This week saw not one, but two possible sightings of what appears to be Google’s Nexus 5. There’s no official word from Google just yet though; that will likely coincide with the launch of Android 4.4 KitKat. A Google YouTube video first showed a new phone with Nexus branding in landscape early in the week. That video was quickly pulled down, which is telling.
Until Google makes an announcement, there effectively is no Nexus 5, but the facts do appear to be lining up to indicate this is the real deal. We’ll see in the next two to three months.
We won’t have to wait that long to see Samsung’s newest devices though. This week, the company finally proved the rumors true by introducing its Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch, as well as a 2014 edition of its Galaxy Note 10.1 with high-resolution screen.
The Note 3 is exactly what we all expected: An upgrade from the prior model with a larger screen but the same width. The 5.7-inch1080p display looks crisp to my eyes and Samsung did away with the boring old plastic backing. Instead, it uses a leather-looking plastic for texture. The phone’s 3GB of memory and 2.3 GHz quad-core processor bring plenty of performance but the star of the show is the S-Pen and new software. It truly boosts the productivity factor of the Note 3.
And if you buy that device, you can also use the $299 Galaxy Gear. At launch, just the Note 3 and new Note 10.1 work with Samsung’s smartwatch. I found the watch more impressive than expected: A bright, vivid touchscreen with both a camera and microphone / speaker combo built into the watch band.
I don’t really see this as a step forward for smartwatches though. The feature set is basically the same as any number of others on the market. And I’m not thrilled that it only works with Samsung devices. The company says it will bring compatibility to other Androids eventually, but I’m highly skeptical.
One device that has intrigued me, however, is the Asus Transformer Book Trio introduced in Berlin this week. Or rather, re-introduced: it was shown off in June at the Computex show. This looks like a traditional Asus Transformer, complete with an 11.6-inch touchscreen display that docks with a keyboard. The unique feature is a pair of chips: One in the display and one in the dock.
The keyboard dock is actually a full Windows 8 PC, complete with an Intel Haswell chip inside. It connects to an external monitor or you simply dock the display. The display hides its own Intel Atom chip, however. So at the press of a button, you can switch between Windows 8 and Android, effectively making this a three-in-one device. Asus hasn’t set a price yet and I suspect it won’t be less than $750. Still, for those who like both platforms, this could be a smart choice.