Last year after the record-breaking launch of the iPhone 4S in October, Google responded with their next iteration of their Nexus lines of smartphones with the Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus, manufactured by Samsung, was the first phone to ship with Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and featured a slightly curved display. The Nexus line of smartphones have been touted as “developer-friendly” due to their purposeful lack of any modifications or UI replacements, giving users a “pure” or “vanilla” Google Android experience.
It appears that history again will repeat itself in 2012, with a recent story from TechCrunch reporting that Google may be in the process of getting ready to launch a new Nexus-branded smartphone this quarter. However, what is more compelling is the reports that unlike the past where there is only one Nexus smartphone released from one manufacturer, Google may be prepping to launch multiple Nexus-branded smartphones from different manufacturers.TechCrunch’s report cites a possible Nexus device from Samsung, HTC, LG, and the recently-acquired from Google Motorola Mobility.
This multi-manufacturer approach according to the report will allow for the Nexus brand to be on a variety of different Android devices with a variety of different form factors (sticking true to the “open” Android model). Upcoming smartphones like the HTC One-X, the LG Optimus-G, and a new Samsung Nexus, have all been mentioned as potential contenders for receiving the coveted Nexus branding from Google. The below screen shot from AndroidAndMe shows supposedly a leaked spec sheet for the upcoming Samsung model:
The release of a new Nexus product typically also means the ushering in of a new version of Android. The Galaxy Nexus began the Android 4.0 official release, followed by the Android 4.1 “Jellybean” release with the Nexus 7 tablet this past summer. History would then dictate that the release of a Nexus smartphone, or smartphones in this case, would bring Android 4.2. However, I agree with TechCrunch here that we probably won’t see Android 4.2 with this Nexus release. With Android 4.0 and Android 4.1 still running on a very small number of Android devices, along with a growing sentiment of upset Android users being left out in the cold from Android updates. Fragmentation has always, and continues to be, a big point of contention for many Android users and I don’t see why Google would want to stir the pot even further.
Overall, it appears that an interesting fourth quarter in the smartphone market is coming. With devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the possibility of these multiple Nexus phones, is Google preparing to take a bite out of the Apple iPhone 5? Only time, and consumer’s wallets, will tell.