniably popular, and it’s about time Google got good at it. Nobody knew exactly what time they were going on sale (leading to broke F5 keys everywhere) and Google could have at least warned people that they didn’t have much stock (which is understandable and reasonable) but instead just left people to it. It’s this sort of careless attitude that people get fed up with. It’s expected that there’s not going to many of them in stock, but would it have really hurt for Google to give people a time and a little heads-up? No, I doubt it would have done.