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Is the Nexus 5 based on the LG G2?

August 12, 2013

With LG’s latest flagship, the LG G2 having been unveiled late last week in New York, tech pundits, curious consumers, and others are already beginning to think about the arrival of the highly anticipated Nexus 5, rumoured to land in our hands around October this year.

There were more than a few murmurings that we would be seeing a Google Play Edition of LG’s latest flagship, which was publicly denied by LG’s PR. He confirmed that LG did not have any plans to release a Google Edition of the LG G2, but added “… as of right now”. This suggests that, potentially, at some point in the future, we could be seeing a Google Play edition. Could this be the Nexus 5?

Technologically inclined consumers such as ourselves recognize that this Fall is Android’s 5th birthday, which traditionally coincides with a new release of Android – Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. We’ve seen Google release new hardware alongside new software before, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen this October. These facts only add fuel to the roaring fire of rumours.

Could the Nexus 5 be based on the LG G2?

nexus 4 galaxy nexus nexus 10 nexus 7 aa 6 1600

Possibly. The Nexus 4 was manufactured by LG, so we know that Google’s already friendly with the Korean firm. However, recently LG denied being a part of the Nexus 5 from earlier reports. This opens up the possibility of Google joining forces with another hardware firm such as Asus, Sony, or anyone of the myriad and keen partners that have already submitted their designs to Google in the hopes of being selected as a premium partner to produce the Nexus 5.

From a hardware standpoint, is it possible that the Nexus 5 may have its roots in the LG G2?

In terms of design, it appears somewhat likely. The Korean flagship features a unique, industrial and ergonomic design that, dependent on the success of the LG G2, may leave Google wanting to adopt it as the successor to the very successful Nexus 4. Though, it is worth mentioning that 500,000+ smartphones cannot be made overnight, or even within one or two months. The process, the research, the logistics, and all the R&D that goes into our mobile devices would blow your mind away. Manufacturers are already working on the Galaxy S5, iPhone 6, Moto X2, you name it – it’s all in the works, as these devices require substantial time to get designed, assembled, manufacturered and distributed (at minimum 6 months).

Look at that sexy, super thin bezel. Just look at it.
Look at that sexy, super thin bezel. Just look at it.

Editors note: In confidential talks with those ‘familiar with the matter’ regarding the original Nexus 4 debacle, they stated that “no one was in a position like LG to bring such great technology at such a compelling price point.” With this in mind, and considering the precedent set by Google with its original Nexus 4 roll out, it seems likely that LG could be selected again. Additionally, it was not LG that erred in the intial batch of Nexus 4’s that were produced; rather, Google’s initial orders were very small as they didn’t expect it to sell that well.

no one was in a position like LG to bring such great technology at such a compelling price point.
Getting back to the Nexus 5 rumors that we know of, it is unlikely that the G2’s hardware foundation could find its way into a Nexus device. Why you may ask? LG’s G2 has bleeding edge hardware. Because Google has opted for a very aggressive pricing strategy, it’s simply unlikely to have the same specs, as it would make the device prohibitively expensive.  If Google wants to have a repeat of the success of the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5 device will also need to be sold at a lower price point to continue to make the device accessible to a wider consumer base. These high specs therefore may not be available for the next device to keep manufacturing costs reasonable.

lg g2 qualcomm snapdragon 800 a (2)

Recently, Qualcomm has been the subject of much debate in the Android-o-sphere. Why? Qualcomm has been witholding proprietary elements of their stack, resulting in famous Android / Google personality JBQ ( see image on the right) leaving the Android Open Source Project. This is a big deal for Android fans and other proponents of open source software.

Qualcomm’s reluctance to release and publish factory images and driver binaries of recent Google devices such as the new Nexus 7, the Nexus 4 and the Nexus One doesn’t bode well for Android’s open future. Factory images are particularly important for users that want to restore their devices in case of damage to software. Driver binaries are used to restore hardware functionality.

How could this impact the Nexus 5? Will Qualcomm resolve the legal issue before October or will the new device face instability until the problem is rectified?

It’s highly unlikely that anyone but Qualcomm will be selected for the SoC’s simply because there is no other company that can even come close to Qualcomm’s offerings. They are the market leader, with over 40%+ of all mobile devices on sale now packing their technology inside.

Regardless, perhaps this is a moot point. At the end of the day, Google and the fortunate partner they select to manufacturer the Nexus 5 will be tasked with creating a cutting edge device that offers a premium user experience, and all at a very, very compelling price point.

Further to this, many influential persons in the Android space including Founder of Cyanongen, Steve Kondik, and others have alluded to the fact that increasingly, there is less necessity to ‘root’ Android devices. Further to this, rooting still remains a pursuit of a very small percentage of Android users. Our math suggests that roughly 4-5% of Android users root their devices. The fact remains that our mobile devices, and in particular, those that are powered by Android, are among the most versatile, customizable, and flexible of all the mobile platforms available, regardless of whether they have been rooted or not.

Nexus 7
Snapdragon 600, the new baseline for the Nexus series?

At the end of the day, the Nexus 5 is likely to have a combination of what the new Nexus 7 is packing, hardware wise. This would lead us to believe that it will feature a 1080p display, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC. Who will manufacturer it? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure – a lot of people are very, very keen to get their hands on one.

Google and its manufacturing partner of choice better be ready.

And how about you? Would you care if the Nexus 5 doesn’t feature the latest and greatest specs? What price point are you looking for? How about having it be available outside of the USA this time? Let us know down below!