New Google Nexus Hardware: Here Comes the Wave?

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Jared Newman / TIME.com

Back in May, the Wall Street Journal reported that multiple Nexus devices from Google and its hardware partners were coming this fall. Now that the leaves are changing color, new rumors suggest that the Nexus invasion might be nearly here.

Google uses the “Nexus” name for devices that run a pure version of Android. Whereas most Android device makers add their own software features to stand out from the herd, Nexus devices run Android exactly as Google intended, free of modifications and bloatware.

(MORE: Nexus 7 Niceties: 15 Best Apps for Google’s New 7-Inch Tablet)

According to the latest scuttlebutt, Google may be working with LG and HTC on new Nexus phones, and with Asus and Samsung on more Nexus tablets. It’s all a bit shaky at the moment, but here’s what the rumor mill has to say about Google’s Nexus phone and tablet plans:

LG’s First Nexus Phone

If LG is truly working with Google on a Nexus smartphone, it’ll be a spec beast, modeled after LG’s Optimus G that’s also due to launch stateside this year. Here are the rumored specs, as reported by to MoDaCo:

  • 4.7-inch, 1280-by-768 resolution display
  • Quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 8 GB or 16 GB of storage
  • Built-in wireless charging

As for design, some purported images from Baraholka.onliner.by show a curved shape and software navigation buttons similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, but with a tiled rear panel. Unnamed sources told CNet that the phone will be announced at the end of the month.

HTC’s “Nexus 5″

Rumors of an extra-large smartphone from HTC have been churning for months, but a recent report from GSM Arena claims that a Nexus variant is also in development. According to an unnamed tipster, the so-called Nexus 5 will have a 5-inch, 1080p display, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, a 12-megapixel rear camera and up to 64 GB of built-in storage.

I’m a bit skeptical of this one, mainly because no other sources have reported the same details. Also, there isn’t a huge difference between 4.7-inch and 5-inch screens, so it’d be surprising to see both LG’s and HTC’s phones go the Nexus route at the same time. Still, the niche for phone-tablet hybrids is surprisingly large, so it’s not crazy to think that Google would want in.

Samsung’s High-End Nexus Tablet

Industry analysts tend to be among the least reliable sources for rumors, but Richard Shim from NPD DisplaySearch has a decent track record — he pegged Apple’s mini iPad plans back in July — so let’s hear him out:

Shim told CNet that Samsung and Google are working together on a 10-inch Nexus tablet. Unlike the bargain Nexus 7, this will reportedly be a high-end tablet with a 2560-by-1600 resolution display that beats Apple’s iPad on pixel density. Shim didn’t have any other details, but if this device is real, specs alone won’t sell it. Given that Android’s tablet app selection doesn’t compare to the iPad’s, Google will need better reasons to buy it than a slightly higher-resolution screen.

Jared Newman / TIME.com

Asus’ Nexus 7 Redux

We’ve already heard rumblings of a $99 Nexus tablet, and now Richard Shim, again speaking to CNet, says production will begin in December. We still don’t know what Google would have to sacrifice to reach such a low price, but a tablet that cheap would certainly make waves in the budget tablet wars.

Meanwhile, my dreams of a higher-capacity Nexus 7 may come true, following a report that one customer in Japan received a Nexus 7 with 32 GB of built-in storage. Though I wish we had more to go on, a 32 GB Nexus 7 would make sense given that Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD both allow for more storage.

Bonus Motorola Nexus Phone and Tablet Rumor

Don’t get too worked up by Android Police’s report that a couple mystery devices were caught browsing the site. Sure, there may be a Nexus phone and tablet from Motorola in the works, based on the nature of the site’s server logs. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t, given that Google now owns the company. But we’re no closer to knowing when these devices might materialize, and what they have to offer.

The Carrier Question

One big question lingers regardless of hardware specifics: How does Google plan to sell its next Nexus phones? With the Galaxy Nexus, Google partnered with Verizon and Sprint on subsidized versions of the phone, but eventually sold unlocked versions of the phone through its own website. This time around, will Google forgo carriers entirely, or will it strike more carrier deals in hopes that the Nexus concept will finally catch on? Either way, the next couple of months should prove interesting for the smartphone and tablet market as Google prepares its next wave of hardware.

MORE: Why Some 7-inch Tablets Will Eventually Be Given Away Free

14 comments
william1a1000
william1a1000

It's worth reviewing another Android tablet that came out this week - The Novo 7 Flame -- a 7 Inch tablet priced at $189 at a site called TabletSprint - with 32GB, Android 4.1 O/S and Offical access to Google Play (over 400k Apps), a high resolution 1280x800 screen, a Micro-SD slot for easy, portable storage cards, HDMI to view movies and media downloads on a TV in HD, Two Cameras - a 5 MegaPixel camera with AF & Flash, and a 2 MegaPixel webcam; plus  easy connection with Bluetooth, Ethernet, WiFi and an option for 3G -- Also released in November is the Novo Legend --  a  Dual Core $99 Tablet with many of the same features and also better than Googles anticipated "$99 tablet" - which is expected to have only a single core processor and no MicroSD storage slot.

flubalubaful
flubalubaful

 For the larger part of the population 8gb is more than enough. It is only the people that have hundreds of games installed and dozens of apps that have a problem with space. I thought my 8gb Arnova would be way too small but I found it was more than fine for daily use.

flubalubaful
flubalubaful

 When you have something that is known throught the world as a quality device the manufacturer will obviously try to build on that name recognition. the google nexus is years ahead of the latest ipad and if anything deserves the massive amount of sales it is getting, I suspect that the Nexus 7 will outsell all ipad sales this quarter or next.

flubalubaful
flubalubaful

SO when Apple promotes its best screen , only slightly better quality than the rest of the market, the author goes crazy with excitement, now that Google is releasing one even better it is not that relevant and does not mean much, bias much here. LOL

Tyler K
Tyler K

Is it just me or is the Nexus Brand starting to feel a bit diluted?

daniel hughes
daniel hughes

Specs are nice, but the 8GB storage is really low.  Its not even a full 8GB either by the time the OS is installed and running you may have 6GB left for your own space.  Also no LTE on this phone is a real bummer.

The only positive to this phone are the OS updates from Google.  I feel like the regular LG Optimus G that this phone is based off of is so much nicer, same specs, but 32GB of storage and LTE for ATamp;T, and Sprint.  Sure it has 4.0.4 and LG's UI scheme, but I figure it will be $299 on contract vs the LG Nexus that is $499 unlocked.  I hope Google sells this new phone for $349 like they are selling the G Nexus now or no one will pay for this sub par storage and no LTE.

William CH
William CH

Another company is emerging offering performance-value priced Android tablets - with one model introduced last month -- The Novo 7 Flame by Ainol Electronics, priced at $189 at a US site called TabletSprint - offers Wifi, Bluetooth, MicroSD, a 5 megapixel Rear Camera and 2 MP webcam, 1280x800 high resolution screen, 2nd Gen Dual Core CPU, HDMI with Full 1080p (HD). Plus an option for 3G - it's by far the most complete budge tablet available under $300 and worth looking at and comparing, especially for the price... Ainol Electronics won runner-up in CES / CNET 2012 "Best Tablet of the Year" Award -- and certainly gives the new Nook, Nexus 7, Kindle HD amp; the new Mini some serious competition. Next month Ainol launches a larger version with 10" screen with a Quad Core Tegra 3 Processor and a price around $230 --

ninjustin
ninjustin

I don't care what carrier they are on but I really hope they go the route of controlling all the updates themselves.  I have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus and I am not happy with Verizon's support. 

Shaun Patrick Wahle
Shaun Patrick Wahle

Under LG Nexus spec, You've listed a 8 Megapixel Battery.

Kathy A. Yarbro
Kathy A. Yarbro

I have a Verizon Galaxy Nexus and I am not happy with Verizon's support. ..NDOQESB.Tk