Friday, 6 September 2013

Nexus 5

With the Nexus 4 now being the oldest device in the Nexus stable, it's time to turn our attention to the Nexus 5? When will the Nexus 5 launch? What will be different? How will it compare to the Nexus 4?

There's a swirl of rumour and speculation circulating the internet as we head into autumn, the traditional launch time for a Nexus smartphone refresh. Here we're pulling together all the details and trying to separate the wheat from the chaff and build a picture of Google's next Nexus smartphone.

We'll update the feature as and when new details become known.

Nexus 5 release date

The Nexus 4 was launched on 29 October 2012, replacing the Galaxy Nexus, launched before that on 19 October 2011. The pattern suggests a late-October launch date for the Nexus 5, with stock landing in the Google Play store soon after, most likely within two weeks.

Recent documents from the FCC suggest that the Nexus 5 has been through the certification process, which typically happens in the run-up to device announcements.

We've also recently seen stock depletion of the Nexus 4 in some markets, perhaps another indicator that a replacement device is on its way. In previous years, Google Play has struggled to fulfill demand: perhaps they'll manufacture more Nexus 5 stock this time around?

Nexus 5 manufacturer

With the Nexus devices skipping from one manufacturer to another - with HTC, Samsung, LG and Asus having all been involved so far - there's always speculation over who will actually build the handset.

So far we've seen reports suggesting that LG, Motorola and Asus might be in the frame, but the current thinking is that it will be LG, with the D820 passing through the FCC being the device in question.

LG was the manufacturer for the Nexus 4; the Nexus 5 will likely take much of the hardware from the LG G2 and again some of the FCC details tally with specs found on theLG G2, suggesting similarities.

Nexus 5 display

Rumours have put the Nexus 5 display at 5.2-inches, with that rumour coming from Vietnamese site Tinhte.

However, the latest FCC document points at closer to 5-inches. That figure sounds about right as it matches with the size of most of the flagship devices currently on the market: the SGS4, HTC One and LG G2 all come in around that size.

We'd expect to see a 1080p display in place.

Nexus 5 software

The introduction of a new Nexus device usually debuts a new version of Android. Again, Google's recent announcement of Android 4.4 KitKat suggests that the timings are set for an announcement soon.

Android 4.4 KitKat, obviously, is wrapped up in a promotional campaign with Nestle, but the erection of a KitKat Android figure outside the Mountain View HQ suggests that there's going to be a fair number of changes in this new version.

Those changes are yet to be revealed, but Google has already set up the Android page for KitKat, telling us it will be sweet - pun absolutely intended.

For a long time the next iteration of Android was thought to be Key Lime Pie. Revealing the story behind the Google and Nestle tie-up on Android 4.4 KitKat, the BBC revealed that Key Lime Pie was being used as a codename, right up until the KitKat reveal.

The FCC details point to a software version running on Key Lime Pie: the name may have taken a recent change, but there's evidence to suggest that the device in question does have a new Android software version on board.

Nexus 5 design

The only real suggestion that points to the Nexus 5 design comes from a frame of a videothat shows a device in the hands of a Google employee at the unveiling of the giant Android KitKat.

It certainly looks like a device large enough to accomodate a 5-inch display and there's prominent Nexus lettering across the back and possibly the LG logo towards the bottom.

However, it looks rather squared compared to the FCC pictures for the D820. Its not unknown for testing devices to be placed in generic cases to disguise them until the big reveal, but we can't help feeling that the glimpse at this device wasn't a mistake on Google's part: its PR machine is much more savvy than that.

The question is: will a white Nexus 5 be available at launch?

Nexus 5 hardware specs

There's a number of rumours pointing to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 as the chipset that will sit at the core of the Nexus 5. It's Qualcomm's latest, found in the newest devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z1. It fits with the Nexus past too, offering power for developers, but without all the other specs that consumers might call for.

The FCC doc again makes this suggestion. We'd imagine a pairing with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, although this is just speculation on our part, there's no evidence to support this detail yet. Google typically avoids microSD card expansion on Nexus devices and we'd expect this to continue.

The FCC filing covers wireless connections, with a wide listing of network bands from various flavours of LTE downwards. This is line with that we'd expect: one of the notable exclusions from the Nexus 4 was LTE support, we'd expect that to be high on the agenda for the Nexus 5.

NFC and wireless charging are a given, so you can expect to see both in place when the Nexus 5 is launched.

Nexus 5 camera

There's little information on the Nexus 5 camera yet. The camera is often a relative weakness of the Nexus devices, with Google using it to showcase Android features, rather than pushing claims of high quality, like the mainstream devices do.

We wouldn't be surprised if there was an 8-megapixel sensor in place, but it's likely to be the area where Google looks to save some cash.

Nexus 5 price

We'd expect the Nexus 5 to be aggressively priced as it has been in the past. We'd expect good processor and display specs, but with a number of limitations to keep the price down: limiting the internal storage and the camera are most likely to be where Google economises.