The Next Nexus: What It Needs to Stay Ahead of the Pack

Late last year, Google and Samsung released the third rendition of the Nexus smartphone. The first of course was the HTC-made Nexus One which arrived in 2010 to great fan fare. Then, in late part of 2010, the Samsung-made Nexus S launched which eventually became available  in two variants, the regular Nexus S and the Nexus S 4G for Sprint’s WiMax network.

The, third, the Galaxy Nexus, is arguably the best of the three and we argued, in our review of Verizon’s 4G LTE Galaxy Nexus, that it’s the best  Android phone ever made.

I even bought one after months of debate. Still, there is room for improvement and I have come up with a few things that I would love to see happen when the next Nexus is released a year or so from now.

Nexus

Set The Battery Life Standard

One of the biggest grips I have with the Galaxy Nexus is that it has poor battery life. I know quite a few of you are having a rough go of things as well. On a good day, with the extended battery attached, I get somewhere around 15 hours of battery life. As I’ve argued, I feel like that’s unacceptable with all of the money I’ve plopped down for this thing.

And keep this in mind. I am an average smartphone user. I am not a power user. I just do normal things on my phone. I make the occasional phone call, text, play music and check out sports scores. I also, once in awhile, stream something from Netflix or play a game.

Galaxy Nexus

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The fact that this is coming from a Nexus device drives me up a wall. This is supposed to be the iconic Android device, the one that competes with the iPhone. The King of Androids. I get that it’s the first 4G LTE Nexus. I get that it’s the first dual-core Nexus. I get that it’s the first Nexus with an HD screen. All of these things suck up battery.

But I would trade a couple of millimeters in thinness for a bigger battery any day. Just look at what Motorola was able to do with the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX.

Hopefully Google and the next Nexus manufacturer realize that many people would be willing to do the same and design the next Nexus in a way that allows it to set the battery life standard for Android phones.

Heck, maybe even for all phones.

The iPhone 5 might have something to say about that though.

Galaxy NexusLess Plastic, Please

Overall, I like the Galaxy Nexus’ design but I really could do without all of the plastic. It just makes it feel, well, cheap. And again, I don’t think Android’s most recognizable device should feel cheap.

Why not use something like aluminum on the next Nexus, something that I loved on the older iPhones. It feels great in the hand, it looks good, and best of all, it seems to belong on an expensive phone.

I dislike the glass on the iPhone 4S but at least it feels like you’re getting what you paid for.

A Better Hotspot

At CES 2012, we used the mobile hotspot feature on our phones quite a bit. And oddly enough, the HTC ThunderBolt, a phone from back in March of 2011, has a hotspot that absolutely blows the hotspot on the Galaxy Nexus out of the water. Far less drops and often times, better connectivity. I should also point out that it’s a pain to access on the Galaxy Nexus.

On the next Nexus, make it more accessible and make it better.

I shouldn’t be paying extra money for a service that works as advertised 75-80% of the time.

More Carriers at Launch

Right now, the Galaxy Nexus is available on Verizon’s 4G LTE network and Verizon’s 4G LTE network only. However, we now know that it will be launching on Sprint at some point during the middle of 2012 when the carrier launches its next-generation network in a few cities here in the U.S.

That launch will likely take place six months after the launch on Verizon which means that the phone will be six months old, an eternity as far as smartphone lives are concerned.

Just think, six months off into the distance, the next Nexus will be hitting shelves.

It’s a circus.

Well, Google can avoid it by launching the Nexus on several different carriers this go-round. Why not do what the iPhone did? Have a Nexus for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

By the end of 2012, when the new Nexus arrives, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will be competing in the 4G LTE realm and releasing a Nexus on all three would be good for both business and customers alike.

One More Thing…

Motorola

I would absolutely love to see Motorola given the opportunity to make a Nexus device. HTC and Samsung have done stellar work but I think Google should allow Motorola a stab at it.

The company has proven that it can make solid hardware and I would likely be toting a Motorola handset right now if it weren’t for MotoBlur and the locked bootloaders that come with Moto-made phones.

A Droid with an unlocked bootloader and a vanilla version of Android?

A Droid Nexus?

That’s something I could certainly get on board.

As usual, I’d love to hear from you guys.

What would you like to see come with the next Nexus device?

Comments

  1. wongfeihung says

    IPhone is all about form.

    Android is trying to do form and function and is succeeding quickly.

    Battery life I agree should last a day 18+ hours with moderately high use.

    I disagree on the material, the screen is the most impactful I’m making the device feel high quality and Samsung has succeeded there. Great picture and resistant ti scratches and cracks. Plastic frames are more durable than the iphones glass to shock, while too much metal will interfere with signals. A little metal here and there can be nice.

    Will be interested to see if Google favors its new acquisition or wants to avoid looking biased towards Motorola.

    As a Sprint user Im all for more carriers at launch. And so far sprint has not interfered with the nexus like Verizon by removing features (Google wallet) and adding bloat ware.

  2. Gary LaTraille says

    You cannot have it both ways- released on all carriers AND Droid Nexus. The Droidoniker is Verizon only

  3. Anonymous says

    Didn’t the Nexus S and Nexus One already prove the Nexus line won’t be the greatest thing out there? They are a nice phones, but I’ve never been amazed with the Nexus line. It’s meant to show off the next gen OS in it’s purest form. That’s it. I wouldn’t trade my GSII for a Galaxy Nexus.

    I do agree that I would like to see Motorola take a crack at it next. I love what they did with the RAZR MAXX.

    • Adam Truelove says

      You are right.  The Nexus isn’t supposed to be the greatest phone every made, but for us who want a pure Android device with fast, direct support from Google, it ends up being just that.

      • Anonymous says

        I own the Nexus One.  The upgrade process for that was seriously pathetic.  February 23rd. I had to wait through over 2 months of update rumors after the Nexus S was released. (3 months if you count when the upgrade rumors first started) Personally, I can’t get over them not including a microSD slot. Until they correct that, you won’t ever see me with a Nexus phone.

  4. Arthur Brownlee IV says

    The GSM Galaxy Nexus has fantastic battery life. Check out Anandtech’s comparison of the phones in battery life, the CDMA/LTE gets half the lifespan. 

    There is a reason the rest of the world went GSM. 

  5. yeahright says

    Aluminum may be much sturdier than plastic, but the antenna performance of a phone will be much hard to make perform well.  The more conductive material used in the design, especially the larger the pieces of conductive material like casings, the harder it is to design a good performing antenna.  When many phones now have four or five antennas (in the US: one for LTE band, one for cellular band, one for PCS band, one for Wifi/BT, and one for GPS) it can make it hard to physically fit all these antennas in, better yet get them performing up to the blogsphere’s standards.  The physics here is what is the problem.  One only has to look at the iphone 4 antennagate scandal, the ipad plastic section on the back of the device, and the recent Asus Transformer Prime GPS woes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like sturdy devices and don’t like plasticy feel, but I also know, in general, antennas perform better without the presence on conductive materials.  That is, unless those materials are a part of the antenna itself, but if they are a part of the antenna they probably won’t be stylish shapes and you won’t be able to hold on to them.  The human body is a partial conductor and detunes antennas, especially when in direct contact with the antenna (iphone 4 antennagate!!!!!).  Yet another hurdle!

    • Guest says

      Plastic is the correct material for a cell phone that needs to be durable, light, antenna friendly and relatively cheap to manufacture. That said, plastic can be done better than it is currently – see Nokia Lumia.

  6. Anonymous says

    While we wait for the next Nexus the current one is still coming down in price - http://amzn.to/wiGdFp

  7. Adam Truelove says

    Please no Motorola!!!!!  Their phones are solid like a rock, but much like a rock they’re not much to look at.  They have horrible screens and stupid aesthetic features (dumb cut off corners and huge bezels anyone?).  I would only accept Motorola is Google had all the say in the design of the phone (hardware and software) and Motorola just built it to the specs.

    • Adam Truelove says

      And please no Droid Nexus.  The Droid brand needs to die forever!!!  The Droid name has become synonymous with locked bootloaders, Verizon branding splattered all over the phone, and tons of Verizon bloatware.

  8. Jordan Wollmann says

    Samsung should keep the nexus line imo. Their hardware is stellar and definitely needs to have a greater impact on the next nexus. Keep all samsung’s next gen internals and camera lens and we will have one sweet phone rocking jelly bean. Their processors and screens are the best on the market and with a high end camera that their galaxy s line provides the phone could blow everything out of the water. If the galaxy nexus had the same parts as the s2 (i9100) think about how many would have wanted to switch to the nexus instead of the s2. 

    I think that sammy knows this and that is why the tech is often inferior on nexus phones, but in reality since each is released almost half a year apart, the tech in the nexus will still be seen as old and the galaxy s line will most likely be very popular UNTIL the next nexus comes out. So market cannibalization will still have a big effect, but in this way they will have high end phones being released with two different experiences and demographics every six months. This would only help them as long as they release the s3 worldwide… which probably won’t happen. Just a thought though.

  9. Anonymous says

    wow… no mentioning of how the Nexus desperately needs an SD SLOT. With only 16 GBs, I filled it up in 3 days, and now can’t install apps or watch movies. Let alone record in HD. This is a disgrace. Either make it AT LEAST 32 GBs, or have it support SD cards.

  10. J.L. "J7" Gatewood StarrWulfe says

    First and foremost, no matter what manufacturer makes it, the next Nexus needs to be PENTABAND UMTS and at least TRI-BAND LTE.  What the hell is up with all these phones coming out where I end up with carrier envy? Google had a great thing going when they sold the Nexus without having to have a carrier subsidy as well.  Some of us DON’T CARE if our phones cost the FULL $600; we want to use every feature (including tethering, SIM switch-ability, etc) as long as we don’t end up being locked into a ridiculous contract.  Also since I live in Japan, I’d like the ability to have my phone be the same one I swap a SIM into when I go home to the US be it T-Mo, or AT&T (or with LTE, Sprint-VZW)

    Secondly, the phone should have and showcase the latest phone tech available. Including power-sipping components. That Tegra 3 sips less juice than it’s Tegra 2 older brother, but runs faster, and more strongly, thanks to the 5th low power core that takes over upon idling.

    Lastly, make the damn thing LOOK the part by making it classy looking. The iPhone 4, love it or hate it, has the best industrial design right now. You feel like you own a serious beast when you pick one up. The next Nexus needs to evoke that feeling in the next iteration. 

  11. maxxx says

    A Droid NEXUS from Motorola with a quad core prosseser 12MP camrea 1080P full HD Super amoled 4.7 screen and 2G of ram would be a freaking monster of a phone lets hope google makes it happen LONG LIVE THE DRRRROOOOIIIIDDDDDDD!!!!!!

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