I'm getting the new Nexus phone!

Image: XDA
The Nexus brand is quite unique. It's the most beloved brand among the Android enthusiasts, and despite being the purest brand of Android devices in the market, it's probably one of the least known brands among the global Android community. Being made and marketed by Google, most people don't know what a Nexus is. As a result of that, they don't even know what stock Android looks like. Ask any random Android user what brand of phone they are using, chances are you'll hear Samsung. Ask them what version of Android they are using, they'll say TouchWiz. Jelly Bean? 4.2? They won't have a clue. I began my Android journey with a HTC One X. Before making the purchase, I was deciding between the One X and the Galaxy SIII. I didn't know what the Galaxy Nexus was at the time. Not until about 4-5 months into Android did I discover and understand what a Nexus was, and what stock Android was. Now, after more than a year on Android, I am a Nexus fan. My One X has been running custom ROMs based on AOSP for a few months, and I'm also rocking a Nexus 7. Needless to say, when it's time to upgrade my phone I'll be getting a Nexus. With a few months to go until the new model is released, I thought it would be fun to share and discuss what I hope and expect the next Nexus phone will bring to the table. 

Will LG get another chance? Image: Google
This will most probably be the most important of all the other points I'm about to make. Every aspect of the phone will of course depend on who manufactures it. Personally, I would like either Sony or HTC to make it. I just feel like Sony deserve the honour of making the Nexus after all the support they have shown for the AOSP and towards the development community. HTC on the other hand, I think could use all the help they could get to reclaim some of their lost supremacy in the Android kingdom. Personally I feel like they make great devices too. My One X still looks awesome even after a year of use without a case, and the One is touted by many to be the best built Android phone to date. Having said all that, I have a feeling that LG will be given a second chance at the Nexus phone, just because of the patterns that have emerged in the Nexus line. Including the original Android phone - the HTC Dream (G1) - each Nexus manufacturer was selected two years in a row. The Dream was followed by the Nexus One, next was Samsung with the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. If you look at the Nexus 7, the same pattern is present as ASUS made the Nexus 7 two years in a row. Unless things change at Google, it's highly likely we'll see another LG-made Nexus smartphone this year.

Build quality & design
Google and ASUS stuck to roughly the same design as last year for the new Nexus 7, and I expect the same will hold true for the new Nexus phone, assuming LG are chosen to make it. ASUS kept the same basic design and made some improvements to the device like making it narrower, thinner and lighter. The back of the tablet was also made of a slightly different material. Dual speakers instead of mono is another welcome improvement. I both hope and expect the new Nexus phone to be marginally thinner, narrower and lighter as well. The Nexus 4 is a bit wide in my opinion. I also hope the glass back of the Nexus 4 is replaced with something else a bit more durable. The overall design of the phone will still be sexy, with curves in all the right places. Oh and front facing speakers! I'd like them to be included, but I don't see it happening.

Arguably the most important component of modern smartphones. If the new Nexus 7 proved anything, it's that Google take screen resolution seriously. Not only did they bump up the resolution of the Nexus 7, they made it the highest resolution tablet in the 7" category. It even has the highest ppi among all tablets. So for the new Nexus phone I expect it to be at least 1920x1080 resolution. It might stay 4.7", could be bumped up to 5". I hope it stays 4.7". IPS LCD technology, not AMOLED preferably. 
Can we expect a similar resolution bump for the Nexus phone? Image: Mobiles Pie

Internal specs
The thing that has divided the tech community into two very vocal parties ever since the launch of the Moto X. Are specs the most important part of the device? Well for Nexus devices, they never were; it was always more about the stock experience. But that doesn't mean that Google skimps on the specs sheet. Last year's Nexus 7 was the industry's first quad-core tablet, the Nexus 10 had (still has) one of the highest resolutions in the market, and the Nexus 4 had everything to make it a flagship phone (except LTE). The new Nexus 7 keeps the ball rolling and I expect the next Nexus phone to be just as well powered as we can expect it to be; which means a Snapdragon 800 SoC, at least 2GB of RAM, a non-removable battery with a capacity around 2500 mAh, 16/32GB storage (no SD card as usual) and LTE support.

A bump to 13MP and some image stabilisation perhaps will be the most notable improvements. The new camera app was already released in 4.3, with improvements to photosphere as well, so I don't expect any major improvement software wise in the new Nexus. Maybe some kind of new camera technology to go with the MP bump? Something like HTC's Ultrapixel or Motorola's Clear Pixel camera. Something to get the mobile photographers excited.

How important will KLP be? Image: GSM Nation
The essence of a Nexus. It's what makes a Nexus a Nexus. The latest version of Android will ship with the new Nexus phone, and after 3 flavours of Jelly Bean, I really hope we get some pie this time around. Two years ago, the Galaxy Nexus changed Android with ICS, and as much as I hope this year's Nexus phone does the same with Key Lime Pie (Android 5.0), I don't think we'll be in for too many surprises. Since Google I/O 2013, Google have made a statement; you don't need to be on the latest version of Android to receive the most important updates. Google+ integration into games, a native malware scanner and the Android Device Manager are but a few examples of updates that Google pushed to all Android users (2.2 and up) via Google Play Services, and not via an OS update. KLP might bring some new design cues and introduce some new system-wide functionality, as well as even more battery optimisation and performance upgrades (moar butter!), but that's probably it. If anything, I expect Google Now to be integrated even deeper into Android, similar to how Motorola did with the Moto X. Will we receive a Nexus with always-on voice detection? Probably not - especially without a chip like Moto's X8 chip - but some deeper integration is definitely possible.

UPDATE 4/9/2013: Well, looks like Android 5.0 KLP is actually Android 4.4 KitKat. At least it's not another flavour of JellyBean. I'm excited!

I am 99% certain that I will be getting the next Nexus phone to replace my One X. Unless the "cheaper" Moto X variant is something spectacularly amazing, which I doubt. Nexus fans should pay special attention to the LG event coming up. The Nexus 4 has a lot in common with the Optimus G, and if LG do indeed make the next Nexus phone, chances are it'll share a lot with the G2 as well. Of course, I could be completely off base here and nothing I predicted comes true. Which I'm OK with. I'll probably still get the Nexus no matter what. The Nexus brand has my trust.

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