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Google Nexus program: rumor roundup

A quick look over the most credible rumors regarding the next batch of Google's Nexus Android line-up!
October 17, 2012
Although Google’s Nexus line of smartphones and tablets isn’t necessarily the best selling line of Android products, they historically tend to get a whole lot of press time thanks to Google’s implication, a company name that doesn’t usually end up on hardware devices. While Google doesn’t manufacture (or package) the Nexus hardware itself, relying instead on other manufacturers that can package the specs and features envisioned by the big G (the only exception to this rule is the Nexus Q, and we all saw how badly that project turned out in the end), the fact remains that Nexus devices are Google products, and hence draw in a lot of attention.

Now, the reason why Nexus smartphones for instance are not selling too well has a lot to do with marketing, a lack of carrier partnerships (globally speaking) and the general unawareness of consumers. If you’re a tech-savvy fellow (and given that this is an Android blog, there is a big possibility that you are, so cheers to you!), you might have noticed that Nexus devices come with one promise that makes them unique and invaluable to an Android fan: these devices are the first to get new versions of the Android Operating System. Take the Galaxy Nexus for instance: it is a smartphone that was released roughly a year ago, but is still the only top-end smartphone up to this date that uses Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (officially), and has been using it just a couple of days after Google announced the new update.

So if you’ll pardon the lengthy intro, what I’m really trying to say is that during the past month, there has been a noticeable increase in rumors and leaks regarding the next Google Nexus device(s). While the possibility remains that all these rumors won’t get us anywhere in the end, after fitting all these pieces of the puzzle, I’m willing to bet that Google is planning a major push with its Android-powered Nexus hardware.

Multiple Nexus Devices

Nexus Google

The first and most important thing that you should take into consideration is the fact that many of the rumors I was talking about earlier point towards the fact that Google might be planning to release multiple devices simultaneously. Even more so, there are indications that Google might be rethinking the entire philosophy behind the Nexus program, meaning that they could allow all Android manufacturers to release Google Nexus devices as long as those devices adhere to certain specifications and features. Think of it like a Google-certified line-up of Android smartphones and tablets.

On the other hand, I find it even more probably that not all smartphone and tablet manufacturers will be included in the first batch of devices. Adding the fact that one rumor about the Nexus program revamp has been since retracted, some believe that it’s all just pointless talk, but I’m one to believe that Google might still be doing something similar to this. In addition, the prestigious Wall Street Journal wrote on Google’s decision to go for multiple Nexus devices back since May this year, meaning we shouldn’t write this rumor off (especially given the numerous evidence of Nexus devices being prepared by a range of manufacturers, but more on that later in the article !).

And to think of it, this could actually be an efficient theory from multiple points of view! It will certainly translate into a means of marketing for all manufacturers, while a strict set of requirements will ensure that all future Nexus smartphones and tablets don’t stray too much from the Nexus philosophy, not to mention that the general public would definitely benefit the most from an array of Nexus smartphones of various sizes and specs! It’s a triple win theory as far as I’m concerned.

Ok, so now we’ve got our bases covered, so lets take the time to talk about the rumored/leaked Nexus devices of the past month or so!

Android 4.2

As all Android fans should know, you can’t have a new Nexus device without a new version of the Android OS. Since we’re on the Nexus subject, we’re not going to talk about fragmentation here. Unfortunately, there also isn’t much to talk about when it comes to the features that will be introduced by the upcoming Android update. We just know we spotted several devices in our server logs running Android 4.2 (although the possibility remains that the information passed to the server is tricked).

LG Nexus 4

If Google and LG did not plan or actually initiate some of the rumors and leaks regarding their first Nexus collaboration, the LG Nexus 4 is, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst kept secret in the history of the Nexus program. We’ve got you covered on what to expect in this detailed analysis, but you should also check out this leaked hands-on report, these freshly leaked pictures of the LG Nexus 4, read about the LG Nexus 4 passing through the FCC, or learn how Google and LG posted pictures taken with the smartphone that contained the “LG Nexus 4” name.

Apparently, French newspaper Le Figaro claims that the LG Nexus 4 will be released on October 29. Even if there is some truth to this claim, I’m feel obliged to tell you that from my personal experience, “release date” equals “announcement date” for many people around the world. Don’t ask me why!

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2

Although there are no leaked photos of the Galaxy Nexus 2, many reports indicate this name being spotted in various leaked documents from various sources: carrier listings, retailer inventory pages. A new Nexus smartphone from Samsung is also quoted by insiders that have shared their knowledge with the likes of SamMobile.

Motorola RAZR Nexus and Sony Nexus Rumors

Sony Nexus X

While one rumor pointed out that Sony is working on a Nexus smartphone as well, there were few leaks to back that up (although you should keep in mind that leaks do not warrant the release of a smartphone, as such leaks are easily counterfeited). Fortunately for fans of both Sony and vanilla Android, today a picture of the Sony Nexus X (also referred to as the Sony Xperia Nexus in past rumors) allegedly broke out on Picasa today.

On to the company that Google now owns, Motorola has been rumored to release a Nexus smartphone ever since after the launch of the HTC Nexus One, and a Nexus tablet ever since they were bought by Google back in June last year. The Motorola Occam is rumored to be based on the Motorola RAZR HD Maxx, but we have no further leaks or rumors about it.

Samsung Nexus 10

Since back in late July, the Nexus program is not only about Android smartphones, but about tablets as well. According to a few rumors, following the major commercial success that Google encountered with their budget tablet, the Google Nexus 7, the search giant is now planning the first true iPad killer (I know I’ve hear that before) in the form of a 10-inch Nexus tablet manufactured by Samsung and expected to arrive in the first half of 2013.

New Google Nexus 7 Versions

Google Nexus 7 12GB 3G

As the Google Nexus 7 (manufactured by ASUS) is the best selling Nexus device of all times, it sure makes a lot of sense for Google to be planning planning an upgrade to its budget tablet in the form of extra internal storage space and 3G connectivity. A couple of rumors (as well as a hefty amount of logical consideration) claim that a 32 GB version of the Nexus 7 is already in the works and should arrive by the end of October.

One additional rumor that we should take into consideration is the possibility of a $99 Google Nexus 7 tablet model being released at some point in the fourth quarter of 2012. Digitimes were the first to circulate the rumor, but ASUS was quick to deny their implication. However, another Digitimes post claims that the $99 Nexus 7 will be manufactured by the Taiwan-based manufactured called Quanta Computer, and will come with dumbed down specs such as a single core processor and a display of lower quality than that of the ASUS version of the Nexus 7. Digitimes has a shady reputation when it comes to such rumors, so take this bit of info with a couple more proverbial grains of salt!

And now…

Now the only thing to do is wait! While it wouldn’t be absurd for all these rumors to actually come true, chances are that some of them are made up, while some of them might be distorting the truth to a certain degree or another. In the back of my head, I already planned for such an avalanche of Nexus rumors during October since the WSJ article back in May, the first indication that Google might be planning on releasing multiple Nexus devices by the end of the year. There are plenty of people who just try to mess up our expectations by spreading false rumors or by counterfeiting leaks, and, unfortunately, there is no way telling which way is up in this type of context.

Since the only reasonable thing we can do now is wait, make sure you put that extra spare time you now have to good use: drop us a comment in the section below and let us know what would you like to see from the next Nexus smartphones and tablets. As always, gloves off !