In December of 2011, Google released the third Nexus smartphone in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This year, in an effort to battle the iPhone 5, Google will likely release the fourth Nexus smartphone, dubbed Nexus 4 at this point.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus originally launched on Verizon back in December of 2011 and eventually made its way to Sprint’s 4G LTE network which goes live on July 15th. The device was met with great reviews and the device remains one of the best smartphones available on the market well in to 2012.
And, seeing as though we have reached the half way part of the year and the iPhone 5 rumors are swirling about, it’s time to take a look at what we expect from the fourth version of the Nexus smartphone which may arrive later this year, that is, if Google sticks to its usual game plan.
As of right now, nothing has leaked yet so it’s impossible to tell exactly what Google has for the Nexus 4. However, we can make some predictions based on the current state of the smartphone market and the experience owners of the Galaxy Nexus have had.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was the first 4G LTE Nexus smartphone and we expect the next Galaxy Nexus smartphone to employ 4G LTE speeds as well. One thing that the Galaxy Nexus didn’t have, and something no 4G LTE smartphone in the U.S. has at the moment, is a quad-core processor.
We fully expect, now that Samsung has released a device with both 4G LTE and a quad-core Exynos chip in Korea, the next Nexus smartphone to employ this technology.
In fact, it may even be the first Android smartphone in the U.S. to feature both a quad-core processor and 4G LTE data speeds.
One thing that Android devices do well is push the bar from a hardware standpoint so it would not be surprising to see the Galaxy Nexus either continue a trend, if quad-core 4G LTE devices launch before it does, or start one with that type of technology on board.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus launch and experience on Verizon has been sub-par at best. Owners had to wait for five months before they received an update from the carrier and in that span, we saw Google take some subtle shots at Verizon and how it handled the update process.
This may make Google reluctant to launch the Galaxy Nexus exclusively on Verizon, or better yet, any carrier.
As the launch of the Sprint Galaxy Nexus has shown, the device doesn’t need to be and probably shouldn’t be limited to just one single U.S. carrier.
So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the next Nexus smartphone launch on a large swath of carriers including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and possibly T-Mobile when it gets its 4G LTE up and running in 2013.
Big Name Manufacturer
The Nexus One was produced by HTC. The Nexus S and Nexus S 4G were made by Samsung. The Galaxy Nexus was made by Samsung. See a trend here besides the company names themselves? The devices were made by big time Android manufacturers, no small fries.
Samsung is already rumored to be making the next Nexus smartphone. And while that isn’t confirmed as of yet, what is confimred is that Google isn’t going to allow a small player to make the device.
Instead, it’s going to go with proven winners and at this point, Samsung is that company based on the successes of the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S III and Galaxy S II.
But again, nothing is for certain and HTC and Motorola could be in the mix as well. However, be sure of one thing. The company that manufacturers the Nexus 4 will be a proven Android manufacturer.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
At Google I/O in June, Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the operating system that has replaced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as the company’s main operating system.
Android 4.1 has started to roll out and will continue to roll out over the next, oh, who knows it’s Android.
That being said, many have wondered whether Google will unleash Android 5.0 with the Nexus 4. After all, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is an incremental update and not a massive one like Android 4.0 was.
Currently, we don’t have the answer to that. The relative silence about Android 5.0 is a sign that Google might not be releasing another piece of software this year.
As we’ve said, that wouldn’t be something that that would be met with wide spread enthusiasm across the Android universe.
Google won’t want to anger its customers any more than it has with the arrival of Android 4.1, remember many people still don’t have Android 4.0, and we think Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will likely be the software on board the Nexus 4 when it arrives.
This is Google and mobile software we’re talking about here so who knows.
Release Date After iPhone 5
Lastly, a Nexus 4 release date. This year is a little more tricky, considering the fact that Google hasn’t really stuck to a cycle in years past. The Nexus One came out in January, the Nexus S in November and the Galaxy Nexus in December. It also has released a major Android software update.
Last year, at Google I/O, Google announced that Ice Cream Sandwich would be released later in 2012 and it ended up coming out in December.
That being said, this year we think that Google will be sticking to last year’s game plan. We’ve already heard that Google might be announcing or releasing a Nexus device (or five, but that seems too crazy to believe at this point) at some point in November.
November 5th has been rumored as its the fifth birthday of Android.
Whatever the case may be, expect the phone to launch after the iPhone 5. Google will not want the Nexus to be caught up in the pre-launch hype of the iPhone 5 but it will want to launch in time for the holiday season.
November or December fit that mold perfectly.
What do you want to see from the next Nexus smartphone?
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