Someone just asked me minutes ago, "So, is the new Nexus everything you'd hoped for?"
Here was my reply:
No. It's a disappointment to dreamers everywhere. Just as every product release from Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, Microsoft, and every single other tech company since January 9, 2007 — the day Steve so proudly announced the first iPhone. Google should rise above. Over 2 million people around the world apply every year to work there. It is, no doubt, one of the meccas of innovation. Google employs thousands of some of the world's most brilliant, talented, and innovative people that have ever stepped foot on this planet. It's not an exaggeration, either. Yet year-after-year I'm disappointed. Lots of us are. It's because we learn every day what humans are capable of. We hear stories of what our neighbors, friends, and family are able to accomplish. We see them happen. Every human — individually — has the potential to truly change the world. We're more enabled than ever before to rise far above our own boxes, constraints, and statuses. So I would think that the collective synergy of people THIS skilled, THIS intelligent, THIS creative, THIS goofy, THIS balanced could come together and inspire. The trouble is that even Google, for all the superlatives it embodies and the incredible work it's employees accomplish on a daily basis, does things incrementally. This is how our world works. It's how industry works. It's how markets work. It's how economies work. It's how political systems work. It's how we're instructed to get things done. Most of the time it's far more profitable, understandable, and sustainable. Iterations that once required a product to be sent back to the originating factory or that required a replacement be shipped out days, months, or weeks later, now happen thousands of times a second OTA. People no longer visualize one massive improvement because they're witnessing continuous improvement happening all the time, often in the background. Inherently, then, there is less WOW. While today's announcements were cool, I think the idea of WOWING the general public is something Google should revisit. The Nexus isn't supposed to hit home to every sheep and casual smartphone user out there, I get it. It's there to be an example — to serve as a reminder of how Google envisions it's hardware and software working in tandem. It's there to promote the user experience and convey to brands, partners, and the tech savvy the direction it's software is heading. Through this lens, Google succeeded today.
Google could've wow'd us. I wish they would've. Accomplished exec after accomplished exec demonstrated to us on stage Google's vision for the future, change after change. Everything looked and sounded great and improvements were declared across the board. Today's Nexus, Chromecast and Android announcements were subdued, iterative, and positive, but they lacked WOW. They'll be forgotten quickly. The Nexus and Google fanboys out there will blog on and will hype up the next news, the next products, moving on to the next big thing. The general public won't really understand today's announcements. And things are good enough such that Google will pick up some new users while pleasing many of the faithful. Meanwhile, that catchy Apple commercial plays in the background as I write and there's no doubt in my mind that it continues to strike the subconscious idle mind of the people sitting next to me to a much stronger degree than anything announced today. Maybe the smartphone game is overplayed and Google is deploying their intellectual capital elsewhere. Well — to be sure — it is and they are, in fact. It doesn't even matter how progressive or innovative today's news was in reality, because we don't live there anyway. But every day I read about, watch, and listen to people all over the world disrupting the status quo. Google is company of dreamers inspired to be doers — disruption is in the founding DNA. Long story short, this is just another smartphone when it could've been much, much more.