Nexus 4 (top) vs Galaxy Nexus (bottom)

We’ve seen some amazing flagship devices being released by Sony, HTC, Samsung, and LG this year, but Android geeks, or connoisseurs if you will, are still waiting to see what Google has planned for its 2013 flagship Nexus smartphone. There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to a Nexus device, such as a more than reasonable price for a high-end device, timely Android updates straight from Google, and continued software support for a long time. But nothing is more important than what defines a Google Nexus device.

No skins. No Bloatware. Just pure Android. No OEM-specific software features that eat up internal storage space, no UI skins and “enhancements” that hide some of Android’s best features (such as Google Now), and no pre-loaded apps. Just a “vanilla” Android experience. The increasing number of users favoring custom ROMs is a clear indication that a lot of people prefer Android the way it was meant to be, and that’s what you get with a Nexus device.

Nexus smartphones and tablets are sold off-contract directly from the Google Play Store and Google’s software engineers develop the software and are responsible for releasing updates. But, as far as the hardware is concerned, Google has been all over the place. The first ever Nexus device was manufactured by HTC, Samsung made the Nexus S and the very popular Galaxy Nexus, as well as the Nexus 10 tablet, while Asus got a chance to build the Nexus 7 tablet. And of course, LG manufactured the 2012 Nexus flagship smartphone, the Nexus 4.

So with the expectation of a Nexus 5, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Which manufacturer is going to make the next Nexus smartphone?” While we can’t tell which will, we can tell which should, and what they’d have to offer if given the opportunity. Let’s take a look!

Highly likely


Sony Xperia Z vs Google Nexus 4 aa (10)

LG had some great devices on offer last year with the Optimus 4X HD and the Optimus G, but really stepped out of the shadows after being given the opportunity to manufacture the Nexus 4. The company faced well the pressure of following the very successful Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and LG and Google got a lot right with the Nexus 4. After all, what’s not to love about a device with high-end specifications at a very reasonable price point, which was less than half the full price of other flagship smartphones. Granted, the 8GB version, which has only around 5.5GB of usable storage, was a let down, but the 16GB version was completely worth it for that price.

The anticipation and popularity of a pure Android experience was evident once again in the fact that the Nexus 4 sold out quite quickly, and the high demand led to Google being forced to admit to supply shortages. Those issues seem to have been sorted out, and the Nexus 4 is still one the more popular smartphones around. Given the success, it’s not difficult to imagine Google giving LG the chance to manufacture the next Nexus smartphone. In fact, if rumors are to be believed, that is exactly what is going to happen.

What can we expect from an LG manufactured Nexus 5? If the specifications of the Nexus 4 were similar to the LG Optimus G, we can expect the Nexus 5 to boast similar specs to that of the LG Optimus G Pro, (maybe the 5-inch Japanese version) or the rumored Optimus G2.  A 5-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, and (hopefully) 16/32GB of internal storage. It’s definitely wishful thinking to hope for a removable battery and microSD slot, but we can always dream. More rounded edges as opposed to the rectangular design favored by LG, and definitely no physical home button that has shown up on the 2013 LG flagship.

LG has done it before with the Nexus 4, and with a few changes, the Nexus 5 should prove to be another feather in the company’s cap.



As far as Motorola is concerned, the question isn’t whether Motorola should be given the chance to manufacture a Nexus device, but rather, “why hasn’t this happened already?” Even though one of Google’s intentions behind the acquisition of Motorola was to bolster its patent portfolio, many of us thought, or maybe hoped, that Google was going to make a jump into the hardware game as well. Unfortunately, we haven’t  heard a peep from Motorola in the last year, other than the Intel-powered RAZR i and the new RAZR M, RAZR HD and RAZR Maxx HD models. But 2013 is shaping up to be completely different.

The Motorola-made Google X Phone has been one of the most-rumored and hotly debated smartphones recently, and with good reason. Expectations have been soaring, and it’s crazy to imagine that Google may finally be developing a smartphone, technically, in-house. There have been a lot of leaks and speculation about this device, and while the Nexus tag hasn’t been bestowed upon this smartphone yet, the Google X Phone, when/if released, should definitely qualify as one. But, if the Google X Phone isn’t it, there’s always the possibility of a Motorola Nexus.

What can we expect from a Motorola manufactured Nexus smartphone? A large battery. A well-built smartphone that can endure the drop tests we’re definitely going to put it through. Somewhere between a 4.3-inch and 4.7-inch display, and top of the line specifications that should match up to the rest of the currently available flagships.

Without MotoBLUR and the lack of update issues that Motorola has faced in the past, a Motorola Nexus device could be absolutely amazing.

Read on to see the other major contenders!

Ankit Banerjee
Ankit has been part of the Android Authority family for over 5 years. In that time he's contributed to best lists, news, features, and much more.