The Nexus 4 is coming on half a year old and, as is tradition in the industry, rumours of its demise and successor are already making the rounds. The latest rumour to surface places the fifth Nexus smartphone once more in the grasp of LG who, along with Google, are working with Nikon to create the ultimate smartphone-based camera sensor and lens combo.
The Nexus products have always lacked competitive cameras, despite the Nexus 4 promising otherwise. With a screen size of between 5.0 and 5.2-inches, the internal specs vary depending on whom you ask; some say it will come with a Snapdragon 600 processor while others are pointing at the beastly Snapdragon 800, the latter expected to begin shipping by the end of the year.
Of course the Nexus 5, or whatever it will be called, will be upgraded to a 1080p display — you can expect all high-end Android phones to join the Full HD ranks soon enough — but, along with the high-res display, bringing it to 5-inches may put it in the phablet space more than the smartphone one. And, yes, I’m fully aware the Galaxy S4 is the same size, and the HTC One is a tall 4.7, but the Nexus is supposed to be a developer phone, and there is a size limit to what most users want in their pockets. If the average Android smartphone is 5-inches a year from now, we have a big problem on our hands. Not because there’s a problem with that size inherently, but because many users don’t want a phone that large; only low- and mid-range devices, usually with pitiful specs, seem to be released in sizes under 4.6-inches these days.
This is just conjecture — one rumour points to the Nexus 5 having 3GB of RAM and a 3100mAh battery, which is just ridiculous — but it speaks to the kinds of feeds and speeds mentality many pundits still have when it comes to Android devices. Samsung and HTC have been moving away from that line of marketing, opting instead to focus on real-world features. Devices like the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III — even the Galaxy Nexus to some extent — are still very fast, capable devices that have plenty of headroom in all but the most graphics-intensive applications. The days where you can expect monumental objective and subjective performance improvements from a new ARM chip are over; going from a Snapdragon S4 Pro to a Snapdragon 600 is not the same as jumping from a single- to dual-core SoC a couple of years ago.
No point in getting ahead of ourselves, though; the next Nexus announcement is likely months away, at the very least. But if Google can work with a company like Nikon to dramatically improve the quality of its camera, the one major sore spot (besides lack of LTE and poor battery life) on the Nexus 4, its successor could be a very covetable product.