I don't understand the thinking
I thought the point of the Nexus devices was A) to showcase the latest version of Android in vanilla format and B) to do so with good enough hardware and so keep the costs low?
By switching tack and using the very latest processor, screen tech, GPU etc they have pushed the price up to (as someone above mentions) laptop levels but, even more bizarrely, they are now competing with other Android manufacturers flagship phones.
Now, this might sound a bit "conspiracy theory" but is this deliberate? We all know that, Apple aside, nobody seems to be making money at the top end any more. Also, there is very little money to be made at the bottom end of the market where the Chinese landfill devices dominate. This leaves the bigger names battling it out in the mid-range - EXACTLY where the Nexus devices have sat. Reviewer after reviewer has said for years now that if you want a mid-range device you can't go wrong with a Nexus.
So, has Google moved the Nexus into the upper echelons at the request of the bigger manufacturers to clear space for them to fight it out in the middle.