The iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 aren’t going to be the only big name smartphones to arrive in the last part of 2013. No, there is still at least one other big name smartphone left, a device that is currently known as the Nexus 5, a device that will be coming to replace the now discontinued Nexus 4 from LG.
Every year, like clockwork, Google releases a new Nexus smartphone. First, it was the Nexus One from HTC. Next, it was the Samsung Nexus S. Then, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. And last year, consumers were treated to the Nexus 4, a smartphone from LG that was only recently discontinued on the Google Play Store.
While the first Nexus smartphones were aimed at developers and Android enthusiasts, the Nexus 4 had mass appeal. Not only did it combine fantastic hardware with sleek vanilla Android software from Google but it came with a cheap unlocked price tag, far cheaper than the likes of the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.
Instead of a $650 unlocked price tag, the Nexus 4 touched down with $299 and $350 price tags, far cheaper than its rivals, making it an attractive proposition not only to Android enthusiasts and developers, but to consumers around the world tired of signing new contracts. The hardware and software were really just bonuses.
The success of the Nexus 4 is why there are so many eyes watching the new Nexus smartphone from Google, a device whose release is inevitable. At the moment, the new Nexus is being called the Nexus 5, a name that is by no means set in stone. And while its name isn’t yet known, many of its other details are.
All signs point to a Nexus 5 launch date in just a couple of weeks. Here, ahead of it, we take an in-depth look at what to expect from Google’s Nexus 5 launch.
Launch Date in October
Google typically launches its Nexus smartphones late in the year, around the holidays. In 2011, we saw the company announce the Galaxy Nexus in October ahead of November and December release dates. Last year, the company announced the Nexus 4 in late October and released it, alongside the Nexus 10 and Nexus 7 HSPA+ in November.
History says that Google will once again use October to debut the new Nexus smartphone and so do rumors. Every single Nexus 5 rumor that has emerged points to a launch in October. We’ve even heard that October 14th might be the day that Google talks about the new Nexus. Throw in the fact that the Nexus 4 is no longer on sale and that Android 4.4 KitKat is rumored for October and it’s pretty hard to predict anything outside of next month.
October 14th isn’t set in stone but it’s clear that the company is making the final preparations for launch. The Android 4.4 KitKat contest is about to kick off, the Nexus 5 has seemingly passed through the FCC and the Nexus 4 is gone. A new Nexus launch is imminent and now, all we need are media invites to an event somewhere in the U.S.
Google typically takes a more Apple-like approach to its launch events. Google I/O is an exception because its a developer event, but other events like the Nexus 7 launch in July, are far more intimate than a Samsung event.
Samsung loves to be flamboyant. Instead of a straightforward town hall like meeting, we get a symphony, magicians, Broadway actors, and hosts who chat up executives. Google doesn’t take the same approach. Instead, it typically holds its events in smaller settings and like Apple, has its various executives come out and talk about its product in a straightforward way.
This is something that works for Apple and it’s something that will benefit Google, especially if it’s trying to push the new Nexus and Android 4.4 KitKat into the mainstream.
Unlike Apple, Google always offers up a live stream through YouTube giving those who aren’t in attendance a way to follow the events live and in real time. We fully expect the Nexus 5 launch to be televised on YouTube through an official live stream and that should be announced along with the media events that Google sends out.
A New Nexus Smartphone
Obviously, the most important aspect of a Nexus 5 launch would be a new Nexus smartphone and we fully expect Google to debut at least one at a media event in the coming weeks. Rumors all point to an LG Nexus 5 as the most likely to arrive though it’s still possible that we could see multiple Nexus smartphones arrive. Here is what we expect.
An LG Nexus is almost a given at this point. Nexus 5 rumors started heating up shortly after an unknown Nexus smartphone was noticed hiding out inside an Android 4.4 KitKat video. The device did not resemble the Nexus 4 or any other Nexus smartphone though it clearly bore the Nexus signage and was not a tablet. Google removed the video shortly after the discovery.
A few days later, the LG D820 was spotted passing through the FCC looking exactly like the Nexus that was spotted inside the video. A short time after that, the same device was spotted passing through the FCC within an LG G2 filing, all but confirming the device for arrival.
Since then, the device has shown up in the wild multiple times, confirming its existence. Rumors suggest that features will include a large 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 13MP camera, non-removable battery, no microSD card slot, 4G LTE for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile and Android 4.4 KitKat.
There have also been rumors that suggest that there will be a Motorola Nexus smartphone unleashed in Q4. The rumor, started by Taylor Wimberly of Android and Me fame, hasn’t perked up at all since it surfaced but that doesn’t mean much. Google was able to keep the Nexus Q a secret and it was also able to keep the ChromeCast a secret as well.
We’re likely also several weeks from a Nexus smartphone launch which leaves plenty of time for leaks. So it could be that we don’t see the Motorola Nexus, if there is one, until much closer to the event, if at all.
At this point, consumers should expect at least one Nexus smartphone but don’t be surprised if Google has a surprise up its sleeve as Wimberly has been spot on in the past.
Nexus 5 Release Date
Google, like Apple and like other Android manufacturers, caught on to the fact that consumers want to see release dates announced at launch events. More importantly, Google typically announces specific release dates for its Nexus devices and we should see the company deliver a specific Nexus 5 release date at its launch event.
This is going to be important for Google. One, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are already out, selling like hotcakes. Two, Google needs to do everything that it can to please buyers, buyers who had to ensure one of the most painful launches of all time with last year’s Nexus 4. And three, with people preparing to buy gadgets for the holidays, it will want to give people a specific date so that they can better prepare.
As for a specific release date, Google typically gets its Nexus devices out shortly after they are announced, typically, around two weeks. So if October 14th pans out, we could see it land in late October, early November.
Nexus 5 Pricing
Samsung neglected to offer pricing at its Galaxy Note 3 launch event. This will not happen at the Nexus 5 launch. Instead, we expect Google to outline the Nexus 5 pricing, in part, because the pricing will, along with 4G LTE, be one of the Nexus 5’s most attractive features. The Nexus 4 didn’t sell because it had a 720p HD display or an 8MP camera. It helped that it had vanilla Android but that wasn’t the biggest selling point. It was the price.
Google will drive this home at the event and thus far, we are expecting the price to jump a bit thanks to the new display and 4G LTE, with $399 sounding right for a 8GB of 16GB model.
Android 4.4 KitKat Update Details
Consumers should expect the company to outline the Android 4.4 KitKat update that it announced earlier this month. Nexus smartphones always come with new software and the Nexus 5 will almost certainly usher in a new era for Android users.
Details in regard to Android 4.4 KitKat remain scarce, but we have heard a few rumors and seen a few leaked screenshots. Features are said to include updates for older devices, fragmentation changes including screen resizing, Miracast updates, color changes and new notification widgets. Leaked screenshots have also revealed a flatter user interface that could be on par with Apple’s iOS 7.
We’ve already seen a few updates confirmed with the Nexus 7, Nexus 4, and Nexus 10 seeing their updates pop up in the Chrominium Bug Tracker, a sign that updates are on the way. We fully expect these devices to be among the first.
Pantech also confirmed an Android 4.4 KitKat update for owners of its Vega Iron smartphone making it the first company to confirm an Android 4.4 KiKat update.
New Nexus 10
We expect the Nexus 5 to be joined by a new Nexus 10 tablet, one that will replace the current Nexus 10 from Samsung, and battle the upcoming iPad 5 from Apple.
Last year, the Nexus 10 burst onto the scene with an inexpensive price tag and one of the best displays on the market. The device, built by Samsung, valiantly took on the likes of the iPad and Transformer series from Asus.
In July, Google head Sundar Pichai confirmed a new Nexus 10 for later this year though he didn’t say when the company would unleash it. Given that last year’s Nexus 10 arrived with the Nexus 4, it’s safe to say that any new tablet will arrive alongside the Nexus 5.
Rumors suggest that it will be built by Nexus 7 maker Asus though details in regards to its other features remain scarce. We expect it to come with several storage options, a tweaked design, an impressive display and an affordable price tag.