It’s that time of the year again. Android manufacturers lined up their offerings for the all-important holiday season, Apple released its new iPhone, and now it’s Google’s turn to unleash a new version of the iconic Nexus.
With its absurdly low price tag, the Nexus 4 appeals to a wide audience, not just to a narrow niche of “pure Android” enthusiasts. Will the next phone in the series go down the same road? It sure seems so.
Thanks to some credible leaks and the usual mixture of unverified information coming off the rumor mill, we think we have a pretty good image of the next Nexus. Let’s break it down.
Name and code number
From what we know so far, there’s a good chance that the new smartphone in the Nexus series will be called Nexus 5. The name makes sense: first, the 2013 model is the fifth smartphone in the Nexus series; more importantly, the device will have a 5-inch (or approximately) display.
Google kept the Nexus 7 moniker for this year’s 7-inch tablet, and the tech giant is probably going to apply the same naming convention to its smartphone. However, having a 5-inch phone called Nexus 4 (2013) wouldn’t make much sense, so, unless Google decides to shake things up with a brand new name, Nexus 5 seems the safest bet.
Speculation aside, the Nexus 5 name appears in a log file that was allegedly downloaded from the new device, though the file also contains references to Nexus 4.
According to the FCC documentation, the phone we believe to be the Nexus 5 has a 2300 mAh built-in battery compatible with Qi wireless chargers. That’s 200 mAh more than on the Nexus 4, but the Nexus 5 also has a larger and denser display to power. Last year’s Nexus had mediocre battery life at best, so we just hope Google and LG manage to surprise us somehow in this department.
Fragment of leaked Nexus 5 log showing the list of sensors on board
We expect the usual laundry list of connectivity options (NFC, Bluetooth 4, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac) and the log file reveals an assortment of sensors on the Nexus 5, including a magnetometer and a barometer.
Nexus 5 design
While the Nexus 5 is based on the same hardware platform as the LG G2, leaks indicate that the two phones will have very different designs.
First off, the Nexus 5 will have a conventional button setup, with the power button and the volume rocker on the side, unlike the G2, which sports unique rear-mounted buttons. Severalleakedimages indicate that the Nexus 5 will adopt design cues from the Nexus 7 (2013), apparently in a bid to unify the image of the Nexus family.
The most recent “in the wild” Nexus 5 image
Nexus 5 in the wild
Images of the phone from the FCC documents
Just like on the Nexus 4, the front of the Nexus 5 will be an uninterrupted piece of glass. On the back, the glass and shimmering pattern from last year’s model are replaced by the rubbery texture of the Nexus 7 (2013). The wide ring around the camera and the landscape-aligned Nexus logo are two other traits borrowed from the 7-inch tablet.
In terms of size, we think that the new Nexus will have thinner bezels than its predecessor, meaning that its overall size might remain the same, even if the screen is larger.
Nexus 5 software: Android 4.4 KitKat
Without doubt, the Nexus 5 will launch with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Unusually, Google announced the name of the new version of Android in advance back in early September, but that’s all we know officially about KitKat for now.
Unofficially, some speculate that Google will optimize Android 4.4 to improve resource consumption and thus make the OS compatible with older devices. Google seems to hint to something along this direction on the presentation page for Kit Kat: “it’s our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everyone”.
In terms of appearance, two distinct screenshots (1 and 2) of what we believe to be Android 4.4 show a lighter grey-white theme might replace the neon blue that has been a staple of Android since ICS. Google already uses a lot of white and pastel colors on its web properties and some of its apps, such as Google Now, so it’s possible that Matias Duarte and his team are giving Android a matching makeover.
Alleged KitKat screenshot showing white notification bar
A recent set of alleged leaked screenshots of Android 4.4 suggested that the notification bar would change colors to match the predominant color of the running app. But we’re almost sure those were fakes. Similarly, the rumblings of themes coming to Android are, for now, just unsubstantiated rumors.
If the change of name from Jelly Bean to KitKat is any indication, there are some major updates coming to Android 4.4, which would be a welcome change after the recent incremental updates.
What about the price? The Nexus 4 was a hit thanks to its low price tag, and we think that Google will continue on the same path with the Nexus 5. If that turns out to be a correct assumption, the Nexus 5 may go for $300-$350 for the 16GB version.
The planets are aligning for the release of the Nexus 5 in the coming weeks. We think we have a pretty good idea of what’s coming (at least on the hardware side), but experience tells us that surprises can never be ruled out. For now, remember that, with a few exceptions, all the information presented in this roundup is unofficial and therefore not totally reliable.
Last year, the Nexus 4 leaked extensively in the days preceding its launch, and it’s possible that the same will happen with the Nexus 5. As the launch approaches, we’ll be updating this roundup with the most credible leaks and rumors, and of course, with any official info that comes our way.
Are you excited about the new Nexus? How credible are the leaks that surfaced so far? Do you expect any surprises? Sound off in the comments.