Late last month, Google announced, and released its first piece of 2013 Nexus hardware in the form of the new Nexus 7 tablet. Of course, we know that the company isn’t done announcing new Nexus products with the company already confirming a new Nexus 10 for arrival and a new Nexus smartphone, dubbed Nexus 5, said to be on the way.
2013 is shaping up a lot like 2012. In 2012, Google took the stage at Google I/O, its annual developer conference, and announced the first Nexus branded tablet, the Nexus 7. The device joined the Galaxy Nexus on shelves and introduced Android owners to the Android Jelly Bean era, an era that continues to this day.
Later in the year, the company announced new Nexus devices that hit the Google Play Stores, devices that included the Nexus 7 HSPA+, the Nexus 10 from Samsung and the Nexus 4, the company’s current Nexus smartphone from LG.
In the months after that mid-November launch, rumors of an Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie update emerged and it looked like the software was destined for Google I/O 2013 alongside the new Nexus 7. Google surprisingly did not announced a new Nexus 7 tablet or a new Android update at the event, instead focusing on other products.
Google’s launch pattern was thrown into disarray, but only for a few weeks. In late July, Google announced both the new Nexus 7 and the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, both of which arrived in late July, the same month that last year’s Nexus 7 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update landed.
At the event, Android head Sundar Pichai confirmed a new Nexus 10 tablet for later this year, setting the stage for another Nexus launch event later this year. And while the Nexus 10 2 may prove to be a very capable device, the star of the show, from a hardware standpoint, is likely to be the next Nexus smartphone, currently dubbed Nexus 5.
Even with the arrival of devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition, HTC One Google Edition and Moto X, and the upcoming iPhone 5S and Galaxy Note 3 launches, the prospects of a new Nexus smartphone are exciting.
Maybe it’s the vanilla software. Or the high-end hardware that always comes on Nexus devices. Or perhaps, it’s the low price that might very well accompany Google’s device. Whatever the case may be, consumers are already looking far ahead to a Nexus 5 launch. And here, we take a look what those prospective buyers need to know right now about Google’s rumored upcoming Nexus.
Still a Big Mystery
As we press on into the summer, one would think that there would be plenty of rumors swirling around in regards to Google’s next Nexus smartphone. After all, it’s very likely in development already and we often see Nexus rumors sprout to the surface very early on.
The last good information about the Nexus 5 emerged all the way back in May with a rumor that suggested that the device was being manufactured by LG, something that the company initially denied. That rumor came after a healthy dosage of Nexus 5 rumors in March that pointed to a whole assortment of different features including a 5-inch display, a ridiculous camera, and a massive battery. We also heard a rumor emerge in July again suggesting that LG would make the phone and that it would arrive in the fall with Android 5.0. Since then, silence. and the Nexus 5 remains a pretty big mystery.
Google and Asus did a pretty good job of keeping the Nexus 7 under wraps until close to its announcement date so it’s plausible that we’re still a month or two away from concrete Nexus 5 information.
This is important for buyers since rumors often set expectations and given that there are only a few rumors out there about the Nexus 5, expectations should remain at a good and healthy level.
Release Date Rumors
Recently, we heard that the LG Nexus 5 would be touching down at some point in October alongside Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Korean publication Daum suggested that LG was developing the Nexus 5 alongside the LG Optimus G2.
While this is not confirmed, the timing of the release does make a whole lot of sense and it’s one that buyers should feel safe buying into.
For one, September is a mess when it comes to smartphone launches. The iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One Max are all rumored to be making their debuts during the month so Google would be wise to avoid it. And with rumors not suggesting a Nexus smartphone launch in August to beat these to the market, it’s looking like Google will wait for the smoke to settle before unleashing its Nexus 4 successor.
Last year’s Nexus 4 was announced in late October and arrived in November and given that we saw the Nexus 7 emerge in July like its predecessor, this rumored time frame is as good as it’s going to be for now.
Know. this. The Nexus 5, if real, is still months away.
Something else that buyers should note is the fact that the report from Daum also suggested that LG was developing the device alongside the LG G2 and that the devices would share at least some specifications. If this is true, and it could be that it is, it would mirror last year’s launch as the Nexus 4 shared the same internals as the LG Optimus G.
With the LG G2 now official, we know what to expect from a Nexus 5 should it come with the same specifications. Here is the breakdown of the LG G2 specifications:
- 5.2-inch 1080p Display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-Core Processor
- 13MP Camera
- 2GB of RAM
Google loves to outfit its Nexus smartphones with the industry standard and 1080p resolution and a quad-core processor fit the bill. It’s possible that we could see the same camera sensor as well.
What buyers should not expect is a similar design. Google’s Nexus devices always have a fairly distinct design and even if the Nexus 5 is based on the LG G2, it should look much different. How different though is unknown.
There is also a rumor out that suggests that Motorola will be making a Nexus smartphone and that it will be heading to shelves in Q4. The rumor comes from the well-sourced Taylor Wimberly and it suggests that there is finally a Motorola Nexus in the pipeline. He claims it’s not the Moto X so it could be something entirely different.
Rumors, for years, have suggested that Google could opt for multiple Nexus smartphones so it’s possible that LG and Motorola will both make a Nexus device this year.
Android 5.0 Likely
One feature that is almost assuredly going to be on board is Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Rumors have insisted, for months, that Android Jelly Bean will be followed by Android Key Lime Pie and just a few days ago, we got the evidence we needed.
In a Chromium bug list, a user cited a Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 running a version of Android with a ‘K’ in the front of the build number. Jelly Bean updates use ‘J’ in front of their build numbers, meaning, the software running on those two devices is likely Key Lime Pie. Whether or not it’s actually going to be called Android 5.0 is unclear.
Furthermore, we know that Google, like Apple, always launches new Nexus hardware with new Android software. So, all signs point to a massive Android update this fall to compete with Apple’s major overhaul of its operating system, iOS 7.
While the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 4 both ditched 4G LTE connectivity, the new Nexus 7 finally got Google back on track as it features LTE support for AT&T, Sprint and yes, Verizon.
This doesn’t necessarily confirm LTE for the upcoming Nexus 5 but given that Sundar Pichai reportedly said “we’ll see” in regards to LTE support for the Nexus 5, the door is wide open.
One of the biggest faults of the Nexus 4 was the fact that it did not have LTE, something that is now standard on Android smartphones and so, Google would be wise to offer it with their Nexus, making it the complete package.
Given Google’s cold relationship with Verizon after the Galaxy Nexus debacle, it’s possible that we may see AT&T and T-Mobile only. But even then, any LTE is a step up from HSPA+.
Maybe the most attractive feature of the Nexus smartphone is its cheap unlocked price. It’s a main reason why the Nexus 4 was so sought after when it launched in November of last year.
For $299, buyers could snag an 8GB Nexus 4 that possessed vanilla Android, fast updates and high-end hardware. And for $50 more, buyers could tack on an extra 8GB of storage. These prices were and are an absolute steal. To put it into perspective, the iPhone 5 16GB unlocked is $650.
With the new Nexus 7, we saw Google up the pricing a bit over the previous models and with the addition of LTE, we could see the Nexus 5 price jump a bit from $299. However, buyers should still expect it to check in for cheap as this is the Nexus smartphones biggest selling point.
Google could have offered the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and HTC One Google Edition for cheap. It didn’t. Instead, they are price at $650 and $599 respectively. There was also an opportunity to sell the Moto X for cheap off-contract but it too is going to be expensive. Instead, the Nexus figures to be at a level of its own as Google continues to keep the Nexus program an attractive one.
Moto X & Nexus 4 Top Alternatives
The Nexus 5 is likely months away from release and there will be those that simply don’t want to wait that long. Fortunately, there are two very viable alternatives to the new Nexus in the forms of the Nexus 4 and the Moto X.
The Nexus 4 is still one of the best Android devices on the market and it just got its bump up to Android 4.3, making it as attractive as ever. It may not have the high-end hardware that the Nexus 5 will have, but it’s still a very capable smartphone.
As for the Moto X, while it isn’t a Nexus, Motorola has said that it will ensure fast updates. It also runs almost stock Android. It has a great camera. It has LTE. It has design customization. It has carrier options.
In other words, it’s a phone that isn’t quite a Nexus but it’s pretty close and it’s a phone that potential Nexus 5 buyers will definitely want to consider if waiting until October or November doesn’t sound appealing.