Now that Apple has announced the new iPhone 5 and pre-orders have commenced, we can begin to—hopefully—look to the next device on the horizon, that being the next Nexus device. Over the past two years, we’ve been treated to a new Nexus towards the end of the year with the Nexus S in December of 2010 and the Galaxy Nexus in November of 2011. So we should, assuming Google continues this trend, see another device within the next 3 months, which also means leaks and/or info should begin to surface. As I briefly discussed in our first podcast, Google really needs to offer something special with the next Nexus. For whatever reason, the past few Nexus devices haven’t been barn burners or hot sellers, despite the Android community claiming a pure device is the way to go. For some folks Android is the premier mobile OS, it certainly has a lot of interesting features, but when it comes to the device’s exterior, they haven’t exactly screamed, “must have.”
When the Galaxy Nexus was released last year, it featured only a slightly modified camera, but it was still a 5-megapixel sensor, the same size as the Nexus S from a year prior. The iPhone 4S, released a month before the GNex and even other Android devices released around the same time, all featured an 8-megapixel camera. On top of that, the processor, a TI OMAP, wasn’t exactly the fastest on the market, leading many to ask Samsung—the manufacturer of the Galaxy Nexus—why didn’t they use their faster Exynos chip. The device was okay, a little bulky and while the display was nice, large and clear, it was still a PenTile display. Overall, the Galaxy Nexus was a nice phone, not stellar, but nice. But nice isn’t going to cut it this year, the competition is to fierce.
If Google wants the Nexus brand to be the premier Android device, they need to step it up. It’s unclear who will be picked to manufacturer the new Nexus, we’ve heard rumors that it could be Samsung again (for a third time) and we’ve also heard rumors of an entire Nexus line, one device from each of the top Android manufacturers. Whatever the case may be, we need to not only see some great specs, we need to see a design that can hang with Apple’s iPhone 5. The iPhone enjoys so much success because it doesn’t just appeal to the hardcore tech geeks, it appeals to teens, college kids, 30 to 40 year olds, parents, grandparents, male and female. It has become not only an easy to use, powerful little device, but status symbol. Let’s face it, the iPhone is “the” smartphone. When you can pick up accessories at places like Walgreens and CVS, including cases, speaker docks and more, you know the phone is everywhere. It doesn’t hurt that the iPhone’s exterior is something that Apple slaves over. Google needs to insist that whoever makes the new Nexus, they spend a little more time designing an exterior that is appealing, one that is made of industrial components, use fresh new metals like magnesium for a light, yet tough exterior. They need to create a design that when placed next to an iPhone, makes people gasp and rethink Android. The Nexus needs to feel solid in your hand, quality needs to drip from it. Enough with the cheap, flimsy plastics or plastics with a “faux” metal paint job. Give customers a device that exudes quality and refinement. Once they have that, then jam in 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 10-megapixel camera, a quad-core processor with LTE support and an HD display, one that doesn’t feature a PenTile matrix—HTC did it with the One X, so it can be done. Finally, release it on all four major carriers at the exact same time, enough with this exclusivity crap, they money may line their pockets, but it screws over the customer and limits the device’s reach. The phone needs to be everywhere and it needs a massive marketing push, if it’s Google’s Nexus, Google needs to man up and pay for the ad space, everywhere… on trains, planes, bus stops, TV, billboards… everywhere.
I think the Nexus can be like the iPhone, if not better. It’s an annual device, meaning customers won’t have buyers remorse two months down the road, unlike with some Android devices. It has a name and logo that customers can remember and grow with, it just needs a little TLC. Google needs to stop treating it like just a developer’s device and treat it like the device it was meant to be, the smartphone that defines Android.