Android G1 or their forcing concessions on Verizon regarding their 4G spectrum - they have been pushing the industry in new directions. Back in 2013, T-Mobile didn't need to convince the Google Nexus fans that moving to a no-contract world was better because we were already there. Why lease a phone for $200 and pay it off $100 a month in a two year prison sentence when you could own a Nexus 4 for $200 and pay $30 a month with no shackles? Google made the math so easy that even simple arithmetic was unnecessary.
But the days of buying a high end phone for one third the price was 2013. Fast forward to today with the announcement of the next generation of Google Nexus hardware. It's big. It's beautiful. And it's just as expensive as that big and beautiful competition. All hail the $400 Nexus 9 while ignoring the Kindle Fire 9" for $379. The Nexus 6 marches in at $650 when a (arguably) better Samsung Note 4 can be had for $50 more.
In the famous words of Beavis and Butthead, "you gotta have stuff that sucks to have stuff that's cool", and Google decided to give us super cool hardware with a standard suck price. But ignore the cost for a moment. How is Google improving the industry for all of us with these devices? New Guido-sized "me too" options in our already crowded phone and tablet landscape. Wasn't that Samsung's gig?
I never subscribed to the "do no evil" philosophy in Mountain View. Every company has their nasty side and perhaps Google's villainy is worse because they think their lack of baddies skit don't stink. But at least we could see how they were making things better in the hardware landscape by helping the people afford the best. If it were not for Google's Android landscape we would all be using 3.5" iPhone's that cannot copy and paste. Competition! Progress!
Someone will come along and fill that low cost and high quality smart phone without a contract niche that Nexus has decided to exit. Maybe Microsoft. Maybe BlackBerry. Heck, are you paying attention, Bezos? Maybe there is even an opening for your freaky Fire Phone after all.