GOOGLE KNOWS MOST PEOPLE WON'T PAY $649 UP FRONT FOR A SMARTPHONE
There are other factors that make this a better time for Google to work with carriers than in prior years. Like the iPhone 6, the Nexus 6 sold in North America supports all of the major carrier's networks, so Google doesn't have build different models for AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and so forth. That helps cut down on inventory management, eases the delivery of software updates, and generally just makes it easier to produce and sell a smartphone.
The Nexus 6 represents a number of shifts for Google and its Nexus line. It's a return to premium specs and a premium price, and it ushers in a new era of partnerships with American wireless carriers. Google is taking the high-end of the smartphone world — the iPhone 6s and Galaxy Note 4s — head-on in a way that it didn't do with the last two Nexus devices. And to play in that field, you need to play ball with carriers, whether you like it or not.