Google has just launched its much awaited Nexus 6 smartphone and to everyone's surprise, it isn't as affordable as last year's Nexus 5 or the older Nexus 4. Here are a few reasons as to why Google decided to hike the price this time around.

Top-End Specs

Unlike last year's Nexus 5, there aren't any compromises on the Nexus 6. The Nexus 5 was based off the LG G2 and lacked a high-end camera and sizeable battery seen on the former. Owing to this, it didn't offer the best imaging experience and battery life.

However, in contrast, the Nexus 6 packs a sizeable 3220 mAh battery, a 13 megapixel camera with OIS and dual-flash and top-end processing components thanks to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805. There's also a gorgeous QHD AMOLED display that churns out a whopping 493 ppi pixel density.

Competing Devices on Google Play

Google's Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 aren't the only smartphones that the company sells on its online platform. Google Play Devices have also been an important offering and given that the Nexus 5 would cost only about half their price, most consumers picked up a Nexus device, leaving the Google Play smartphones looking like expensive alternatives.

The Nexus Line Wasn't Always About Affordable Smartphones

Google's Nexus smartphones before the Nexus 4 were actually expensive options. For instance, the Nexus S cost $529 and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus retailed at $649.

However, in 2012, Google changed its pricing scheme for the Nexus line with the Nexus 4, offering it at just $299 for the 8GB model and $349 for the 16GB model. This was followed by another affordable offering, the Nexus 5, which started as low as $349.

The Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 were priced low to introduce people to a high quality Android experience at a somewhat affordable price point and it worked. Now that the Nexus brand has its popularity cemented, Google no longer has to play the 'affordable game' and can move on without offering hardware concessions.

Android One Smartphones

Given that Google has made for a solid push for budget Android devices through the Android One programme, it no longer makes sense for the company to serve the Nexus line-up as an affordable offering. Also, since there are excellent mid-range smartphones like Moto G on offer, Google's work in the budget and mid-range Android segments are close to complete.

Taking on Apple

Given that Apple has cemented its place as a market leader in the high-end smartphone segment, Google's resources for the Nexus line-up will be better spent on making Android more appealing there.

One of the strongest advantages of the Nexus line-up is that Google can replicate Apple's model of creating both the software and hardware of a smartphone to offer a smoother and more refined experience as seen in Apple's iPhones.