With one Nexus out on shelves right now and another on the way, many consumers are wondering about the prospects of Google’s yearly Nexus smartphone which very clearly isn’t going to be the Samsung Galaxy S4. Rumors over the past few months have pointed to a new Nexus 5 coming later this year to replace the Nexus 4, and here, we take a look at the most important things consumers should know about this mysterious device.
In November of last year, Google took the curtain down from around its yearly Nexus smartphone, dubbed Nexus 4, which replaced the Samsung Galaxy Nexus as the company’s go-to developer smartphone. The Nexus 4, at first, didn’t seem destined for stardom. However, on release day, it became clear that the Nexus 4, despite not having 4G LTE data speeds, was a device that consumers were clearly lusting after.
The device went through months of stock shortages before LG and Google finally got a grip on the situation. Since February, the device has been readily available on Google Play Stores around the globe and the Nexus 4 remains a solid option for those looking for a new smartphone. Of course, there were whispers of new Nexus 4′s and a new Nexus or two at Google I/O, something that likely unsettled current and potential Nexus 4 owners.
As it turns out, Google did announce a new Nexus, though it wasn’t the full-blown Nexus 4 replacement that many had been hoping for. Instead, the device is the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition, or Galaxy S4 Nexus, and it will be joining the Nexus 4 on shelves in late June. Unlike the Nexus 4 though, it comes with a steep price tag of $650.
It’s a device worth considering, to be sure, but it also has likely caused many consumers to keep another device in focus.
That device of course is the rumored Nexus 5, a device that may be coming to shelves later this year to replace the Nexus 4. Details are still scarce as it’s still very early in the game, but there are still bits and pieces that have emerged. And while still not in focus, there is still quite a bit to know about the rumored Nexus 5, the possible Nexus 4 successor.
May Not Be Called Nexus 5
The first thing that consumers should know about the Nexus 5 is that it may not be called the Nexus 5. Yes, the names of Google’s Nexus products from 2012 fell in line with a naming scheme and it’s possible that we could see the company do the same thing this year with a release of a Nexus 7 2, Nexus 11 and the Nexus 5.
However, as we’ve also seen, Google is anything but conventional, particularly with names. The first Nexus was the Nexus One, the second the Nexus S and the third, the Galaxy Nexus. Even if the tablets keep the name, there is no guarantee that the new Nexus will be called the Nexus 5. So it’s time to throw that out the window.
It’s likely, but it’s also possible that we could wind up seeing a Nexus phone with a Droid, Optimus or Galaxy name in it as well. Something to keep in mind as the release date approaches.
Don’t Expect Release Until the Holiday
Speaking of a release date. consumers should know that the release of the Nexus 5, or whatever Google winds up calling it, is likely many months away. The Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4 both launched in the winter and despite other phones coming to shelves, the Nexus 4 is still one of the top options on the market. Both are signs of a Nexus launch in the distance, not on the horizon.
The past two have arrived in November and December and it’s possible that we could see the Nexus 5 emerge around that time. In the meantime, Google has released a buffer in the Galaxy S4 Nexus that should pair with the Nexus 4 nicely over the course of the year.
LG Nexus 5 Rumored, But Anything Is Possible
So far, rumors have pointed to LG being the manufacturer of the Nexus 5 and frankly, that’s not surprising. LG has been one of the big surprises of the last year, first with the LG Optimus G which boasted a sleek design, solid battery life and more, and then with the Nexus 4 which, despite having a vulnerable plastic back, was a well-made smartphone.
Rumors suggest that LG will be coming out with a new LG Optimus G, possibly the LG Optimus G2, and perhaps it will be the inspiration for the Nexus 5. Though, perhaps not.
There is no guarantee that LG will be the maker of the new Nexus 5. A company like Huawei, which is still looking to make a splash in the United States, could be a company that Google partners with. For the record, Huawei makes some pretty cheap, impressive phones. The Nexus is known for having quality specs at a solid price.
HTC and Samsung are also possibilities and let’s not forget Motorola, a company that Google bought in 2012. A Motorola Nexus remains a distinct possibility.
At this point, putting all of the Nexus eggs into one basket is a bad idea. LG is certainly the front-runner but Google could easily just head in a different direction.
The Nexus 5 is still in the shadows, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t already know some of its specifications. First, it’s a Nexus phone, and that means that it will have Nexus capabilities including an unlocked bootloader for customization, vanilla Android software be it Android 4.3 or Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, and quick software updates directly from Google.
As we’ve seen in the past, the Nexus series always uses many of the year’s big name features. This year, it’s 1080p displays, solid cameras and powerful quad-core processors that are on board the big name devices.
We’ve heard Google talk about improving the cameras on future Nexus phones already and we expect nothing less than a top of the line processor, like the Snapdragon 800, and a 1080p display to be on board.
Google has made it clear that it hates microSD card slots and none of the Nexus devices on the market have one. The Nexus 5 isn’t likely to have one either.
And now that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is coming out, with LTE capabilities for AT&T and T-Mobile in tow, we expect the new Nexus 5 to have 4G LTE data speeds as well, shoring up one of the glaring issues with the Nexus 4.
The design of Google’s yearly Nexus smartphone has changed from Nexus to Nexus so there is no easy way to predict what the Nexus 5 is going to have on board. However, it’s safe to assume that the Nexus 5 will look drastically different than the Nexus 4.
Whether that’s different build materials, a slimmer design, a more lightweight design, or all of the above isn’t clear, but no matter the manufacturer, no matter the release date, a design change is more than likely going to happen.
So those hoping for a 5-inch Nexus 5 with a Nexus 4 design should start tempering those expectations.