The recently unveiled Nexus 6 happens to be Google’s biggest and most expensive Nexus smartphone yet, but Google told CNET that it believes more people will buy the device regardless of its comparatively hefty price tag, and support from carriers will help. Unlike before, five U.S. mobile operators will have the smartphone in stores this year, including the four major players, and that’s also a first for a Nexus smartphone.
Apparently, Google wants to make the Nexus 6 available to more people, especially to those smartphone buyers who are likely to buy a new device with a new two-year contract. For them, the $199 Nexus 6 might seem more affordable than a $349 unlocked Nexus 5, even though they will pay more for it over time.
While carriers have yet to confirm on-contract prices for the Nexus 6, or even announce release dates for it, $199 is the subsidized Nexus 6 price CNET is quoting.
“We are selling the Nexus 6 in a way most people are used to buying it,” Google’s vice president of engineering for Android Hiroshi Lockheimer told the publication.
“Nexus fans understand the pricing model of an unlocked device,” he added. “But outside of that, paying $350 upfront was a foreign concept.”
In an interview with MobileSyrup, a Google exec also said the Nexus 6 is meant to be sold mainly via carriers rather than the Google Play Store. The phablet will compete in stores against the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note 4, which both sell for $300 with a new contract.
The exec also explained that Google decided to go for a “more premium-feeling smartphone” after feedback showed increased interest in such devices.
“It was a deliberate decision to push the boundaries on technology,” Google product manager Sandeep Waraich said. “We first arrived at the solution, then the price.”
Lockheimer further added that the Nexus family of devices is not going away anytime soon, but he declined to comment on the Android Silver line of premium devices which Google was at one point rumored to be developing as a Nexus replacement.
However, the exec did suggest that whatever Google is doing with the Nexus line this year might change next year. “I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from what we’re doing this year,” he said. “Every year we do different things.”