Google has just announced the Nexus 5 (official page) without fanfare on its website. The Nexus 5 is a highly anticipated handset which is mostlybased on the excellent LG G2 hardware. As usual, the new Nexus phone is going to represent the latest “pure Android” experience and it will come with Android 4.4, code-named KitKat. The official details are just starting to surface, but we know that unlike past Nexus smartphones, this one is going to support LTE and will be available with Sprint and T-Mobile in the USA. AT&T and Verizon are not on the list for now, although we would expect the phone to run on AT&T’s network.
There are significant differences with the LG G2, however. for instance, the screen is not a 5.2″, but a 4.95″ 1080p IPS display (445 pixel-per-inch, or PPI). The rear camera is also a 8 Megapixel model instead of the 13 Megapixel one that the G2 has, but it comes equipped with a similar optical image stabilization module (it is a magnetic-based stabilizer). That said, the Nexus 5 will feature Google’s new “HDR+” photo mode in which a burst of photos is automatically shot then images are merged together to create a final image that should be superior.
Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 does not come with the 3200mAh battery that the U.S LG G2 has. Instead, it ships with a much more nimble 2300mAh battery, and it is presently not clear that’s a removable one or not. Note that the Korean G2 has a similar setup, but ships with two batteries out of the box. From the looks of it, this is not a removable battery.
What it has in common with the G2 is the Snapdragon 800 application processor (AP) which is a system on chip from Qualcomm that has an integrated Adreno 330 graphics processor. This should give the Nexus 5 an incredible performance for the price, since the 16GB model starts at $349 (no contract) or about 50% less than other high-end smartphones. It also gets Wireless charging from day 1, which may inspire other handset manufacturers to follow.
Like the Moto X, Nexus 5 will be constantly listening to user voice commands, and you can trigger a search at anytime by saying “OK Google”. Existing Nexus devices are officially getting their Android 4.4 update in “weeks” according to Google. Here’s the official teaser video:
What’s new in Android 4.4 “Kitkat”?
Android 4.4 Kitkat isn’t a major release but it comes with its fair share of new features. As we have said earlier, it will listen to voice command on a permanent basis. Google has also added an “immersive mode” in which all UI elements are hidden during movie playback, book reading and other multimedia activities. In previous generations the Android virtual buttons were omnipresent. Multi-tasking is said to be faster, although it’s always difficult to measure.
For day to day usage, there are some interesting user interface changes: Android now prioritizes contacts that communicates more often with you. The Caller ID can now search outside your contact list and into Google listings to tell you who is calling – this is a really good idea. Android 4.4 consolidates SMS, MMS and Hangout messages into a single thread to group conversation by “people”, and not by app. This is a good thing that many companies including Palm and Motorola attempted, but unfortunately, their efforts eventually went away. Android is more likely to stay around.
Emoji, the fun Japanese icons, have been added to GMail. This is pretty neat, and I know for a fact that this type of icons have made or broken a lot of messaging apps in Asia. I don’t think that it will change the tide for GMail, but it could be highly appreciated by many users.
Kitkat 4.4 also receives out of the box support for Google Cloud Print, which is an easy way to push print jobs to your printer over the internet. Although printing is typically associated with a tablet usage, it’s fair to say that you could just as well want to access a document on your phone and print it, or have it print at a location in Cloud Print.
Nexus 5 Specifications highlights
- 5” Full HD IPS display, 1080p, Gorilla Glass 3
- Snapdragon 800 processor 2.26GHz
- 2GB of RAM
- Wireless Charging
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 8 Megapixel camera with Optical Image Stabilization
- 4G/LTE and up to WiFi AC
- 2300mAh battery
- Black or White color
- $349 (16GB), $399 (32GB) — unlocked phones
- 69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59mm, 4.59 ounces (130g)
- Available with: Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.
- You can order it from here
- Nexus 5 tear down
- GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
- CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
- WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
- LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41
Rest of World:
- GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
- WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
- LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20