New hardware announcements came fast and furious at Google’s big hardware event on Tuesday, with fresh phones, routers, VR headsets, and more each receiving moments in the spotlight. But behind the scenes, a quiet massacre was taking place, as Google eradicated all traces of several older devices from its online hardware store.
Some of the dead links discovered by Android Police come as no surprise. With the release of the Pixel and Pixel XL, the Nexus 5X and 6P flagships were understandably sidelined, albeit with no word whether or not the Nexus line is officially dead. (Fingers crossed that it isn’t—the premium Pixel phones scratch a very different itch than the Nexus lineup.) Google also ditched the Mattel View-Master VR Starter Pack and Goggle Tech C1-Glass VR Viewer, another understandable move now that the company’s focused on Daydream for virtual reality endeavors—though it still lists the stock Google Cardboard viewer in the Google Store alongside the new Daydream View.
More startling is the removal of Nvidia’s Shield Android TV console. Nvidia’s box represented the high-water mark for Android TV devices, oozing premium features (like 4K video support, a robust game marketplace, and PC game-streaming) at a premium price. It was a taste of the future for those willing to pay for it.
In its place you’ll find the new 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, but Chromecast and Android TV fill two very different niches, and Android TV definitely isn’t dead despite the lack of a new Nexus Player at Google’s event. Xiaomi launched the Android TV-based Mi Box this very morning. The Google Store was rebranded with a “Made by Google” banner, but still offers Chromebooks and Android Wear devices from a variety of manufacturers. The Shield TV’s more affordable variants have been out of stock at Amazon for a while now, but the 500GB model still appears to be going strong.
Curious indeed. Is the end nigh for this particular Shield TV? We’ve reached out to Nvidia in hopes of receiving an explanation for the purge.
Don’t despair if any of these gadgets tickle your fancy, however. Most of them can still be purchased at Amazon, and as Android Police points out, Google’s even offering the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P via its Google Fi service—and for a whole lot less than those princely Pixels.