With the Google I/O event fast approaching, the rumors about Nexus 5 release date and specs are starting to pile up. Since today seems to be the day the Android world stood still, I thought we should talk about the yet unannounced flagship smartphone developed by the Mountain View-based giant.
What do we know so far about the Nexus 5? Well, almost nothing, but this won't stop us from speculating about the next-gen smartphone of the Nexus tribe.
Before talking Nexus 5 release date and rumors, let's have a look at the companies that developed the Nexus smartphones over the years. The first Nexus was manufactured by HTC and it was called Nexus One, being announced Januarry 2010. Samsung developed the next two Google smartphones, the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus, introduced December 2010 and October 2011, respectively.
After LG announced the Optimus G in February 2012 at Mobile World Congress, Google found it interesting enough to sign a partnership with the South Korean phone maker and develop the Nexus 4. In fact, the LG Optimus G's platform was used to underpin the Nexus 4, as most of its hardware components were fitted inside the latest Nexus smartphone, but in a case that continues the design language introduced last year by the Galaxy Nexus.
The Nexus 4 is by far the most popular smartphone of the Nexus family, and I see no reason why Google and LG shouldn't team up again to develop a successor for it, the unofficially dubbed Nexus 5.
Even though there are some rumors saying that the Nexus 5 release date will be at Google I/O conference this May, personally I doubt that we will see it in flesh at the highly-anticipated event. There are certain reports saying that we won't even see Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie at Google I/O, as the Mountain View based is currently testing Android 4.3, which will be called Jelly Bean. Personally, I find these reports quite accurate and my guess is that Google I/O 2013 will only bring a slightly upgraded Nexus 4, with 32 GB of internal storage and 4G LTE support. The next-gen Nexus 7 might also be introduced at Google I/O 2013 with a full HD display and a more powerful processor.
Why won't Google launch the Nexus 5 and Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie this May? I'm glad you've asked. Android is celebrating it's 5th anniversary this October and Google would want to keep some important product releases for this occasion. The stars are aligning and Google is set to do something special in Q4 this year and a Nexus 5 that comes pre-loaded with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will be "something special" indeed.
Remember? The Nexus 4 debuted in October 2012 and we might see its follow-up being officially announced exactly one year after its predecessor. I also believe that the Nexus 10 successor will debut synchronized with Nexus 5 release date. Moreover, recent leaks are showing that Samsung (the company that manufactured the Nexus 10) will launch the Nexus 11 later this year, an 11-inch tablet with octo-core Exynos 5 Octa SoC. There's no better occasion than Android 5th birthday to bring us three new important Google products: Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, Nexus 5, and Nexus 11.
In terms of technical specifications, just like it happened last year with the Optimus G and Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 will probably emulate the hardware components of the LG Optimus G2. Yes, you've already guessed. The Optimus G2 is the successor of the Optimus G and rumor has it that the South Korea-based company will officially unveil it this September at IFA Berlin 2013 tech fair.
For the time being, we have no clue how the Nexus 5 will look like, but it will definitely have a button-less front panel approach (just like the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4) as this is Google philosophy about the ideal Android smartphone since Ice Cream Sandwich was launched. Of course, Google will also want to compete against Apple's to-be-announced iPhone 5S (or iPhone 6, or the new iPhone, or just iPhone, or whatever the cool guys at Apple will name their next-gen iOS smartphone) in terms of design, so expect the Nexus 5 to have a premium look that will make use of materials like glass or aluminium.
As you probably noticed, there's a trend among the Android smartphone makers to launch terminals with 5-inch full HD displays (see Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z) and this is what Google and LG will probably fit on the Nexus 5. What technology will be used for the 5-inch display of the Nexus 5? We can't know for sure, but at least we can try to take a guess.
Both the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus were co-developed with Samsung, a company that it's known for its AMOLED displays. Guess what?Both terminals packed AMOLED displays sized 4 and 4.65 inch, respectively. Last year we've seen a lot of 4.5+ inch high-end smartphones hitting the market. Remember the HTC One X and the Galaxy S3? Well, guess what? The Nexus 4 fitted in the trend and packed a 4.7-inch display based on the True HD IPS LCD technology used by LG for its last couple of high-end smartphones.
With all these being said, I am expecting the Nexus 5 to sport a 5-inch True Full HD IPS LCD with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and a pixel density of 441 ppi.
Google is probably aware that many customers are not satisfied with the 8 GB Nexus 4 model and the search engine giant will definitely not launch a Nexus 5 model with a small amount of internal storage. Of course, there will be two storage options for the Nexus 5: 16 and 32 GB, and it will probably not come with microSD card support.
The price was one of the selling points of the Nexus 4 and (knowing Google) it would make perfect sense for the Nexus 5 to have the same price tag as its predecessor. Once the Nexus 5 will be officially made available for purchase it will replace the Nexus 4 in Google Play Store and it will have the same price: $299 for the 16 GB Nexus 5 and $349 for the model with 32 GB of flash storage.
To me, and probably to many of you, the processor that is underpinning a smartphone is a decisive factor that helps me to choose the one that suits my needs. The chipset must be powerful and, in the same time, have full support from the custom ROM developers. As you probably know Samsung's Exynos devices aren't among the favourites of the CyanogenMod, AOKP, or ParanoidAndroid developers.
Anyway Google and LG will have at least three chipset solutions to choose from. At CES 2013 we've seen Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800 being announced, along with Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC. The later one is indeed impressive, being based on a quad-core ARM Cortex A15 CPU clocked at 1.9 GHz in a 4-PLUS-1 core configuration, the auxiliary core using the same Cortex A15 architecture, but with less processing power and significantly less battery consumption. Moreover the Tegra 4 comes with a GeForce ULP with 72 cores. Even so, the Tegra 4 has a major flaw: it doesn't come with an integrated 4G LTE chip.
But if Google and LG want LTE and an Nvidia SoC, they can choose the Tegra 4i, which comes with an integrated 4G chip, and four
Cortex A15 Cortex A9 R4 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz. Nvidia made a concession for the sake of battery life, fitting a graphics processing unit that "only" has 60 cores.
At CES 2013 Qualcomm announced that its Snapdragon 800 processor will be integrated in the first devices this summer, so this one might as well be a candidate for the Nexus 5. I case you don't know it already, the Snapdragon 800 sports four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and the new Adreno 320 GPU. Courtesy of the integrated 4G chipset the Snapdragon 800 chipset is compatible with all the 4G LTE networks in the world.
But which of the three aforementioned chipsets will be squeezed inside the hood of the Nexus 5? If you asked me, I would say that Google and LG will go for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800.
The camera race is also heating up on the smartphone market. So far there are at least four smartphones that come with impressive cameras and there are still more to come. The Nexus 5 will have to compete against Sony Xperia Z's 13 megapixel Exmor unit, HTC One's 4 megapixel UltraPixel camera with 1/3'' sensor size and 2µm pixel size, Lumia 920's 8.7 megapixel PureView unit, iPhone 5's iSight camera and Samsung Galaxy S4's feature-packed 13 megapixel sensor. The iPhone 5S is also rumored to receive an improved camera, so the Nexus 5 can't fall behind.
The next-gen Nexus smartphone will most likely sport a 13 megapixel camera, but we shouldn't expect amazing performance, as neither of the Nexus smartphones excelled when it came to snapping photos or recording videos.
Nexus 5 will come with all the connectivity features worthy of a modern smartphone and besides LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, it will also sport HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, EDR, LE, NFC chip, IR blaster, and microUSB v2.0 (MHL 2) with USB On-the-go and USB Host,
That's about all for now regarding the Nexus 5 release date, specs, and price, but we promise to return with fresh details as soon as they are made available. What are you expecting from the Nexus 5? Please let us know in the comments section below.