Is Google crowd-sourcing the Nexus 5 announcement?
Many of you have been getting pretty fed up with the endless rumors with little verifiable information concerning the Nexus 5; and frankly, we've been getting pretty tired of it around here too. I can't even tell you how often I started a column yesterday that had a title somewhere in the realm of "I'm done, I'm out, I don't f***ing care about the f***ing Nexus 5 anymore. I'll get excited again when it is real." But, I held back on that urge partially because it isn't very professional to have that many f-bombs in a column title, but also because I would have felt like an idiot had I written out my rage only to have the official announcement of the device happen today.
The general consensus seems to be that the Nexus 5 will finally be announced today, and that announcement will likely happen very very shortly (possibly just as I hit "publish" on this column, at which point it will be lost in the flood of news). But, I've had a thought for the last week or so that has taken a bit of a transformation today, and I wanted to share it.
The original thought was this: "Is Google delaying the announcement in order to give Kit Kat (the candy) more traffic?" As we all know, the tie-in between Kit Kat and Android has caused a number of theories and a ton of traffic going to the Kit Kat website, Facebook page, and Twitter account, all looking for clues about when Google would finally make the announcement. That original thought was very cynical, possibly not wrong, but definitely cynical.
The reality is that October 31st was likely the plan all along, meaning there was no cynical "delaying" being done by Google. Halloween has become a day all about candy, so what better day to unveil Android 4.4 KitKat and the flagship devices that will launch with it? Because of this thought, my original cynical theory transformed into the idea that Google never intended on having a bit involved announcement for the new device, and maybe Google just wanted to use the power of the crowd to get the word out.
To be fair, this is not an original idea, though Google may have played the game in a new way. Apple has always used the rumor mill to generate excitement for new products. In the Steve Jobs era, the rumor mill was used because Apple was extremely secretive and tended to not let things leak unless it was necessary. In the Tim Cook era, Apple has become sloppier. I can't say that Apple has been intentionally leaking as much info as we are getting, because Apple's signature is still the big involved event to announce the new devices; and, those events are dulled quite a bit by the fact that we know all there is to know before we see Tim Cook take the stage.
But, the Nexus 5 rumor mill has been different. There were enough leaks six weeks ago that designers were able to put together a 3D render of the device. We have essentially known the specs for weeks as well, although the more official-looking confirmations didn't arrive until this past week. A couple days ago, there were so many press renders leaked that another 360-view of the Nexus 5 was built. The only mysteries were in the details of Android 4.4, and what to expect from the Nexus 10.
And, now today, we've gotten a few leaks concerning Android 4.4 and what to expect from that, not to mention tons more leaks from people around the world who "magically" got their hands on a new Nexus 5 before Google officially announced anything. One way or another, Google has obviously been seeding the information to various sources throughout this process, then Google has let us take it from there.
This has worked so well because the Nexus line is designed for the tech elite, it is made for the uber-geeks, and those of us who may have just a bit too much time to dedicate to following tech news (or those of us who decided to turn that time-consuming habit into a job). So, we were all too eager to take it upon ourselves to build 3D models, and dissect every bit of evidence for clues. Sure, there were plenty of dead ends and false hopes, but there was enough real information that an accurate picture of what was coming came through. And, because of how long the process went on, many of us are at the point where we don't even want the big announcement event from Google (though it may still happen). We just want the Nexus 5. We did a lot of work to get here, and it's almost time for the reward.