Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat: Leaks Point At October 14th!

Since my first posts about the upcoming Google Nexus 5 by LG and Android 4.4 KitKat there have been even more leaks. It's beginning to look like we can expect a mid-October release maybe as soon as October 14th! Leaks have been coming from all over the place and possibly for the first time ever, tech leaks have even come from a candy company. Nestle, who has partnered with Google for the launch of the candy-codenamed Android 4.4 KitKat and the upcoming Nexus devices, "confirmed" on Facebook that the release is  due in October.

Design and Specs

So what do we know from all the leaks so far? We've seen what will likely be the design of the new phone, now including pictures, a short video (posted below) and even an interactive 3D rendering made from the leaked images. I for one, really hope this is the new design. It looks like they have taken a lot of the design elements from the new Nexus 7 by Asus, which is definitely a good thing. As far as specs, the FCC leaks have confirmed a few and more rumors have been leaking out as well. It most likely will not have a removable battery or micro SD port (no surprises here). It is expected to come in 16GB and 32GB storage options with a 5" 1080p display and a 2300mAh battery. The FCC has confirmed the rumors that the Nexus 5 would have a Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor from Qualcomm, same processor found inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.


The camera is a feature that Google has said they will be putting a lot of energy into, and it is sounding like they will do just that. Rumors have it that the Nexus 5 will be based on the LG G2 (the Nexus 4 was based on the LG Optimus G) which brings some great camera features including a 13MP sensor and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), which should help eradicate those blurred images from shaky hands. Check out the video from LG below to see how this works.

A Few Things Still Up In The Air

Nexus 5 render, Nexus 4, and Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Though we keep calling it the Nexus 5, we don't actually know that its what it will be called. Google has not confirmed this name and the history of Nexus phones doesn't guarantee it either. HTC made the first Nexus, the Nexus One, followed by the Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the the Nexus 4 by LG. So, technically it could be called anything. The only part we know for sure is that it will have Nexus in the title. We also don't know the prices yet, though we expect that they will be quite competitive. The Nexus 4 was $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) unlocked at launch and recently saw a $100 price cut which cleared out their total inventory. Google has set a precedent of launching Nexus devices a mid-range affordable prices. The Nexus 7 tablet saw a slight price bump this year and it is reasonable to think that the new phone may as well but I'd still expect to see it at no more than $350 and $450 unlocked and off contract for each of the two memory configurations.

We also don't know exactly what to expect from Android 4.4 KitKat. The Nexus 5 (and possibly refreshed Nexus 10 tablet) will be the first devices to launch with KitKat 4.4. So far from the leaks we have gotten the following details:

  • Firmware availability to older phones
  • Fragmentation changes (screen resizing)
  • Miracast updates
  • New Gallery Visualisation
  • New APIs regarding animations
  • Change android default blue to other preset palette colors
  • New notification widgets

The Firmware availability and fragmentation changes seem to address getting updates out to more phones faster, a problem they've been working on for years. Hopefully they finally found a decent solution which would make it easier for manufacturers to update ROMs to the latest version of Android and get around the carriers slowing the process. I'm also excited about the potential to easily customize the color palette throughout the OS. As far as what else KitKat will bring is still up in the air. I'm sure it will have additional improvements to UI smoothness and battery performance.

Finally we have carrier support. This has always been a touchy area. GSM carriers (T-Mobile and AT&T) tend to get the most love and offer the best, more streamlined solutions, but Verizon and Sprint have had some level of support in the past with the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. However, CDMA (Sprint and Verizon) versions of Nexus phones have proven to be somewhat of second rate Nexus experiences, with the carriers complicating and delaying the direct line upgrade process that the Nexus line is designed for. Additionally in the past it has been difficult to make one devices that supports all of the carriers various frequencies, resulting in multiple variants for each carrier. With advancements in the tech in both the phones and the networks themselves, it is becoming easier to put multiple radios in one device, and currently based on the leaks it sounds like the next Nexus phone may support T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. Still leaving out VZW, but they are also one of the most notorious for delaying updates and adding bloatware to devices.

How many of you are excited to see the new Nexus phone getting closer to release? Are you planning on grabbing one at launch? What are you most excited about?

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