By Stephen Schenck | March 26, 2013 7:12 AM
Google announced the Nexus 4 in late October and kicked-off sales of the Android smartphone just a few weeks later, on November 13. Those first couple months of availability were a mess, and plenty of interested buyers weren’t able to get their hands on the Nexus 4 they wanted. By early January, LG and Google were only just starting to get the Nexus 4 stock situation under control… and rumors of the Nexus 5 were already arriving.
By now, those rumors have really picked up steam, and we’ve been talking about manufacturers, specs, and have had a few attempts at “press renders” to check out. I’m all for some juicy rumors, but I’ve got a bad feeling that there is absolutely nothing of substance to these reports, and we’ve got a nice, long wait ahead of us before any genuine Nexus 5 (if that even will be the phone’s name) info surfaces. Everybody needs to calm the heck down.
Google is not a company that needs to rush things. It has the resources that allow it to build an idea gradually, like we’re seeing with Google Glass, which has been taking its sweet time in maturing from a concept, to developer hardware, and finally to a commercial product later this year. While those resources also give it the ability to act quickly when it needs to, I don’t think this is one of these times, and we’ve no reason to suspect it will deviate from its traditional annual Nexus phone release schedule.
Now granted, Google’s been seriously mixing-up the Nexus lineup lately, introducing first one tablet, and then a pair of tablets, while also taking a stab at something new with the Nexus Q (clearly, having plenty of time to develop a device is no assurance that its launch will be a success). While that could signal that we’ve entered an era where anything goes, I’ll believe it when I see it. As things stand, the Nexus S followed the Nexus One by eleven months, the Galaxy Nexus followed the Nexus S by eleven months, and the Nexus 4 followed the Galaxy Nexus by twelve months. If anything, the trend seems to be that the wait is getting slightly longer, not significantly shorter.
As a result, I’m extremely hesitant to put any faith in rumors claiming that a new Nexus could arrive this summer. Frankly, I just don’t see the need for it; the Nexus 4 may be starting to show its age, but it’s still a highly capable smartphone by most estimations, and there hasn’t been the arrival of any new killer feature which it lacks. Sure, now 1080p screens and A15 chips are the new hottness, but Google already showed restraint when having LG craft the Nexus 4; just look at the disabled LTE radio. There’s no need for a Nexus phone to have EVERY hardware option available.
Instead, I’m betting that this summer brings a new Nexus tablet (and we’ve certainly heard rumors to that effect) as well as some new Android software. After all, we saw Jelly Bean debut with the Nexus 7 last summer, and I don’t know why we should expect any significant deviation from a repeat of that general situation this year.
All of this is made a little more complicated by rumors of the Motorola X phone, which despite multiple assurances from Google personnel that we’re still a way’s off from seeing the first Motorola hardware imagined while under Google’s leadership, continues to conjure-up notions that it’s something of a special Nexus-y Android. While I’m willing to believe that we’ll actually witness this model launch this summer, I’m just not seeing the signs that it has anything to do with the Nexus lineup.
You know, maybe Google will throw Motorola a bone and let the X phone introduce Key Lime Pie for smartphones. It’s not the craziest idea, and while I don’t think Google would let Motorola take all the Android 5.0 spotlight, it could be announced with Key Lime Pie at the same time Google launches its new Nexus tablet. Of course, we’d see the software arrive for the Nexus 4 just a short while thereafter, but it might be a way to ease Motorola into its new position under Google.
Think about the rumors leading up to the launch of the Nexus 4, and all that talk about multiple Nexus models. We didn’t get a solid look at the hardware until just a few weeks before it launched. The first real press render didn’t arrive until a single week before the Nexus 4 was officially unveiled. The idea that we’d be getting good info on the Nexus 5 already is a little delusional, even if it was going to premiere this summer, which I doubt.
So, let’s all just take a deep breath. We will hear compelling rumors of the next Nexus phone. Information will leak. But this far out, we’re only dealing with speculation. Let’s give it a rest until there’s something real to work with.