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The Next Nexus Phone Looks Like a Mini Tablet on Ice Cream Sandwich

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The next-generation Nexus smartphone from Google, the version to succeed the current Nexus S from Samsung (and Sprint’s Nexus S 4G variant), may be running the next version of Android known as Ice Cream Sandwich and will debut sans buttons, capacitive touch or physical.

According to Techhog, Google is requesting proposals from both HTC and LG for the next-generation Nexus smartphone, which would be the third-generation model. HTC had created the first generation Nexus One smartphone, and Samsung had followed with a Nexus S. The leaked image shows a device made by HTC–the earpiece speaker and overall design looks like something that would come from HTC as it bears a certain resemblance to the HTC Thunderbolt, the HTC Inspire 4G, and the HTC Sensation.

Without buttons on the device, the potential is huge. Not only would it be possible to use the device in any orientation and rotate the device in all four directions, but also the potential for the display to be larger without increasing the overall height and width of the phone is there as well. Without buttons occupying room on the front fascia, the next generation of Android devices could push screen sizes of 4.5 inches, like the current Samsung Infuse 4G, but maintain the overall dimension of a 4- or 4.3-inch smartphone od today.

Ice Cream Sandwich, as the next version of Android, will merge the Android Gingerbread–currently for smartphone–build of the mobile operating system along with Android Honeycomb–made specifically for tablets. As such, like Honeycomb, the smartphone edition of Android will not need Android navigation buttons–up until Android Gingerbread, smartphones currently have either 3 or 4 Android navigation buttons and many devices, like those from HTC, come with capacitive touch buttons while some like the Droid Charge or Motorola Droid X2 debut with hardware buttons.

The benefit to going button-free, according to Google when the Motorola Xoom was released to debut Android 3.0 Honeycomb, is that it would make it easy for users to use their devices in whatever orientation they want, whether it be portrait or landscape, and still have the navigation button options conveniently located in the proper place.

On Honeycomb, rather than taking the portion of the front fascia just below the screen for buttons, navigation buttons are built into the operating system as soft buttons and part of the touchscreen experience. On the screen itself is a bottom bar for a number of buttons on the bottom left corner, similar to the Start menu on a Windows machine. On the right lower corner opposite those buttons are the time, notifications, and settings options. The top right corner, usually, is where the search button has migrated to.

While the positive side to this is that the device can be used in any orientation and the buttons will always be in the right place, the downside is that the search button is now a far reach away. Users would really have to move their hand–and arm–to access the search button.

It’s unclear at this time if Google will continue to maintain the user experience that Honeycomb has, or if there will be tweaks when Honeycomb is merged onto the smartphone when Ice Cream Sandwich is released.

Does the Nexus 3–or whatever it will be called–excite you? It definitely looks like a mini tablet!

Via: The Droid Guy

Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.

15 Comments

  1. Greatbape

    05/28/2011 at 7:26 am

    Fake. Highlight the photo and zoom all the way in. You can clearly see the lines around the thumb.

    • Barny Fife

      05/28/2011 at 10:38 am

      ^ NERD!!!

  2. GiqueGuy

    05/28/2011 at 2:48 pm

    If the specs on this can keep up with the specs on the Samsung Galaxy 2S (and similar super-phones) then I would LOVE to have a 4.5″ screen device sporting STOCK ANDROID.  

  3. GiqueGuy

    05/28/2011 at 2:48 pm

    If the specs on this can keep up with the specs on the Samsung Galaxy 2S (and similar super-phones) then I would LOVE to have a 4.5″ screen device sporting STOCK ANDROID.  

  4. DNel

    05/28/2011 at 5:04 pm

    …While the positive side to this is that the device can be used in any
    orientation and the buttons will always be in the right place, the
    downside is that the search button is now a far reach away. Users would
    really have to move their hand-and arm-to access the search button…

    On a smartphone any distance is not nearly as far as on a tablet and any reach is small. In fact, it would always be close to your left thumb instead of having to reach miles to hit a dedicated button which has moved to the right so very far away when in landscape (sarcasm intended)

  5. chuck428

    05/28/2011 at 11:47 pm

    I like my back button. Its why I hate the iPhone. Please don’t take it away. I’m sorry but I hate where this is going.

  6. Ameer the Tablet freak

    05/29/2011 at 6:18 am

    Ice Cream Sandwich is coming in the last Quarter this year right?

  7. Tina

    05/29/2011 at 10:39 am

    My vote for my next phone. Will this phablet be able to run wifi only or unlocked and access skype to make phone calls?  I am carrying 4g/3g mifi where ever I go.

  8. Aggarwal Rahul

    05/30/2011 at 4:40 am

    Google nexus now being talked
    about after the alleged leak about its features is now being discussed about
    the absence of physical buttons. Also, the prototype seeming to be a crossover
    of the smartphone and tablet, Google’s nexus being a first device to run the much
    awaited ICS is creating ripples in the mobile industry. The claim of HTC being
    the prospective manufacturer also seems likely as the leaked photo of the
    devices bears a strong resemblance to the Desire HD
     

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