August 1, 2012

What the next Google Nexus device could bring to the table

In a few short months, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will turn a year old. It’s been my personal device since it launched last October, and it will be a sad day when I let it go. That is, until we see the next Nexus device hits the street.
While it wasn’t until mid-August and September that we saw the “Nexus Prime” rumors begin to ramp up, we first got word about the Galaxy Nexus in late June of last year. So far, with the exception of a few nuggets of intel, we have yet to hear much about the next device of the Nexus family, but that should begin to change in the near future.

A couple of days ago we caught a peak of a concept phone (read – not real) render of the next Nexus handset. The specs ran a little something like this:
Edge to edge 5 inch Super AMOLED HD with Corning Gorilla Glass 2
2GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor
12 Megapixel camera with LED Flash, 2 megapixel front-facing camera
3200 mAh battery
Bluetooth 4.0
Micro USB 2.0 with MHL
Most of the specs above could be considered somewhat believable, but some are just bullshit. Not only will the handset not have 8 GB of RAM, which is the max out point that a lot of laptops have, the handsets shipping today with 2GB can’t even fully utilize it. A 12 megapixel camera isn’t necessarily crazy to think of, but we have our doubts that that will show up in the next model.  Oh, yes, and that edge to edge display. Sounds amazing, right? We’re probably not going to be seeing a bezeless handset anytime soon just for the sake of functionality. Sorry guys.
Our guess of the next Nexus device would look something like this:
4.6-5 inch HD display – We wouldn’t be surprised to see Google bump the display size up, but the 4.65 inch display on the Galaxy Nexus is more than enough real estate for most people as it is. We’d also like to see some different display tech on the device, like the Super LCD 2. Throw in some Gorilla Glass 2 while you’re at it.
NVIDIA Tegra 3+ or Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro running the show – While we’ll keep our preferences to ourselves, but if the next Nexus device ships with one of these processors, we’d imagine that the device would be plenty fast and be able to keep up with the big dogs quite a while after its past its prime.
Both SoC’s are capable of tearing through anything you throw at them without breaking a sweat and we hope see to one of them land in the next Nexus phone.
8-12 Megapixel Camera – While the idea of the next Nexus device rocking a 12 megapixel camera sounds a bit far-fetched, we’re more than aware that it’s possible. Our bet is an 8 megapixel shooter on the device, but this area deserves a bit of wiggle room.
2GB RAM – The device itself could likely ship with 1GB of RAM, but we also wouldn’t be surprised if Google added in the extra GB to sweeten the deal.
Battery Toss Up – Google could go either way here. Of course, we’d love to see battery tech catch up with smartphones today instead of throwing a massive brick of juice into the phone.
We’d love to see the next device to retain the centralized notification LED at the bottom of the device. With an application like Light Flow installed, you know exactly what kind of notification is waiting for you without unlocking the phone. While it’s hardly game-changing, it’s a simple and helpful feature.
It would also be interesting to see if Google chooses to continue with the contoured display in the next Nexus device(s). A curved screen, no matter how subtle, is neat and not much more. Sure, it’s supposed to contour to your face when you’re on a call, but of all complaints we’ve come across when it comes to smartphones, “It doesn’t fit my face.” hasn’t been one of them.
So that’s our take on a phone we really know nothing about. That said, we do know what a lot of the components manufacturer’s are putting into phones these days and we’d be happy to see Google cherry pick the best of the bunch for the next Nexus. Now that you’ve seen our take on what we think the mystery device may be packing, think about the possibility of having a handful of phones with these specs with varying designs by different manufacturers.
It’s become more than apparent that Google is looking to expand the Nexus brand, and we’ve already heard the rumor that there could be a new family of Nexus devices by the end of the year. If LG, Samsung, Sony, and Motorola each shipped a Nexus device this year, it would be one hell of an announcement. This could also ease the woes of some Android manufacturers have yet to get a chance to make a Nexus device. The decision to choose Samsung twice to make Nexus devices, while smart, likely rubbed some of Google’s partners the wrong way. Shipping  multiple Nexus phones at once from different manufacturers could ease these woes significantly.
When the next Nexus device (or devices) become official, we certainly hope that Google will keep the Galaxy Nexus available in the Play Store. With the handset recently getting its price cut to $349 off contract, slashing it again in a couple of months could definitely perk up the ears of customers who want to stay off contract without paying up the big bucks for an unsubsidized handset.
We know Google has some big plans for the Nexus program, but we’re still in the dark as to how the search giant will be attacking it this year. With the Nexus 7 firmly planting the “Pure Google” brand in the minds of many people now, unleashing an arsenal of Nexus phones this year could bode quite well for the operating system.

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