Soon, the Nexus 4 will be joined by two more Nexus smartphones in the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Edition models that land later on this month. However, there are those that are likely more interested in a true Nexus 4 successor, a device that is currently dubbed Nexus 5. Rumors are scarce, but there are certainly some new things to know about a Nexus 4 successor.
Last year, in late October, Google announced the heavily rumored Nexus 4 from LG to replace the Samsung Galaxy Nexus as the company’s flagship Nexus smartphone. Surprisingly, the device did not sport 4G LTE data speeds like the Galaxy Nexus, something that led many to write off the new Nexus 4. However, the Nexus 4 went on to capture good reviews and quality sales thanks to a cheap price tag and some powerful specifications.
The Nexus 4 followed in the footsteps of the Nexus 7 tablet, the 7-inch slate that Google launched on the Google Play Store earlier in 2012. The Nexus 7 arrived with vanilla Android software paired with high-end hardware and an extremely affordable price tag that made the device one of the top tablet options at the time. Even now, the Nexus 7 is a solid and affordable tablet for those that aren’t enamored with the iPad mini.
Google’s Nexus 4 sported the same. Vanilla Android, high-end hardware including a gorgeous 4.7-inch display and a quad-core processor, and an extremely cheap unlocked price tag. The Nexus 4 started and starts at $299 unlocked, a price that is virtually unheard of in the smartphone world. By comparison, the iPhone 5 16GB is $650 unlocked.
The cheap price tag and those features led to great demand, demand that Google and LG could simply not keep up with. While demand has simmered, the Nexus 4 remains a fantastic smartphone. However, it also has consumers excited about the prospects of another Nexus smartphone.
Google typically releases a new Nexus device every year to usher in its new Android software. Last year it was the Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 followed by the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2.
This year, Google is rumored to be releasing a Nexus 7 2 in July, likely with Android 4.3, with another Nexus, possibly the Nexus 5, thought to possibly be coming later on this year.
While details remain flimsy and scarce, there are some new details to share with those that might be thinking about waiting for a Nexus 5 release later on in 2013.
Nexus 5 Is Likely
Despite the upcoming launches of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus and HTC One Nexus, the Moto X from Motorola and Google and the rumored Sony Xperia Z Nexus, there will more than likely be a new Nexus smartphone out later on this year.
First off, we heard Google’s Sundar Pichai, the new head of Android, confirm that it’s still planning on releasing Nexus-branded smartphones stating that the “goal with Nexus was to push forward hardware with partners” and that despite the launches of other Nexus devices, that the Nexus program will continue.
If that’s not enough confirmation, consider the impact that the Nexus 4 had without 4G LTE. It’s clear that many, many consumers are interested in low-priced, high-end, unlocked phones. Who wouldn’t be? And now, that the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Editions are coming with LTE support in the U.S., it paves the way for a Nexus 5 with LTE.
By adding LTE and a new major operating system, the Nexus 5 has the potential to blow the Nexus 4 out of the water. And given the steep prices of the Galaxy S4 Nexus and HTC One Nexus on the Google Play Store, it’s clear that Google is saving the deep discount for a new Nexus, something else that would contribute to bountiful sales.
While it would be nice to see the Nexus 5 arrive in the summer or even in the early fall, that is unlikely to happen.
First of all, the Nexus 4 remains a top option on Android. Yes, it’s old, but it still young enough that it hasn’t received a major Android update. The Galaxy S4 Nexus and HTC One Nexus, which arrive June 26th, bolster Google’s Nexus lineup heading into a fall competition with the iPhone 5S. Shoring things up is the Moto X which is thought to be a customizable device with a heavy focus on software. It’s supposed to arrive by August.
Simply put, there is no where for the Nexus 5 to launch. Google will want to make sure that there is ample space between launches to keep customers happy by ensuring that these launches don’t have significant overlap.
The Nexus 4 also came out in November and we’ve seen Google stick to a near-year cycle with its Nexus devices. Case in point, the Nexus 7 2 which was rumored for Google I/O in May but has yet to land. It’s rumored for July, the same month that the Nexus 7 arrived last year.
At this point, October and November seem like the prime months. They are out of the way of other Google-backed launches and they are key months in the holiday shopping battleground.
A rumor from VR-Zone suggests that Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will be introduced in late October, something that isn’t likely to be confirmed for quite awhile but makes a whole lot of sense.
Android 4.3 is rumored for July and it’s likely going to be a small update to accompany the Nexus 7 2. That should hold users over while it continues development on Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie which is likely going to be a massive update to the Android operating system.
Information about Android 5.0 is scarce but given the changes that Apple has made to its iOS 7 operating system, an OS that includes several Android-esque features, we could see Google deliver something big with Android 5.0.
The rumor doesn’t suggest any hardware launching alongside the Android 5.0 but if the update is indeed coming in late 2013 as opposed to summer, it’s likely going to be a big update and Google, like Apple, will want to have a hero device launch alongside it.
With no Nexus devices rumored for late in the year, the most likely candidate is a Nexus 5.
LG Nexus 5 Isn’t a Given
The maker of the Nexus 5 has been rumored to be LG, but that isn’t a given at this point. Yes, it had great success with the Nexus 4, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a shoo-in for the new Nexus.
Early rumors suggested LG was developing a new Nexus 5 with Google but recently, the company was quoted as saying that it wasn’t working on the new Nexus but that it was open to the idea. Soon after, an LG Nexus 5 was again rumored to be in development. At this point, it’s not clear as to what, exactly, is going on, but even with the rumors, an LG Nexus 5 isn’t a given.
On paper, it seems likely. Samsung and HTC will offer their own Nexus devices in June. Sony is rumored to be offering its own in July and Motorola’s Moto X could be the company’s version of a Nexus. That leaves LG as the odd company out.
All signs point to LG it remains possible that another manufacturer will step in and produce the new Nexus. Nothing is certain and those thinking about a new Nexus should keep that in mind.
Rumors Scarce, But Nexus Features Are Predictable
As for the device itself, rumors remain scarce. For those who like surprises, this is a good thing. For those that don’t, it’s likely frustrating. Even without leaked specs, it’s easy to predict what a new Nexus smartphone will have on board.
In order to keep the device cheap, it will likely have some type of plastic material for its design. Samsung proved that plastic phones could be nice with the material that it used with the Galaxy S4 so perhaps the new Nexus 5 will take design cues from that.
Don’t expect the device to have a microSD card slot, since Google-developed Nexus devices don’t, but do expect a host of high-end features including a beautiful display, solid camera (the Nexus 4′s was good) and a speedy processor that can make run Android 5.0 extremely smooth.