A few things came together to really inspire this phone to come into being. Let’s start with the size. Fans like myself were hitting Google up for a nexus version of the Note. Larger phones were becoming a thing, and it was about time we saw a larger nexus. We were also 5 years removed from the Motorola Droid, the phone that can (arguably) be credited with kicking the hype toward android, so much so that for awhile some people referred to all android phones as Droid phones (or Droids). So fans were wanting to see Motorola and Google come together to make some magic. Especially since Google and Motorola shared the same building. The other ingredient was the popularity of the Motorola X. The look of the phone (Motorola X), especially with the ability to customize it, really appealed to fans. Combine all those ingredients together, and Shamu was born.
October 2014 Google and Motorola not only released a Motorola Nexus, but it would be the first nexus phone able to be purchased through all major US carriers. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile would allow fans to pick up a nexus 6 at the store under contract. And this should have equated to a sea of excitement, except their were a few hiccups.
First, some carriers interfered with the hardware and software. Example; AT&T locked the sim, disabled tethering, and loaded it with AT&T’s ring tones. Carriers also branded their Nexus 6 with branding on the back plate (ie the AT&T globe being on the rear under the “nexus” logo).
The other set back was for those wanting to buy an unlocked model through Google. Either Google was unprepared to handle the demand, or they intentionally limited their online orders to encourage customers to buy phones through the carrier, but Google kept running out of stock to fulfill online orders. This led to customers having to deal with waiting weeks, even months, to get their online orders placed. Causing customers to buy their phone through the carrier. And once they took the phones home they would both Sim and software unlock their devices.
Other known issues with the phone were a small number of early devices had the back plate fall off, a result of the glue de-bonding. Lastly, some customers experienced issues with the letters “nexus” peeling off the back. I personally had that happen to my nexus 6.
The hardware on this phone had a 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 Quad Core processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 or 64 GB of internal storage, 3220 mAh battery with Motorola’s quick charge feature, dual front-facing speakers, and a large 5.96 inch QHD panel.
This was also the first nexus to have a more premium price tag. Fitting as the specs were competitive with the flagship phones available at the time. But some fans of the nexus program were critical of having to pay premium prices for a nexus. Personally I was okay with paying the price as long as the specs were on par with the leading flagship phones it was competing against.
I loved the Nexus 6. It was what I felt was a solid attempt by Google to truly bring competitive hardware to the nexus line. And honestly, a better attempt than what they are currently doing with their Pixel phones. Don’t get me wrong, the nexus 6 could have been handled much better, especially with releasing the phone. The fact that Google would continue to not be able to handle the early demand for online orders would continue all the way until the Pixel 3 and 3XL. Causing frustrations and leading people to question how they go about handling demand.
With the exception of the phone being a little too wide, critically the Motorola Nexus 6 was a well received phone. Even with the issues of carrier interference, most users were able to quickly get around that. For me, this phone did live up to the hype.