Android has gone through its ups and downs like most operating systems. What separates Android from the rest was its open source nature that allowed it to grow at an exponential rate. This meant a lot things, including manufacturers having the freedom of slapping their own heavily customized skins on top of the operating system.

This was probably one of the major low points for Android, but it also turned out to be a positive because it was the inspiration for the Nexus line. The Nexus line was meant to be the reference device with stock Android that let customers and manufactuers know what an Android device could look like—without those ugly skins like TouchWiz or HTC Sense. This is a reason why the skins nowadays look a lot like stock Android. It taught manufacturers how important a light and agile operating system can be to the user experience.

The first Nexus, dubbed the Nexus One, was made by HTC and had everything from live wallpapers to a trackball. It was a true trailblazer and paved the road for the many successors that were to come.

Google used the Nexus line to team up with other manufacturers to create the hardware while the search giant focused on the software. The list of manufacturers includes HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Huawei. The Nexus phones that were created by these manufacturers were based on other models they had already created—Galaxy Nexus was based on the Galaxy S, Nexus 6 is based on the Moto X and so forth—but with the light software, the experience was much improved.

This was the line that Android fans believed could stand up to Apple’s refined iOS experience, and as it grew and morphed into something more fluid and adaptable, it did. Google’s effort to refine Androids biggest problems, like the lag or fragmentation were tackled through the Nexus phones. And because of the close integration with Google, these issues were resolved over generations for the most part.

All in total, there were eight Nexus phones: Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. LG handled three models and Samsung handled two models of the line. HTC, Motorola, and Huawei each made one model.

The Nexus line ran from 2010 when the original Nexus One launched until last year, with the Nexus 6P and 5X launching concurrently as a premium and affordable tandem. There were great moments (Nexus 4’s sleek glass back and affordable price) and bad moments (Nexus One’s choppy release through Verizon), but by its last version, it’s safe to say the Nexus line was on par, if not better, than the iPhone.

It’s sad to see the Nexus line end, but all good things must come to an end. For now, let’s pour one out for this legendary line and remember it fondly, for it started something special and we are all reaping the benefits now.

Check out the video above to see more about the history of Nexus.

Gallery: Which was your favorite Nexus?