Do Nexus 4 shortages signal an early arrival of the Nexus 5?


The Nexus 4, codenamed “Mako”, is the fourth fourth Nexus-branded Android-powered smartphone to hit the market. The phone was designed by Google and is manufactured by LG Electronics. It’s my daily driver and still holds its own against the latest-and-greatest flagship devices from the other OEMs.

Nexus 4 Shortages

Since its introduction on October 29, 2012 and subsequent launch on November 13th, the Nexus 4 has had supply issues, selling out in minutes in some markets, and not to returning for weeks on end. A white version of the flagship phone was announced in the end of May, 2013, and offered for sale through Google’s Play Store. Just recently it was removed and is “no longer available for sale” from the Play Store.

Google often uses new devices to introduce new versions of the Android operating system. We’ve seen Android 4.3 peeking around the corner for some time now, and we still expect Android 5.0 before the end of the year — though at this point, anything could happen.

I’m beginning to wonder if “the next Nexus” may be scheduled to arrive sooner than later.

Android 4.3

This iterative version of Android hasn’t been officially released, but we’re starting to see leaked ROMs make their way around the Internet. From what we’ve seen, the new version includes bug-fixes as well as some pretty cool new features.

We’ve seen Notification Listener Events, which sound somewhat boring, but bring better communication and features to apps and devices that receive notifications from your phone or tablet. Devices like the Pebble and other smart watches, all the way down to apps like Floating Notifications are designed to receive your notifications, and present them to you in new and handy ways. The method through which current apps handle this is through an “accessibility service” — something, as the name implies, that was designed to assist people with disabilities to use their devices. Generally speaking, accessibility services are unidirectional — they can only send information to the device or app, not the other way around. Furthermore, certain manufacturers have buggy implementations of the accessibility service, causing phones like the Galaxy S 4 to “talk to you” whenever you load a web page (for example) if you’re using a Pebble, Floating Notifications, or something similar.

Bluetooth 4.0 is something I’ve written about quite a bit in the past. In short: it’s great, it’s the future, and it’s long overdue on Android. Sure, some manufacturers (like Samsung, for example) have included BT4.0 in their custom versions of Android, but Google’s been slow to build the necessary code into the core Android codebase. This, if everything we’ve seen pans out, will change with the release of Android 4.3.

Another neat feature is the ability to sort apps by frequency of use, so apps that you don’t use much will appear lower in your app drawer than those that you use all the time. No, it’s not a radical shift, but it’s a nice tweak, if it turns out to be true.

The fact that Android 4.3 hasn’t been officially released yet is starting to raise some eyebrows.

Android 5.0

Key Lime Pie, as we suspect it will be called, is also on the horizon. We don’t know what’s going to be in it. We don’t know when it’s going to be released. We had our suspicions, but they’ve proven unfounded.

In the meantime, with iOS7 nearing completion, some of us are beginning to think that Google may be timing things to compete with Apple’s new OS when it’s finally released.

On to predictions!

Given all that, here is how the puzzle is beginning to look for me.

The last Nexus was released in the last few months of last year. We’re currently three months away from the same time this year.

Android 4.3 hasn’t been officially released, and we’re hearing less and less about Android 5.0 as time progresses.

I suspect we’ll get a Nexus 5 announcement sometime in October, with availability the following month. That phone will likely be running the final Android 4.3 code. However, with the Android 4.3 leaks beginning to become more numerous, part of me suspects the code could be complete now.

With the apparent Nexus 4 shortages and the phone starting to disappear from the Play Store, we might be lucky and get a Nexus 5 running Android 4.3 in the next few months.

Here’s to hoping!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.