Monday, September 17, 2012

Speculating on the Google Galaxy Nexus II - Part 1

Rumor is Google will be building three Nexus phones this year, which should be on sale be the end of the year. One Nexus, to be built by Sony, is rumored to be focus on the camera. A second Nexus, to be built by LG is said to be a waterproof and dust proof Nexus phone. The the third, well it would be the successor of the Google Galaxy Nexus, and is rumored to be built by Samsung.

Windows Phone 8 devices now match the specifications of high end Android phones. The new 4-inch Apple iPhone 5 basically matches the specifications of what a high end 4-inch Android would be like (if high end 4-inch Android phones were still constructed, the smallest high end Android phones these days are 4.3-inches). What should Google do with its next Galaxy Nexus S?

Where Google should maintain the status quo.

4.65-inch display. The 4.65 inch display of the Google Galaxy Nexus, with the onscreen keys is about the equivalent of a 4.4-inch display with dedicated hardware buttons. It is not a monster phone anymore by current Android standards These days, 4.7 to 4.8 inch displays with dedicated hardware buttons are the new Android monster phones. Google could come out with a 5-inch phone with dedicates software keys. This would essentially be a Samsung Galaxy S III with on-screen keys. But I think Google should leave the monster smartphone clash to its OEM's. The large a phone gets, the more it serves a niche market. 

Instead Google should focus on building a slightly smaller frame around its current 4.65-inch display. Cut 1-2 mm from the width, and 2-4 mm from the height, and give the same sized display in a smaller package. 

1GB of RAM. The Google Galaxy Nexus already has 1 GB of RAM. It could go to 2 GB's just to upstage the Apple iPhone 5 and it Windows Phone rivals. To me this would make little sense. A Nexus phone runs vanilla Android. Much lighter than the OEM versions with TouchWiz, Sense or other interface which eat more RAM. 

The Android OS should not evolve to something that needs more than 512 GB of RAM for at least the next version (Key Lime Pie) and not more than 1 GB of RAM for the 2014 version of Android. Google should keep its next Nexus to just 1 GB of RAM. Google should leave the 2 GB frontier to its OEM partners.

The processor. While you now have quad core Kraits and ARM Cortex-A15's being available, for the same reason that Google's Galaxy Nexus need not have 2 GB of RAM, it also does not have to come with the most spectacular processor. The Qualcomm's S4 with its dual core Kraits in would be a fine option. If Samsung or Nvidia can get an on-chip LTE solution in their chipsets on time, a Exynos quad or quad core Tegra 3, a quad core chip would be a strong marketing point, though not necessarily better than an Qualcomm S4.

The cheap feeling case. Whether you make a case from aluminum or plastic or some other premium quality material, if you want to remove the last trace of creak in a case, it is easy remove the battery cover. But Android owners expect a user replaceable battery, and a bit of creak is worth having the option to replace batteries or replace it with an extended battery.

So basically, what I am describing here so far is a Google Galaxy Nexus with an updated processor in a trimmed down package. But there are some area where Google should make substantial changes, to one up the competition.

Part 2 of this article is here.


  1. What is the difference between nexus phones and other android phones? Does nexus phones will surely get all the software updates by google? And other android phones will not?

    1. Google directly releases software updates for its Nexus phones, and now the Sony Xperia S as well.

      Software updates for other phones depends on the manufacturers and carriers.


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