Google finally (holy shit that was really, really getting on my nerves) announced the Nexus 5, one of the most anticipated Nexus smartphones ever. To back the hype up, the California-based company did pretty much everything right with the phone but the camera. The announcement came with a blog post (!).
Now, I’m certainly going to buy the new Nexus flagship, but until then, I am going to have to appease myself with, Before I jump in, a look at the specs:
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 5″ IPS Plus True HD display, 1920×1080 pixels, ~445 PPI
- 2.3 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU
- 8 MP main camera, LED flash, 1080p recording, Optical Image Stabilization; front facing 1.3 MP camera
- 2 GB RAM, 16 and 32 GB internal memory, non-expandable
- Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, LTE
- 2,300 mAh battery, micro-SIM
I’m pretty satisfied with the specs on paper. The battery capacity does seem a bit on the lower side, but the S800 processor is more frugal than its predecessors, so I’m not really worried about it at the moment.
That is about the Nexus 5. You can place an order for the device in the Play Store. The 16GB version is available for $349, and the 32GB version for $399. Google has cool looking cases for the device too, each for $39, and there’s a QuickCover, aka flip cover, for $49. The phone itself comes in two colours – white and black, both of which look great.
Google has listed the Nexus 5 as ‘Coming soon’ right now in India, but the prices are way higher here, what with the 16 GB version costing ₹28,999 and the 32 GB version costing ₹32,999. That’s a difference of ~7.5k and ~8.5k respectively, which is quite significant.
Moving on to Android 4.4 KitKat, we have a bevy of changes, from the UI to the underpinnings of the OS itself.
- Google has reduced the usage of Holo blue, which honestly is a good change. The status and navigation bars are now transparent, and the status bar text (the battery icon, time, other icons etc) are now white instead of Holo blue.
- The launcher itself hasn’t changed a lot, except for a few UI tweaks. There’s no dock separator now. There are dots to indicate the homescreen number, though. Coming to the App drawer, there’s no widget tab anymore. Actually, there are no tabs anymore.
- The lockscreen now has a clock which has its Hours and Minutes font weight equal, unlike in 4.2+ up to 4.3.1.
- Google has started optimizing Android for lower-end devices, finally, beginning KitKat. The new version of Android should run smoothly even on devices with just 512 MB of RAM, and although it isn’t going to benefit the majority right now, it’s a step in the right direction. We should start seeing the benefits of this in 2014.
- One more healthy change in Android 4.4 is the new Phone app, which doesn’t only include Smart dialing, but it can even search for contacts in all your Google accounts you’ve added on the phone, and nearby places. When someone calls you, Google will look up their information in its Maps database and provide you with more information right on the call screen, including a photo, if available. That could be useful, but don’t expect any non-business numbers to show up from here. Cool, nonetheless.
- Hangouts now has SMS integration, as has been rumoured since forever.
- Speech recognition in Google Now is now 25% more accurate, and allows you to perform actions using hotwords/keywords. As Google continues to update it, it will include contextual cards in the future. The best virtual assistant is getting even better, faster than the competition.
There’s a lot more to Android 4.4 KitKat under the hood, which you can
read over at the Android Developers blog, in much more detail.
Even though KitKat is optimized for low-powered devices, the adequately-powered Galaxy Nexus has fallen out of Google’s favour, since it has lapsed the 18-month support window. That is the official reason from Google, provided in a Support question.
To summarize –
- Google Nexus 5 – 5″ True HD display, Android 4.4 KitKat –
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16/32 GB, $349/$399
- Android 4.4 KitKat – transparent nav and status bars, new icons, optimized for low-powered devices with 512 MB RAM, Hangouts SMS integration, contextual Google Now cards
Hopefully that is enough to bring you back from the woods.
If it isn’t, here’s the first official video from Google.
Here’s where you can buy the Nexus 5 – Google Play.