No new Nexus from LG, Google Edition Galaxy S4, HTC rumors, is Google going to drop the Nexus line?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
No new Nexus from LG, Google Edition Galaxy S4, HTC rumors, is Google going to drop the Nexus line?
The news and rumors about Android, Nexus devices, HTC, Samsung and LG have been emerging at a pretty good clip leading up to, during and even after Google I/O 2013. Normally, leading up to major media events or conferences, rumors will gain specificity as expected announcement dates approach.

In this case however, the rumors are still all over the field and they are not stopping. HTC in particular has been the focus of much speculation about a “Nexus experience” or “Google Edition” offering of the excellent HTC One.

The HTC One has been put under particular scrutiny because the device is just really nicely built, and even with a few warts here and there, Sense 5.0 and BlinkFeed perform superbly. The front facing speakers are unlike anything on any other smartphone, and while the camera perhaps falls just a tad short of the marketing “UltraPixel” scheme, it still takes great pictures. Other nags are minimal, like no expandable storage (yes, we have all read the official line from HTC, but not everyone here buys that for reasons we will not discuss at this time).

LG was the focus of rumors related not only the now official white Nexus 4, but also the company’s plans about manufacturing the next generation Nexus handset for Google. Now that it looks like LG will not be embarking on that endeavor (depending on who you believe), it leaves the question as to who might be in line to build the next batch of hardware for Google. Or does it?

When Google announced the “Nexus experience” coming to the Samsung Galaxy S4, it was very well received at the Google I/O developer conference. Given the hardware that drives the S4, it will surely handle stock Android with no issues. Aside from its larger screen and better camera, the device brings LTE support and that is about it though. Will Google pursue this model in the future for a “pure Android experience?”

It is certainly possible, and there are a couple reasons why it is worth discussing. First, despite the success Google and LG have had with the Nexus 4 there were still a couple issues that plagued the sale of the device. First were the supply issues that LG had to contend with on a dedicated design. Then, Google’s own systems were not able to handle the demand much of the time. That was not Google’s first problem either. Previous generations of the Nexus line experienced similar issues. Given how much network traffic Google handles, it astonishes us that level of demand was able to frustrate Google Play’s systems.

One could argue that such success is reason alone to keep going, however, the same argument can be made that such demand is reason alone to try a different plan. Indeed, Google may have proven itself to be a victim of that success with its own subsidies to sell unlocked hardware below normal retail prices.

As to whether this will lead other manufacturers to follow suit, be careful what you wish for. For a device like the HTC One that relies so much of HTC’s software to deliver its experience it actually makes vanilla Android…well vanilla.

LG’s reasons to step back from the Nexus line are also understandable. The company sees the success that Samsung has been having and naturally it wants to pursue that same success. Samsung has been able to build a brand on top of Android and that image barely acknowledges the operating system at all. The Nexus line did not do anything to that image. LG needs to build and maintain its image along such lines as well, and with its recent purchase of webOS, it may have some interesting features to deliver.

We suspect that it was not too difficult for Google to iron out the deal for Samsung to bake stock Android into its newest flagship. The assembly line is already running, the hardware is the same, and flashing a bare bones OS is arguably easier to manage from a quality control standpoint. Orders for devices could be handled by Google or Samsung since they are unlocked and there is no manufacturer or carrier subsidy involved. Buyers know what they are getting when they purchase it and it does not feature any of the Samsung applications (no TV remote, no S-apps, etc). For the geeks, the Galaxy S4 running stock Android was arguably what they had asked for, top of the line specifications, decent (albeit plastic, yet “green”) all-around hardware, virtually no compromises.

Of course, there is still somewhat of a compromise because of the absence of the S-apps, and the camera software, in other words, everything that made it a Galaxy S device from Samsung. There is also that “no compromises” price of $649 whether you like it or not. We doubt any of this will cloud the appeal of the “Google Edition” or impact sales of the consumer centered Galaxy S4, both will see strong demand (as demonstrated by sales thus far).

That appeal seems to be fueling the rumors that HTC may be readying the same thing with the HTC One. It is another “perfect combination” of great hardware and no-nonsense (pun intended) software. However, HTC’s image has always been tied to the Sense UI all the way back to when it was called TouchFlo on Windows Mobile devices. HTC has a winner on its hands with the One and we are not sure that a “Nexus Experience” (or whatever it is officially called) version of that device would make much of a difference for all the same reasons that the Galaxy S4 does.

There is no doubt that the paradigm has shifted since Google did not announce a new Nexus line or even a new version of Android at the I/O developers conference this year. The introduction of the new Samsung hardware might be the beginning of a new model of manufacturer participation with Google in deploying the raw Android experience to users. Or, it served as a stop-gap measure while Android 5.0 is worked on.

If we were to see the end of a dedicated Nexus line of devices, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The manufacturers are already making great equipment which Google can partner with to deliver a pure Android experience. Does it matter to you who makes it or how it is branded?



1. FlushGordon unregistered

They should drop the Nexus line, since they are selling it at a loss/break even scheme...they're just making people jealous who don't have access thru Google online stores.

16. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Well, they could just expand their markets. If they want to compete with Microsoft on a global scale, they must be able to market and support their products (almost) everywhere. Don't be fooled by the low market share of windows phone: Microsoft has the resources to survive in the long term, and works directly (i.e. sells software and support) in many markets where google is not present, even important markets (being Italian I'm thinking about... Italy :) ). They do not need to subsidize IMHO, they do not need to do it even in the US. They just have to sell good hardware with a good price and an OS that users know will always be updated. That's what Nexus users are asking for. They have to understand that Microsoft and Apple do not depend on the manufacturer: when MS and Apple release an updated OS, users know they will get it. That's the main limit of Android now for many people, and the Nexus line serves this purpose: if, say, 1%, 10% or 90% of the Android users want vanilla Android and guaranteed updates, they must be catered for and that should be the purpose of the Nexus line. Google just misunderstood the reason why people buy a Nexus, thinking they would buy it because they want the "google experience", but the google experience is on every android phone as it is achieved through the apps, while EVERY person I know who bought a Nexus (including myself), whether it's the phone or the tablet, did so for just one reason: to have an OS which will always be up to date and free of all the OEM customizations. Microsoft offers that and Google should do the same, because it's what millions of users who bought the nexus 4,7 and 10 ask for.

51. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2482; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

Just to offer a differing opinion: while everyone you know bought a Nexus device for the stock Android experience (and for the quick updates), everyone I know bought Nexus devices because they offered the best hardware at the best possible price. At least in the case of the Nexus 7, Google pretty much has to continue the low price point in order to compete with the iPad mini as well as the Kindle Fire. In my opinion, I think Google needs to stick with the low pricing because they are getting more market share and they can afford to offer a product without gaining any profit. I think ASUS has found the Nexus 7 to be a success and I believe you will see more ASUS products in the future in collaboration with Google. And remember, the Nexus 7 was found to cost around $150 to build which means ASUS and/or Google is making somewhat of a profit on the device. I have doubts that the S4 Google Edition will be that successful. I just have a hard time believing there are that many people out there willing to shovel out $650 for a smartphone. Not to say that it won’t sell, but it will be far from the sale success of the Nexus 4.

18. icyrock1

Posts: 307; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

That's not the point of the nexus program. The point is to get out a cheap, up to date device developers can work with with out breaking the bank.

22. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Well, that was the ORIGINAL point of the nexus program, but with the latest generation (nex 4/7/10) Google itself changed the point, that became: get out a cheap, up to date device where Google can push its services to sell contents (apps, music, books and, of course, ads). And if you compare, for example, the nex4 to older nexus device you'll se a major difference: older nexus devices were cheap because they didn't use the best hardware available, new nexus devices are cheap because Google pays part of the price hoping that it will gain it back with services. When the nex4 came out it had the same specs of the optimus G which was a flagship, but at half the price, and that's why LG chose not to sell it where Google did not subsidize it. So Google made a big chane of strategy. It remains to be seen what they will choose to do in the future.

28. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Wow, It is like the author of his article read all last week's tech headlines out of context and put all those unfounded rumors into one giant unfounded article. " The front facing speakers are unlike anything on any other smartphone"- wrong, remember this?


Posts: 456; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

To me it sounds like Google would rather have the moniker "Google Edition" than 'Nexus' as seen with the S4 Google Edition and HTC One Google Edition. Better branding this way IMO

48. TheRetroReplay

Posts: 256; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I agree, the Nexus line is good but it's not going anywhere. Google's idea only works on paper and they're handling it all wrong. Look at the success of the Galaxy brand, its heavily advertised so people know it. The Nexus isn't advertised at all, only appearing on website articles and then fading away again. Also it's only on GSM carriers, so people who have CDMA are out of luck and no one is going to break a contract just to get a phone on a network they may not like. If Google took a stance and told carriers that they wanted a Nexus on their networks and stood firm on updating it themselves and actually advertised it on TV as heavily as the Galaxy and iPhone, it would be a success. But Google has a very laissez faire (let it be) attitude. The Galaxy Nexus was proof of that, it started on Verizon who had issues with it from the start, they held up updates and blocked Google Wallet. Google really didn't show much interest in it and came up with an excuse that the Verizon GNex wasn't a Nexus phone but Nexus like. Look at the Nexus 4 do you see it advertised? Of course not, Googles has pretty much given up on the Nexus line and a "Nexus experience" for the S4 is the nail in the coffin.

53. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

I like how you say that nexus phones are GSM only in one paragraph, and in another paragraph talk about verizon's GNex. Nice fail bro.

57. TheRetroReplay

Posts: 256; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Well if you had a brain, you'd know that I was talking about the Nexus 4, a GSM device as this article itself was talking about the Nexus 4 and future Nexus devices. Additionaly, if you had at least one brain cell, you'd know that I was using the Verizon GNex was an example of Google's failure of how they handle their Nexus devices. If you're the type of person who needs everything spelled out for you, then you sir, are the one that fails.

2. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

why google????y u no release nexus5?¤®©¤

13. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Why gooooooooogle why? Please don't act like Apple.

15. SleepingOz unregistered

What does Apple have to do with this?

40. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Let me clear. Nexus devices was supposed too be mid-range with high-end specs. Nexus 4 had pretty hefty specs with a pretty good price tag of 300$. If Google drops the Nexus line and keep on releasing flagships like S4 and HTC One with Stock Androidwith such high price tag then it will not be affordable for everyone. Just like iPhones, iPad, Macs are not affordable by everyone.

38. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

You do realize Nexus devices don't sell well; only ones purchasing the device are geeks or tech folks. Average Joes only recognize name brands.


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

What's this using my ™®© symbols? What's the big idear....?

39. TheBitterTruth unregistered

You should register your stupidity ™®©


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

And you're jealousy and anger, frustrations. ®

50. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Lol ™®©

3. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

people like nexus because of top knotch hardware @ damn cheap s4 aint¤®©¤

7. rcwfox2002

Posts: 41; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

The nexus really hasn't blown open any doors with hardware with the last two releases.

24. Igneel unregistered

Dude, S4 pro on the Nexus 4 is quite a performer. I can agree with you if you're talking about the Galaxy Nexus.

10. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

Hey fellow Americans (or anyone who had access to the Nexus for $300), time to taste "Google Edition" smartphones for $650. Get a taste of how it feels like to pay that much - that's what many people from other countries are paying for a high end smartphone.

4. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

maybe nexus 5 comes with android 5 if u go with logic¤®©¤


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Hey copying TROLL, my ™®© symbols™

33. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I didn't see your name in the USPTO® database. Guess you're not so §pecial after all.

36. StalkinUrMom

Posts: 111; Member since: Apr 16, 2012

Yeah, cut it out ™®©

5. rcwfox2002

Posts: 41; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

I think they end Nexus.and allow each company to have a pure google experience off each company's flagship device which will open up to sprint and Verizon customers which are majority of the Cell phone users when both are companies combined. Moreover, I still have high hopes and this news furthers it that Google will enter the game and have a lot if not all influence on near future Motorola phones being produced. This way all manufactures are still happy and Google stays in control.

6. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

And let the outcry begin~

8. PermanentHiatus

Posts: 267; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

LG single-handedly killed the Nexus line. Thank you LG.

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