If you have been following mobile news sites for some time, you would probably have came across one, if not several, rumors and articles about the next Nexus devices. The last Nexus phone (not Tab) came last year around November and speculation has Google releasing a new Nexus phone every year, sort of like how Apple releases their new iPhone every year. As it is already October now, it is really no wonder that Nexus phone rumors are gaining in force.
The Nexus phone, for those who do not know, is an Android phone that comes without customization. This means that it is running Android OS as it was meant to be seen and used by Google. There are no OEM customization of any sort on these phones and therefore, these phones are in the very front of the line for any future Android software upgrades by Google. This pure “vanilla” Android experience and fast Android software upgrades are the key draws for people who are interested in these phones. Also, as these phones do not have any OEM customization, they would not suffer from bloatware or any other issues which may slow down the phone. However, they also do not receive certain OEM specific features like HTC Sense UI’s lockscreen or Samsung TouchWiz’s swipe to call and SMS features. It is not a phone for everyone as there are many who love each OEM’s customizations but it does draw its own crowd, myself included. Here, I will try to round up and make sense of the rumors surrounding the next Nexus phone.
One of the earlier rumor is that this year, Google will partner with not just 1, but potentially up to 5 OEMs to produce a Nexus phone. This might mean that this year, we will have potentially up to 5 new Nexus phones on sale. If indeed this rumor is true, we would probably see new Nexus phones from Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony and Motorola. Samsung’s new Nexus phone is rumored to be the I9260 which has been uploading some photos to Picasa lately. Speculation about the specifications of Samsung’s new Nexus is ongoing but one thing that most people agree on is that it will probably have a 8MP camera.
Aside from Samsung, there has also been rumors about an LG Nexus phone. This rumor has gotten more credible as a new photo leak shows both LG and Google at the back of the phone. This phone is rumored to sport similar specs as the LG Optimus G which includes the superb Snapdragon S4 Pro (quad core Kraits). If this turns out to be true, this may well be the king of new Nexus phones as a dual core Krait phone, like the HTC One S can easily match the performance of current quad core phones like the HTC One X or Galaxy S3.
HTC is not to be left out from the rumor mill and it has been suggested that the HTC made Nexus will be a phone-tablet (phablet) and sport a 5″ screen. Personally, I believe that this is the rumor that is most off the mark. The reason being that neither HTC nor Google has shown interest in making a 5″ phablet and if Google were to come up with a phablet design, wouldn’t they turn to Samsung who created this category of devices with their Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2? Still, a 5″ phone may be possible from HTC and as HTC’s phones have long been admired for their high quality designs, it is likely that Google would get them to produce a premium look and feel phone for their next Nexus as well.
Sony has recently gotten their Xperia S approved into Google’s Android Open Source Project (AOSP), it does seem likely that Sony may continue their collaboration with Google’s AOSP team to produce the next Nexus device. Lastly, let us not forget that Motorola Mobility has been acquired by Google and it is very likely that there may be a Nexus phone from Motorola. In my opinion, it would be a little strange if Google did not produce a Nexus phone with Motorola.
One of the main reasons behind the creation of multiple Nexus phones could be due to the fact that OEM phones have a less than satisfactory track record of updating their devices and while this may be fine with some casual users, Google and other OEMs are feeling the heat from many users who are complaining about the delay over software upgrades and Google may decide that it is going to put its foot down and speed up this process via more Nexus phones. This way, while the OEMs would still be able to customize their own UIs or software on top of their own phones but at least there will be 1 phone in their stable which is guaranteed to have speedy Android upgrades.
Another reason could be that with more variety of phones as reference designs, Google could be hoping that this will make it easier for OEMs to modify the source code with their proprietary UIs and codes, hence allowing a faster upgrade path for the rest of the OEM phones. All in all, more variety of choices for those who want to get pure Android experience will be viewed by many as a good thing. If it helps OEMs speed up their software upgrades as well, even better.
As 2012 edges towards the end of the year, many are speculating that the new Nexus phones, whether just 1 or multiple, would probably arrive just in time for Christmas season. As Google have given their employees a Samsung Galaxy Nexus as a Christmas present last year, it may not be too far fetched to think that they may do the same this year. For that to happen though, the new Nexus phones have to be announced and released prior to Christmas season.
As for me, I am very excited at the possibility of multiple Nexus phones to choose from. But this puts me into more dilemma as I cannot make up my mind as to whether I should wait for an announcement and availability of new Nexus phones or should I get an S3/One S/Note 2 now. If my S2 is back, I will definitely wait but now… I’m gonna be struggling for the next month or two I guess.
How about you? Is more than 1 Nexus phone a good thing or should Google stick to just 1 company?