At this point in time, the question should actually be “Why you should have bought Nexus.” If the popularity of Google’s 4th Nexus device is any indication, expect next year’s device to do even better.
Traditionally, Google’s Nexus devices have been favorites of developers and Android enthusiasts because of their unlocked bootloaders, stock Android experience, and software update priority… oh and the fact they’re unlocked so they will work on any GSM network.
There is one more benefit that typically doesn’t get listed about Nexus devices–one that some would argue is the most important of all: resale value.
If you purchased an 8GB Nexus 4 one month ago when it first came out and sold it today, you would make around $160 in profit. What’s even crazier is that LG/Google’s official bumpers were selling for nearly $100 as recently as December 12th. They retail for $19.99.
Now most of the Nexus 4’s rampant price gouging has been a result of unprecedented demand and LG/Google’s inability to meet said demand, but the elevated value of Nexus devices is not limited to the Nexus 4.
Historically, Nexus devices tend to outperform competing devices with regard to resale value. Starting with the Nexus One, all the way to the Nexus 4, Google backed devices sell for 30%-100% more than the competition.
In the chart above we can see how the Nexus lineup fares against competing devices from the same release period. In Q1/Q2 of 2010 we can see numerous smartphones released on Android 2.1. The Incredible and the Nexus One were both available in 2010 for $529 without contracts, but now the Nexus One is worth almost double the Incredible’s value and nearly triple the OG Droid’s.
In comparison with the Focus and Inspire 4G, released 1 month before and 2 months after the Nexus S (12/16/10) respectively, the Nexus S once again out values the competition by margins of 116% and 30% respectively.
Now we have to admit this isn’t necessarily a fair comparison since the Focus runs the relatively unpopular WP7 OS, and the Inspire 4G launched with Android 2.2. Froyo, so how does the Nexus stack up against the Gingebread powered, unlocked Galaxy S II release 4 months later? At $162 for the Nexus S and $260 for the GS2, not so great, but considering the Nexus’s internals are nearly identical to the relatively ancient Galaxy S, it’s a testament to Google’s update process that the Nexus S is still relevant.
The Galaxy Nexus came equipped with Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, Android’s biggest UI update to date. Suffice to say, everyone was really excited. Google initially launched the device on Verizon and Sprint, but not too long after they began selling the unlocked HSPA+ version in the play store for a cool $399.
Today the G-Nex can be had for about $270, whereas the competing Droid RAZR will only cost you $187. Once again we can see Apple’s dominance in resale value as the year old iPhone 4S still commands an average sale price of $390.
Last but not least, we return to the Nexus 4. It might seem like the Nexus 4 is underperforming in comparison to the iPhone 5 and Droid DNA but keep in mind that those phones can not be had for anywhere close to $299. In fact, the iPhone 5 unlocked will set you back $649–more than double the Nexus 4.
It’s clear that Google’s Nexus devices retain value better than competing Android devices, although not quite as well as Apple devices. Earlier we noted that Nexus devices receive priority when it comes to device updates, and with the increasing ability to improve user experience through software upgrades, it makes sense that Google’s Nexus program devices are more valuable as time goes on.
Finally, if we take a look at each Nexus device’s initial vs current sale price, it’s apparent that the biggest price differences occur in the most recent generations:
Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4
So why should you buy a Nexus device? Because whereas most phones will have a tough time getting one working Android update, yours will be zooming through multiple upgrades under the watchful eye of Google. Whether its NFC capability, software navigation keys, or the sleekest looking Android chassis to date (ahem Nexus 4), your device will have been carefully thought out by the top brass at Google, because this is their ambassador to the discerning consumer. Let’s not forget that you can pick up a Nexus device with no carrier strings attached–hop from T-Mobile to AT&T, or even go international.The icing on the cake? All these great features result in improved longevity and thus, resale value.
Check out the current sales price of the all the Nexus Smartphones: