Ever since Google acquired smartphone manufacturer Motorola, conversations about the two companies have become a bit more confusing. It was assumed that with Google at the helm, Motorola would begin pumping out vanilla Android handsets for its new paymaster, but it seems that the firm is intent on keeping its identity distinct rather than becoming the sole provider of Google-branded handsets.
Google Nexus smartphones have previously come from a number of different sources, with companies including HTC, Samsung and LG all bearing responsibility for the hardware, while leaving Google free to use its own Android software without any third party interfacial adornments. But now the question is whether or not Motorola will be taking over Nexus duties and creating the next phone to follow up from last year’s Nexus 4, or whether Google will look to another company entirely.
Moto X Machinations
Google has put to bed many of the rumours surrounding the new Nexus smartphone following its recent announcement of the Motorola Moto X, a mid-range smartphone device which is to be built and sold in the US. The Motorola X price should be surprisingly affordable as a result of its use of a 720p display rather than one with full HD 1080p capabilities. It also has a dual core CPU rather than a quad core chip like the true high-end Android heavy hitters, while the promise of allowing buyers to completely customise the design, right down to choosing the colour of the phone, hints at its youth-oriented aspirations.
The Moto X manages to stick fairly closely to the standard Android Jelly Bean user experience, which means that it is fairly similar to the Nexus 4 when it comes to interface and should match Google’s next flagship device, whenever the Nexus 5 release date and name are actually announced. Because Google has a handle on Motorola’s operations and products today, there should be minimal delays in the release of Android updates as soon as they are made available. The same cannot be said for other manufacturers, which tend to take weeks or months to roll out their own versions of these fresh software suites.
Android Key Lime Pie should succeed Android Jelly Bean 4.3 at some point, presumably hitting the Motorola X and whatever Nexus handset Google has fashioned. However, Android 5 features and its release date remain a mystery, since it now seems likely that it will not actually emerge until 2014.
Nexus Sequel Rumours
So if the Motorola Moto X is not actually going to be the new Google Nexus smartphone, which is a possibility, what are the latest rumours about the real contender to the throne of the Nexus 4?
Reports from GforGames suggest that LG is going to be back in charge of the hardware for the Nexus 5, in spite of the fact that it published a statement denying its involvement in this project a couple of months ago.
The Nexus 5 will allegedly be based on the same hardware that underpins the LG G2. This means it will have a 5.2 inch full HD 1080p display and a quad core Snapdragon 800 processor which is compatible with 4K Ultra HD resolutions for high-res playback and video capture. This will make it larger and more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is the current benchmark for smartphone specifications.
What will make Google’s replacement for the Nexus 4 all the more attractive is that, like its predecessor, it should also be priced at the lower end of the spectrum than would be suggested by its cutting edge components. Google is still willing to take a hit on profit in order to make sure that its smartphones sell well and are established as viable alternatives to their biggest rivals, while also acting as platforms to promote the standard Android experience.
For the time being the official Google smartphone for 2013 remains a mystery. You could argue that the Motorola Moto X falls into this category, although since it is not yet on sale in the UK and has mid-range hardware on board, it is not really going to stand out as an innovator in this respect. Hopefully all will become clear in the next couple of months, since the autumn launch window of the new Nexus handset seems set to remain consistent this year.