October 21, 2014

Developers deserve the ultimate Nexus phone

nexusphones

Each annual Nexus phone gives us a refreshed software experience that us Android nerds crave, but the amazing software isn’t usually backed up by the most amazing hardware. Each phone seems to bring us one or two really high-end hardware features, but then sacrifice something important.

I want to start with the third phone in the Nexus family. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus brought us one of the first 720p HD screens which simply amazed me, but that compensated for the poor camera, bad battery and somewhat cheap build quality. The HD screen was the highlight of this phone’s hardware because Google wanted to push developers to update apps to HD.

The LG Nexus 4 ditched the plastic for a premium glass feel, even though it was a bit fragile. The phone sported the fastest Snapdragon S4 Pro processor on the market, 2GB of RAM, an okay 8-megapixel camera, but lacked a couple big things. LTE support was absent in this phone which was a huge drawback for a lot of people. Storage options were only at 8GB and 16GB with no expandable SD card slot. Perhaps Google was trying to push cloud saving by doing this, but really it had to be to cut costs. Of course, the phone’s battery was a bit mediocre as well.

LG’s Nexus 5 was a really solid step from the Nexus 4, with an OIS camera, slightly better battery life and LTE support. The build of the device is solid, but feels a little cheap compared to other flagships. Many people argue that this is the Nexus phone they’ve always wanted. Google made sure this phone had a 1080p HD screen and a screaming fast Snapdragon 800 processor, to push developers to update apps to Full HD and support Qualcomm’s 800 series of chips.

I believe each phone is learning from the previous one’s mistakes, but battery life, camera and build quality are all things that really need to be focused on. Obviously Nexus phones are sold as low as $299, so the view is that corner’s have to cut somewhere. Google sells these phones not to make profit from the actual device though, but the apps that developers build and consume. Google Play apps and widgets are not put on the home screens just for the fun of it, but because Google really wants us to buy content.

Developers have done an incredible job filling the Play Store with apps for us all the enjoy. Downloads from the Play Store passed Apple’s App Store back in 2012, and revenue from the Play Store is expected to pass the App Store in 2016. That will be a huge milestone once it happens.

The Nexus phone should not only be an invitation to Google’s playground, but a reward for being a dedicated builder, developer or even a fan of the Android OS we see today.

A high-quality, premium Nexus phone that doesn’t cut corners is what Android builders deserve. OnePlus was able to sell one of the highest quality phones to date with a price of only $299, and they aren’t even making money from Play Store sales like Google. Here’s what I have in mind for the next Nexus phone.

“Motorola Nexus X”:

  • 1080p 5.2 inch AMOLED screen
  • Snapdragon 805, or Tegra K1 “Denver” for 64-bit processing
  • 3GB RAM, or 4GB to take advantage of Denver’s 64-bit capabilities
  • 13-megapixel camera with optical zoom and 5-megapixel front
  • Good speakers. Either on front, or on bottom.
  • At least 32GB storage available
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Good build quality with slim bezels. I’m fine with plastic, but some metal would be crazy nice.

That’s just my dream phone really, but I’d love to hear yours in the comments!