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A visual look at how Google phones evolved from the Nexus to the Pixel 2

05 October 2017 5

Back in 2010, Google announced their first smartphone as Nexus. The Nexus One was under development for years, the device was considered as a smartphone meant for developers instead of masses. The Nexus One sets the path for Google hardware business, it was the first smartphone in the market which was designed by Google for their Android OS.

Last year Google replaced their Nexus-branded smartphones with new Pixel lineup smartphones. The devices were featuring top of the line hardware with premium pricing, on the other hand, the Nexus smartphones key selling features were their upper mid-range hardware with affordable pricing. During the transition from Nexus One to Pixel 2, Google ditched a number of things. For instance, the MicroSD card, removable battery, and 3.5mm headphone jack were once darling features of Google smartphones which faded away during the transition.

Google releases unlocked Nexus lineup smartphones at an affordable price tag so that customers can grab it without carriers. No doubt, the Nexus smartphones were mostly purchased by Google enthusiasts and developers across the globe. The new Pixel lineup not only meant for developers but also the company wants to sell it to masses. Today we will have a look at the complete transition of Google smartphones from Nexus one to the latest Pixel 2

60 x 119 x 11.5 mm
3.7 inches - 800x480 px
63 x 124 x 11 mm
4 inches - 800x480 px
67.94 x 135.5 x 8.94 mm
4.65 inches - 1280x720 px
68.7 x 133.9 x 9.1 mm
4.7 inches - 1280x768 px
69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59 mm
4.95 inches - 1920x1080 px
82.98 x 159.26 x 10 mm
5.9 inches - 2560x1440 px
Go to comparison page
72.6 x 147 x 7.9 mm
5.2 inches - 1920x1080 px
76.2 x 159.25 x 7.3 mm
5.7 inches - 2560x1440 px
75.7 x 154.7 x 8.6 mm
5.5 inches - 2560x1440 px
69.5 x 143.8 x 8.6 mm
5 inches - 1920x1080 px
76.2 x 157.5 x 7.6 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
69.7 x 145.7 x 7.8 mm
5 inches - 1920x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2

Launch: October 2017
Codenames: Walleye and Muskie

Pixel 2 | Pixel XL 2

Google just announced the second iteration of their Pixel lineup devices as Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. The Pixel 2 brings the standard traditional design with thick bezels around the corner whereas the XL variant has the bezel-less display. Both the devices have squeezable frame to access Google Assistant on the go. Unfortunately, the devices don't have 3.5mm headphone jack. The Qualcomm's latest Octa-core Snapdragon 835 SoC is powering the device with 4GB RAM.

The new Pixel 2 lineup devices are not only better looking but also they have more powerful hardware under the hood. The Pixel 2 lineup is IP67 certified devices. The battery life on Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be significantly better than the predecessor. Last but not the least Pixel 2 lineup camera is the best camera available in the market according to Dxomark ratings. The Android Oreo 8.0 is the biggest update of the year, its key features are Quick settings/ new bar to showcase status, the better battery cell and revamped notifications menu.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Launch: October 2016
Codenames: Sailfish and Marlin

Pixel | Pixel XL

Last year Google finally ditched their pocket-friendly Nexus program and introduced premium smartphones under the Pixel branding. The Pixel lineup devices were not only meant for enthusiasts and developers but also the company plans to sell their Pixel and Pixel XL on the larger scale. The devices offer top-notch specs at a premium price tag.

Apart from vanilla version of Android OS, Google confirms Pixel lineup will receive latest updates for at least two years and security patches for the even longer period. The Pixel XL was one of the best phablet device available last year. Google Assistant was introduced with the Pixel devices. The Android Nougat 7.0 was the major update for last year from Google. This OS supports native multi-tasking split screen which was available for Samsung's Galaxy Note owners, JIT compilation and a revamped notification menu.

Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P

Launch: September 2015
Codenames: Bullhead and Angler

Nexus 5X | Nexus 6P

Back in 2015 ahead of Nexus lineup devices release rumors start popping up that Google might kill their Nexus lineup devices because of the miserable failure of Motorola's manufactured Nexus 6. However Google back strongly with two new devices. The new Nexus smartphones for 2015 were Nexus 5X from LG and Nexus 6P from Huawei.

The standard Nexus 5x comes with a 5.2-inches display whereas the phablet variant Nexus 6P comes with a 5.7-inches display. Both the devices have the front facing speakers with fingerprint scanners on the rear side. Both have USB Type-C connector. The Nexus 5X was powered up by Snapdragon 808 SoC under the hood whereas the Nexus 6P has Snapdragon 810 SoC. Both were pretty powerful devices of that time. Google announces Android Marshmallow 6.0 alongside the Nexus 5X and 6P. One of the key features of this update are app permission with individual settings, Doze for better battery life and Google Now.

Nexus 6

Launch: October 2014
Codename: Shamu

Nexus 6

Uptill Nexus 5, Google announced standard devices with display below or around 5-inches but the Nexus 6 was the company's first phablet smartphone which was pretty gigantic. The main aim behind this gigantic device was to provide a different option in the Android ecosystem where most of the devices have displayed around 5-inches.

The Nexus 6 lost the success track but instead, it was the least popular Nexus device. Its sales were way below Google's expectation and one of the reason could be its mammoth display which makes it one of the largest smartphones in the market at that time. It was company's first true premium device with the best hardware. The rear primary snapper was also upgraded to a 13MP sensor. Currently, the device is officially sold for as low as $299. It is indeed one of the cheapest unlocked phablets up for sale in the market. As OS the device has Android Lollipop 5.0. With the Android Lollipop, Google introduced Material Design and completely revamped the UI with new notification menu, native multi-tasking feature was introduced, updated ART, new API for camera and Project Volta were the key aspects of this update.

Nexus 5

Launch October 2013
Codename: Hammerhead

Nexus 5


After the huge success of Nexus 4, Google once again joins hands with LG for the production of Nexus 5. It was the second smartphone of Nexus-branding from Google. LG developed this device with the design queues from their flagship G2. Its display size was increased up to 5-inches. The device was so well built that it remains a fast performing Nexus device even after latest updates. Despite all these glories the device battery drain at a very rapid speed. However, it was the company's first smartphone with wireless charging feature on board.

Another back draw of this device was its camera sensor. Google Nexus smartphones were never known for their camera capabilities but Google tried to improve its camera quality it failed miserably. The primary sensor on the Nexus 5 was 8MP sensor instead of 4MP of the predecessor. However, despite having the better lens, the capturing capabilities of Galaxy and iPhones was much better. The Nexus 5 remains on the success track which Google Nexus branding built with the Nexus 4 device. The Android KitKat 4.4 was the Android OS version introduced with the Nexus 5. After a year delay, Google refreshes the UI of OS with the light color scheme, infra-red blaster API native support, wireless printing, and ART was introduced.

Nexus 4

Launch: November 2012
Codename: Mako

Nexus 4

Without any doubt, the Nexus 4 was the most important smartphone in the entire Nexus lineup which plays an important role in the success of upcoming Nexus-branded smartphones. The device was pre-installed with stock Android OS and also Google confirms timely OS updates for next couple of years. It features top-notch hardware but the best thing is it was sold for the pocket-friendly price tag. Google debuted this unlocked device at a price tag of $299. This was almost half of the price of premium smartphones available in the market.

The Nexus 4 remained a favorite option for Nexus fans as well as developers. It was the first smartphone of Nexus lineup manufactured by LG. The Nexus 4 rear back was glossy which gives it a pretty luring look. It was one of the most beautiful Nexus smartphones from LG and Google. As OS it was pre-installed with Android Jelly Bean 4.2 straight out of the box. The major changes in this version were related to performance boosting, a new widget for lock screen and screen saver.

Galaxy Nexus

Launch: November 2011
Codename: Maguro

Galaxy Nexus

The third Nexus device in the lineup was Galaxy Nexus, it was once again from the South Korean giant. It was indeed one of the biggest upgrade in the Nexus lineup as it features a giant display of 4.65-inches which was considered pretty large at that time. Now in just a few years most of the smartphones available in the market have display panels above 5.5-inches.

The Galaxy Nexus was featuring a new study design, its back cover was removable so that battery can be replaced. Upcoming Nexus devices retain this feature for few years. Like always, it was the first smartphone in the market running on Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0. It has navigation buttons instead of physical buttons. The OS was specially optimized with the new futuristic looks with clean UI, Google removed much of the bloatware introduced with Gingerbread.

As I mentioned above, the Ice Cream Sandwich brought a cleaner UI, Google introduced Holo theme and Roboto font with the Android 4.0. Before Ice cream sandwich there was a navigation button for the menu but Google ditched it with Ice Cream update. Method for screenshot using volume down with power button was the part of this update

Galaxy Nexus S

Launch: December 2010
Codename: Crespo

Galaxy Nexus S

The Nexus S was the company's second Nexus-branded smartphones. The device key selling feature was its support for the MicroSD card. It clearly set a path for other manufacturers but later on, Google ditched the memory expansion via memory card because they slow down the device speed and also the entire Android Ecosystem.

As OS the device was installed with Android Gingerbread 2.3. This version remains in limelight for quite a long period and if you purchase Android device in its early stage, you might have used this OS as well. The Nexus S was built up using plastic with gentle curves on the rear. The device was manufactured by South Korean giant Samsung, it does look ordinary. It also has capacitive buttons like the original Nexus One. Since then Google opted on-screen keys for their smartphones.

With the Android Gingerbread, Google introduced a brand new UI, OS supports the larger display with better screen resolution, the improved method for selection and copy paste, native support for selfie camera.

Nexus One

Launch: January 2010
Codename: Mahi Mahi

Nexus One


The first Google-branded smartphone was announced under Nexus lineup. The first Nexus smartphone was manufactured by HTC, it was announced as Nexus One. You can check out its hardware specs by clicking the aforementioned link which will give you a pretty good view about what kind of hardware original Nexus device was featuring.

Instead of the physical home button, the Nexus One was featuring a trackball. Its design was pretty solid at that time with better display and chipset. It was the first Google smartphone with the vanilla version of Android. The Nexus One was accused of stealing Nexus name. Google announced Android 2.1 Eclair alongside the Nexus One. The key features of OS were SIP protocol, NFC support, and zoom in the feature while viewing on the browser.

(last update 20 February 2018 @ 15:58)

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