How To Wreck a Nexus

Wrecked Nexus

Short answer: use it on AT&T.

A pair of posts on Android Police have this Nexus fanboy somewhat perplexed over what an American carrier is doing to his favourite smartphone brand. I know, I promised not to write about the Nexus 6 until I actually held one in my hands. But at this point I’m not even sure we can call this thing a Nexus anymore.

I’ve already voiced my many concerns about this latest Nexus; one of them is price. It seems the only way to avoid sticker shock is to buy one on a subsidy from your carrier. And if your carrier happens to be AT&T, you’re in for a bad time.

I’ll cite the relevant sources at the end of this post. For now, here’s how to wreck a Nexus in four easy steps:

4. Add an AT&T logo to the back.

I thought this was more a Verizon thing..? Anyway, it’s not a huge deal. You can easily address it by adding a case—which you’d probably want to get for your $700 USD phone anyway. But it is a rather ominous sign of further meddling within.

3. Add AT&T ringtones.

Seriously? Again, this alone isn’t a deal-breaker. But it is technically carrier bloatware, something I’ve certainly never seen on a Nexus before.

2. Only allow tethering with an applicable AT&T plan.

Yeah, so apparently AT&T customers need their carrier’s blessing to tether their phone to a laptop or tablet. Worse than that, if you try to share your AT&T data connection the Nexus 6 has been programmed to verify that your account does indeed allow tethering. And worse than that, this happens with any AT&T SIM—it doesn’t matter if your Nexus 6 was bought unlocked or not.

Wait a minute, aren’t all Nexus phones unlocked? Not anymore…

1. Lock it to AT&T.

Well, this sucks. Apparently the AT&T-branded Nexus 6 is SIM-locked to AT&T. This may seem logical given everything else described above, but being sold factory unlocked has been a defining feature of the Nexus line since the beginning—here in Canada, anyway. In 2011 I marvelled at how, without any fanfare, the Nexus S was sold factory unlocked from every Canadian carrier. Cut to 2014 and this AT&T Nexus 6 doesn’t seem like a Nexus at all.

And if you believe what the Android Police Podcast said about its development, it makes perfect sense.