This isn't the first time Google has launched an expensive phone

The Nexus is dead. Long live the Pixel. Google on Tuesday announced a new pair of flagship phones, the 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL, and proclaimed that, this time, for real, it’s serious about selling smartphone hardware. To that end, it positioned the new devices as high-end phones with appropriately high-end prices: $649 and $769, respectively.

As this chart from Statista shows, though, this isn’t the first time Google has dabbled with premium hardware. While it’s true that most Nexus phones were pitched as affordable and “good enough,” 2014’s Nexus 6 and 2011’s Galaxy Nexus (initially, at least) started at the same $649 price tag as the standard Pixel. Perhaps not coincidentally, both of those were sold through Verizon as well.

Yes, the Pixel is not the Nexus. The software is more customised, and Google has reportedly been more hands-on in the development process. But it still isn’t making the phones (HTC is), and the benefits of owning them (fast updates) will be similar to before. Really, the biggest difference here seems to be marketing — Google has gone all out to make these look like its own smartphones. Time will tell if that’s enough to help Pixel succeed where Nexus faltered.

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