Google's Nexus concept overhaul due in November: lead phones with stock Android, manufacturer UI on the side

Google's Nexus concept overhaul due in November: lead phones with stock Android, manufacturer UI on the side
A few separate sources today are confirming what we heard from the WSJ earlier this year - that Google's Nexus phone program is about to be completely overhauled, and perhaps that is the reason we haven't heard the usual rumors about the new Nexus phone reaching a crescendo level at this time of the year.

The sources point out that Google will be setting up a whole new Nexus program now, in which any major manufacturer can participate with the best they can offer, but will have to adhere to strict guidelines.

The major news here is that all the stock Android Nexuses, regardless of the manufacturer, will have their UI overlays that supposedly differentiate the brands, as just a theme available via a separate customization center. It was high time, if you ask us, and something millions of Android users have been demanding for a while now.

Moving on, we find the info that those new Nexus phones will be running an upgrade from Jelly Bean, numbered 4.2, and will have to include some hardware requirements that will get in use for a major Android 5.0 release, which is slated for next fall. Android 4.2, which may or may not be called Key Lime Pie, will bring minor changes to Jelly Bean, like presenting the homescreens as tabs, improved power management, integrated Play Store app, and some under the hood Nexus-y stuff that will be the basis for the next major Android release. 

Perhaps the biggest change will be the Customization Center we mentioned above, a native theme manager, which will allow you switching to the manufacturer UI overlay, if you are so inclined.

As to who will make those Nexus phones with the new concept - the LG Optimus G Nexus got confirmed for the umpteenth time, but also the Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2 is bandied about, as well as phones from Sony and HTC are claimed as potential partners, and the whole lot is said to hit shelves in November, just in time to rain on the Windows Phone 8 Lumia, ATIV and HTC parade. 

Let's not forget that November 5 is Android's fifth birthday since the announcement, so celebrating with a new Nexus program seems fitting. Andy Rubin is expected to talk about the new Nexus program at the AllThingsD: conference later this month, but the actual phones that participate are said to be unveiled in November.

Basically, the take is that we might have the lead phones of some Android manufacturers this holiday season sold with stock Android, and a theme manager to install the manufacturer interface as a personal choice, which can be reverted. Makes great sense, since everyone can choose their favorite design/hardware combo, and be sure that as soon as a newer Android version gets released, they will be first in line, with the manufacturer overlays out of the way.

Microsoft, which Nokia yesterday said is unlikely to make a better WP8 device than the Finns, if it eventually goes the Surface Phone way, is rumored to take an entirely opposite approach, and has allegedly already booked Pegatron for production of the Surface Phone, which might be coming by next summer.

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61 Comments

1. VJo003

Posts: 365; Member since: Mar 11, 2012

Power to the customer Android FTW !!!

7. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Freedom is what Google has been all about! This is going to be a game-changer! new hardware for Android 5.0....looks like I'll have to hold up buying the Note 2 for now till November at least :)

25. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

its gonna be pre awesomeness...!!!

27. ZEUS.the.thunder.god unregistered

*pure

35. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

My Dream Nexus: 5.3 INCH SCREEN (1080P) S4 Pro Quad 2GB Ram 3000+ mAH battery Super AMOLED HD / SLCD 2 Android 4.2 (update to 5.0 soon!) 2MP FRONT Cam S Pen/ Stylus prefereed (love Note 2 optimiizations) 13mp rear cam no physical buttons chassis - metal and plastic combo (plastic for better reception)

48. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

I think the Note II and the Optimus G will have the specs to handle 5.0. Even XPERIA T will. But of course it's safe to wait and see what NEXUS has up their sleeve for us. Can't wait.

50. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

I agree with you. i am pretty sure the optimus g and note 2 can handle it...what worries me though is why did google tell the nexus manufacturers to make "certain" hardware changes to take full advantage of android 5.0? note 2 can even crunch android 6.0 but it cant grow an extra part for hardware :)

51. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

We'll most likely find out in a month or so.

58. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

hmmm seeing the reds u r getting without any reason it seems some1 doesnt like u !!

60. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

lol, oh well.

2. Packer29

Posts: 56; Member since: Sep 10, 2011

This is going to be awesome stock Android ftw!

3. evil_slayer

Posts: 50; Member since: Nov 23, 2011

that's awesome! can't wait

4. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Can't wait for next month. Time for Google to steal the spotlight. Maybe there will be a new device in the top spot for smartphone of the year?

5. cGmC11

Posts: 152; Member since: Apr 02, 2012

WOW it's a dream come true! ...anyone will be carrier exclusive or will cost you $799 unlocked and activate it with your pref carrier? AT&T consumers already have a busy holiday season this year with the Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, HTC One X+, Sony Xperia TL, HTC 8X, LG Optimus G... and now a Nexus?

6. achangavi

Posts: 21; Member since: Jul 25, 2012

If google plays their cards right, and that includes standing up to the pesky carriers, this has the potential to benefit the android ecosystem tremendously. Think about it, right now carriers have complete control over every android handset in the US (with the exception of buying them unlocked), which means fragmentation, poor support, delayed updates, LACK of updates, etc. If we have multiple nexus devices on each carrier, which are ALL owned and operated by google (kind of like the iphone......yeah i said it), then all of the "fragmentation problems" can be reduced substantially, and the oversaturated android market can shrink down considerably to a few popular devices like the galaxy s line, and of course the nexuses. This is a good thing because updates would come much quicker, and it can significantly improve android's reputation!

20. pokharkarsaga

Posts: 545; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

5 different nexus launched with 5 different SOCs like Qualcomm,Exynos,Tegra,OMAP 5,Atom will be the best for quick latest updates on all carriers.

26. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

u sound mostly right but the Android device market would still be pretty saturated as the devices u mentioned are the top crop. But the lower pyramid is wider, has more demand for mid range or low end Android devices

8. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

One of the best moves by google!

9. wando77

Posts: 1166; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

5th birthday.......... FIVE nexus phones??

33. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

remember, remember the 5th of november.. i think if there were to be 5 nexus devices, they will be from Samsung (GNex 2), LG (Optimus G), Sony (?), HTC (OneX5?), Moto (Razr Nexus?)

10. wando77

Posts: 1166; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Samsung, Sony, HTC, motorola & LG?

14. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

yep this means we all can have OUR VERY OWN NEXUS to our own liking! simply amazing........dream come true? .........like dr king baby lol

22. Aeires unregistered

Bring on an Asus with Padfone docking capability to that mix as well. One can dream.

11. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

Glad we get to keep sony's launcher :) it rocks

12. rizevnarastek

Posts: 349; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

I really like the sound of that.... I'm tempted by the One X+ but this is making me want to wait... hope my phone lasts another month + time to release, it's LCD is starting to buckle :S

15. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

yea i think this is making us ALL want to wait lol we all been saying it.....and now it seems we were right.......NEXUS IS THE FUTURE OF ANDROID..... :)

17. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Hoping; LG Nexus = Optimus G with stock Samsung Nexus = GS3 with stock Motorola Nexus = Razr HD with stock (maybe a slightly better processor and more RAM for the spec hogs) HTC Nexus = One X+ with stock Sony Nexus = Xperia TX with stock Or you know, that super Nexus idea I had was nice.

43. XPERIA-KNIGHT unregistered

haha it all sounds nice man.........and im glad you mentioned the xperia TX instead of the T because the T doesnt have a removable battery :)

13. d3nster

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 02, 2012

Google Listens... thank god for that..lets wait for November shall we :D

16. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

This sounds nice, and something alot of ppl have been asking for. If it helps the update process, good.

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