Rumors that Google is planning to kill off its Nexus device program have been circulating recently, but if the company's comments today are any indication, it doesn't look like the program is going away anytime soon. During a conference call for the company's fourth quarter earnings report, Google CFO Patrick Pichette noted numerous times that the Nexus 5 was a "very strong" performer for Google.
Pichette stopped short of saying exactly how many Nexus 5s the company actually sold, but in addition to the Chromecast, which was noted as Google's best selling product all quarter, he said the company was very pleased with its sales. "We had great momentum on the Nexus 5 and Chromecast," noted Pichette. Apps and content sold through the Play Store were also highlighted as strong revenue drivers for the company. Though Google does sell a few Chromebooks through the Play Store, Pichette said most of them are sold through third parties, like Amazon or Best Buy, and Google doesn't see as much revenue from them as it does with Nexus devices.
"We had great momentum on the Nexus 5 and Chromecast."
The Nexus program has traditionally served as a way for Google to provide reference devices with the latest version of its software to developers. Starting with 2012's Nexus 4, Google has also used it as a way to make high-end devices more accessible, by pricing them far below competing phones. The Nexus 5, introduced last quarter, sells for only $349, compared to the $649 an iPhone or Samsung device might command.
Though hardware and Play Store sales still pale in comparison to what Google brings in from advertising sales, they are among the fastest growing sources of revenue for the company. Google's sale of Motorola to Lenovo, which never produced any profit and in fact lost the company $384 million last quarter, have had many questioning if it would remain in the hardware business at all. But based on today's call and earnings report, it seems the program is here to stay.