Google Nexus season is upon us. From October to January each year since Android began, Google has brought forth a one true mobile phone featuring Android, the whole Android and nothing but the Android, with no manufacturer-installed custom user interface on top.
Why is this good? Well, it very often brings with it the first showing of a new version of Android and also comes with the advantage that there will be no barriers between its user and further Android updates; no problems with waiting for a UI change and no problems from your network either, if you buy it off the shelf and SIM-free.
Obviously, Google doesn’t make its own hardware, so it gets one of the big phone companies to do it as a more silent partner. First it was HTC, then it was Samsung, then Samsung again but who will it be this time around? Which phone will be the next Nexus?
HTC Google Nexus 5
After a murky year, HTC has come back with some impressive stuff in the shape of the HTC One series. The flagship HTC One X went down a treat with our Pocket-lint review team and showed what a class act it was in our side by side sunlight test against all the top smartphones on the market. So, has Google’s original partner in the Android game caught its attention once more?
Just a few weeks back, we reported that the predicted HTC One X 5, which will most likely see the light of day under that name in early 2013, may also be the handset chosen as the next Nexus by the name of the Google Nexus 5.
The 5 refers to the whopping size of the screen expected to come in at 5 inches on the diagonal, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note series. The rumour runs that the Nexus 5 will house a Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 12-megapixel camera, 2-megapixel front-facer and a whopping 64GB of internal memory storage. It will also use a 2,500 mAh battery and offer LTE connectivity.
However, what really stands out is the claim that the display will be 1080p – a huge task for a screen size of 5 inches, meaning a pixel density of around 440ppi! Although that’s exactly what Sharp has put into production with a new LCD run, according to recent reports, but is it for HTC? Well, quite possibly, especially because HTC is one of the few manufactures to use this display tech over the more popular AMOLED. Still, that could just be for the HTC One X 5 with no Nexus involved at all.
Next Nexus: 3/5
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2
With the last two Nexus smartphones going the way of Samsung, it would certainly be a safe bet, if a little unfair, for the next Nexus to go the Korean giant’s way too. Back in August we reported on a document listing a mystery handset known as the Samsung GTI9260. It’s virtually identical, from the specs available, to the Samsung Galaxy S III only with a smaller 4.65-inch display instead the full 4.8-inch, and a new phone that’s actually not as good as an older one might make for a pretty disappointing Nexus device. Nonetheless, it’s all very possible, especially with the GTI9260 marked as “Nexus” on the mystery document. Here’s hoping it’s not, though.
Next Nexus: 4/5
Motorola Razr Nexus
Google announced that it would be buying up Motorola Mobility back in August 2011 and it was a bit of a surprise that we didn’t see the Nexus phone of the same year go to Moto. One possible reason is that the merger wasn’t completed until just a few months back.
Of course, that may have nothing to do with it. Motorola phones could very easily receive no special treatment on this front at all. After all, Larry Page has confessed that the acquisition of the mobile company was largely to do with strengthening Google’s patent portfolio. So, where does all of this leave the possibility of some kind of Motorola Razr Nexus?
After a bit of a dip in form, the Motorola Android family has been beginning to impress once more, so there would certainly be interest from the public. So far though, there have been no rumours, sightings nor stolen spec sheets to say that there’s anything happening here.
Next Nexus: 3/5
Sony Xperia Nexus
Sony’s certainly been making some headway of late with its Android smartphones. From inauspicious beginnings, we’ve seen the latest flush of Xperias picking up closer to top marks than ever before from our boys in the review labs. All the same, there’s not been so much as a whisper in the wind that the Japanese giant will be teaming up with Google for a Sony Xperia Nexus phone. That doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be one, but we do tend to get word of these things here at Pocket-lint.
Next Nexus: 1/5
LG Optimus Nexus
We’d be hard pressed to get excited about an LG-based Android smartphone. Sorry LG, but that seems to be the way it is right now. There have been no rumours that there will be one and, unless everyone is given the Nexus go ahead, we doubt we’ll be seeing some kind of LG Optimus Nexus.
Next Nexus: 1/5
All of the above
Well, it’s not happened before but Larry Page did say at the Google Big Tent conference earlier in the year that Google would be working with multiple OEM partners with future Nexus devices. So, why not more than one Nexus phone at a time? It would work from Google’s point of view to get the untainted Android experience out to as many customers as possible. It could also just be a way to lose focus.
Next Nexus: 2/5
No new Android
We don't doubt there will be a new Nexus phone announced in the coming weeks but there does seem to be a strong whiff in the air that it won't arrive with a new version of Android - well, not a significant update, anyway. The most optimistic thinking has been to suggest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean - a whole 0.1 more advanced than the OS that we already have. After all, Google did once say, back in the mists of time, that this biannual updating of Android wouldn't last forever.
Next Nexus: 4/5