7 Features the Nexus Smartphone Needs to Compete with the iPhone 5

Apple’s soon to be released iPhone 5 is going to be faced with some heavy opposition not only from Windows Phone 8 but from its chief rival, Android. However, now that the iPhone is equipped with 4G LTE data speeds and a large 4-inch screen, the opposition really has their work cut out for them.

In the weeks ahead, Android manufacturers will launch a number of devices including the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Motorola Droid RAZR HD.  Another device that has yet to be announced is Google’s year Nexus smartphone, which will likely go head to head with Apple’s iPhone 5 sometime later this year.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2, LG Optimus Nexus, Sony Xperia Nexus Rumored.

Thus far, little is known about the next Nexus smartphone, or if rumors pan out, Nexus smartphones. Right now, it looks as though Google may launch several Nexus smartphones in an attempt to steal customers away from Windows Phone 8 and the iPhone 5.

And while we don’t know many specifics, there are several features that the next Nexus device or devices must have if they want to truly make a dent in iPhone 5 sales.


Multiple Launch Carriers

It’s clear that smartphone customers like having choice. Choice of software, choice of hardware, and yes, choice of carrier. With the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Google did not offer that at launch. Instead, those who wanted to get the new Nexus were required to sign a new contract or upgrade with Verizon.

Sure, the Sprint Galaxy Nexus launched later in 2012, but by then, it was an afterthought. This time around, with the new 2012 Nexus, Google should think about giving customers some options at launch.

Let them choose between AT&T or Sprint or T-Mobile or Verizon. Limiting the Nexus to one carrier, and specifically a carrier that hasn’t been user friendly (see slow updates, locked bootloaders) isn’t a great way to drum up sales.


Google should launch the new Nexus on multiple carriers.

There is another way to give users choice and that’s by not launching the next Nexus on any specific carrier. Instead, Google could launch the next Nexus unlocked which would allow them to run on the GSM networks of AT&T or T-Mobile.

Better yet, Google could charge a flat $300 or less for the new Nexus. I know of plenty of people that bought the Galaxy Nexus unlocked for $300+ and were extremely happy to do so. For that price, they get a solid smartphone that is void of any carrier restrictions and they are updated with the new software from the get-go.

In the case of the unlocked HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus, that’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.


Return to Its Roots

Speaking of that, Google and/or whatever carriers the Nexus launches on need to return it to its Nexus roots. The Galaxy Nexus and it’s extremely slow update times have, in my opinion, tarnished the Nexus’ name, maybe for good.

It should not have taken Verizon five months to roll out a bug fix update for the Galaxy Nexus. And it should not have taken this long for Sprint and Verizon to roll out the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean updates.

Updates need to be quicker with the new Nexus and hopefully that’s a promise Google makes when it announces the device or devices later this year.

Departure from Plastic

Ever since the Galaxy Nexus launched with its plastic design, I have been hoping for Google and the Nexus manufacturer or manufacturers to step up their game with the design of the Galaxy Nexus.

In my opinion, the Galaxy Nexus does not feel like a $300 phone. It’s nice, but it’s not as nice as the design of the iPhone 4S and it’s likely not as nice as the iPhone 5 which employs both aluminum and glass.

The Nexus is a yearly release that doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. Make it worth the wait and the price.

Killer Battery

One of the things I absolutely hated about the Galaxy Nexus was its poor battery life. It improved with the bug fix update it received after five months but it’s still not as good as I would have liked.

With the iPhone 5, Apple promises great battery life, even with the device’s new 4G LTE speeds. In fact, Apple says that it can pull down eight hours of browsing over 4G LTE, same as the Droid RAZR MAXX HD which Motorola says has best in class battery life.

Google and the Nexus need to up the ante. Battery life, design and software are three key components for consumers and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean combined with a classy design and the best battery life in any smartphone yet sounds like a recipe for success to me.

This will be the second go-round for a 4G LTE Nexus and this time, Google needs to get it right. Throw in a massive battery, customers will be thankful.

Flawless Software

And last but not least, the software on board the new Nexus, presumably Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, needs to be absolutely flawless. We’re talking very few bugs if any.

For five months, I dealt with pesky Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich bugs on my Galaxy Nexus. They completely ruined the initial experience for me and quite frankly, it ruined any chance of it becoming my daily driver.

Many of the Android devices I’ve reviewed ship with bugs. It’s not uncommon. But this is a Nexus device and it should be as close to perfect as possible.

What do you think the new Nexus(s) need (or don’t need) to compete with the iPhone 5?