Jun 24 AT 9:00 AM Taylor Wimberly 60 Comments

EXCLUSIVE speculation! Nexus Prime to be made by HTC… or LG… or… Motorola or Samsung or Sony Ericsson

At this year’s Google IO I had the opportunity to ask Andy Rubin about anything, and I chose to pop the question about a possible Nexus device to coincide with the release Ice Cream Sandwich. To my surprise he answered that there will always be new ones [Nexus devices] coming out and we could expect an announcement around the holidays.

Since that day rumors and supposed leaks have been at a fever pitch, but I wouldn’t put much faith in any of the reports. We likely won’t know final details until October. That’s around the time of the year when we reported the first Nexus S details, and we expect it’s when Google will have devices ready for testers if they want to release their next superphone by Christmas.

From what I’ve gathered, Google has a stable of prototype devices they’re currently evaluating, and it will be several more months before they select the winner. HTC made the Nexus One and Samsung produced the Nexus S, but almost any handset maker could hit the next Nexus jackpot.

The Handset Makers

Here are my top 5 picks to produce the next Nexus (in no particular order):

  • HTC: These guys made the first Android phone (T-Mobile G1), they scored the Nexus One and are the largest Android developer after Google. If the hardcore Android fans got to decide who made the next Nexus, I’d wager they’d pick HTC by a landslide.
  • LG: A reliable source from LG told me they were working on a quad-core phone, so I speculated it could become the Nexus 3. Their Optimus One was a stellar entry-level Android phone, but LG has stumbled so far in the high-end market with their buggy G2x. LG has never had a flagship Android device and they’re desperate to turn around their smartphone division, so I’d think they’d be willing to bend over backwards to make a deal with Google.
  • Motorola: You always have to consider Motorola when thinking about the next hero Android device. Google chose Motorola to debut Android 2.0 with the original Droid, and they also were the first with Android 3.0 on the Xoom. We wouldn’t be surprised if they fell into the first device with Android 4.0.
  • Samsung: The Galaxy S was one of the best selling series of Android phones, and I think Google made a wise decision to choose it as the platform for the Nexus S. Samsung has the best displays around, and I think the Galaxy S II could easily become the Nexus S II.
  • Sony Ericsson: This hasn’t been widely reported, but several sources told me Sony Ericsson was actually in line to produce the Nexus 2 before they somehow screwed up their opportunity and Google went with Samsung. The US market hasn’t seen many high-end Android phones from Sony Ericsson, but I was really impressed with their latest models when I got some hands-on time back during Mobile World Congress.

Prediction: In order to keep everyone happy, I think Google will allow a new partner to shine and go with either LG or Sony Ericsson. If I had to choose I’d go with Sony Ericsson. I believe they can offer a better overall experience with their new Bravia displays and Exmor R-powered cameras.

The Processor

Again, it’s really a toss up when trying to predict which semiconductor company Google will choose for Ice Cream Sandwich. NVIDIA appears to be in the lead since Google used a Tegra-powered XOOM to demo Ice Cream Sandwich at Google IO. We also reported that NVIDIA’s CEO said they were working very closely with Google on Ice Cream Sandwich.

NVIDIA said they would have their quad-core Kal-El processor in tablets by August and smartphones by Christmas, but there are signs those dates might be changing. Recent rumors suggest the first quad-core tablets might not appear till September or October, so we’ll have to wait and see if the smartphone version of Kal-El is ready in time for the holidays.

Other rumors and industry insiders have hinted that TI’s OMAP4 might be the lead platform for Ice Cream Sandwich, but I’ve seen no hard facts to back that up yet.

I also speculated that Qualcomm’s 28nm, Krait Snapdragons might be ready by Q4, but it turns out that’s when they should be available for OEMs. We likely won’t see them in devices until 1H 2012.

My top processor picks include:

  • Texas Instruments 1.5 GHz OMAP4460
  • Samsung 1.2 GHz Exynos 4210
  • Qualcomm 1.2 GHz Snapdragon MSM8x60
  • NVIDIA Kal-El (Tegra 3)

Prediction:  All the handset makers have access to pick and choose pretty much any processor they want (with the exception of HTC being loyal to Qualcomm). If Google partners with LG to make their next Nexus, the most likely choices for the CPU are NVIDIA and TI. If we see a Sony Ericsson made Nexus, the top choices for CPU would be NVIDIA or Qualcomm.

Seeing that Google played it safe last year and went with the 1 GHz Hummingbird platform, I think they’ll go with Qualcomm and use their dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon (MSM8x60).

The Carriers

Every carrier was supposed to support the Nexus One, but they all backed out except T-Mobile. Google made some improvements with the Nexus S by getting it on T-Mobile and in Sprint stores. Google desperately wants to get their Nexus lineup on AT&T and Verizon, so I believe they’ll make some backroom deals and figure out a way to make it happen.

Prediction: Look for the next Nexus to appear on every carrier with several versions to support all the different “4G” networks.

The Product Name

This could be the least important detail, but what will the next Nexus be called? Several reliable sources have been telling me it would be called the Nexus Prime, but others have informed me this was just a nickname Googlers gave the phone (based on LG’s Optimus series of phones).

Possible names for the next Nexus include:

  • Nexus Two: This might be confusing to consumers, but if Google goes with HTC again, you might consider this the true Nexus Two.
  • Nexus 3: It just makes sense.
  • Nexus S II: If Samsung makes the next Nexus they might twist Google’s arm and force them to adopt the “S” branding again.
  • Nexus Prime: Anything is possible, right?

Prediction: My money says Google keeps it simple and goes with Nexus 3. However, if the quad-core Kal-El processor finds its way into the phone we might end up with a Nexus 4X.

When Can I Pre-Order?

At the end of the day, most people who will purchase the next Nexus don’t really care who makes it. These hardcore users crave a pure Google experience phone with the latest version of Android and the ability to easily unlock the bootloader. I don’t expect the next Nexus will have bleeding-edge specs, but I’ve learned the hard way that the overall software experience almost always trumps pure hardware power.

So which Nexus combination are you rooting for? A T-Mobile LG Nexus Prime with Tegra 3? A Verizon Motorola Nexus 3 with OMAP4? An AT&T Sony Ericsson Nexus 3 with Snapdragon? A Sprint Samsung Nexus S II with Exynos?

Whatever configuration Google goes with, I’ll be standing in line on day one to hand over my money.

p.s. We will try not to write anymore Nexus stories until some hard facts surface. This post was voted on by our Facebook fans. Like us on Facebook to help decide what Taylor writes about next.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website Mike

    Nice post. While I agree I don’t think the Nexus devices necessarily have the best specs, the software is pure and unpolluted and everything is optimized. Can’t wait to see what Google has in store.

    • http://Website daniel walsh

      i rather have the dual core omap or the dual core krios, everything in android 4.0 is optimized and a dual core processor is fine. quad core would drain battery life for sure.

      • http://Website Darkseider

        Quad Core drain a battery too fast? Don’t know what you’ve been reading or using but my G2X has better battery life than my OG Droid and offers far greater performance as well as 4G. Technology is a wonderful thing especially when it is understood.

        • http://Website metafor

          Yes but Tegra 3 won’t be a shrink (it’s still 40nm) nor a change in design (still A9, still the same Geforce cores). They’ve simply doubled the number of CPU’s and increased the number of GPU cores by 50%. So it’s a good bet power has increased since neither the design nor the process has changed.

          Technology can sometimes fail to live up to expectations (and hype) when understood.

          • http://Website anjie

            i agree, as of right now tegra 2 drains the most battery compared to all the other dual core processors. What happened to the tegra 2 3D?

      • http://Website Lucian Armasu

        Just like the “dual core drained the battery life for sure”? Are we going to have this discussion every time the cores double? “Oh NO…the 32 core chip will drain the battery life MUCH faster than the 16 core one!”. I assume that’s how the discussion will go a few years from now.

        Multiple cores don’t drain the battery faster. They improve it. And if anything, it’s the higher clock that drains the battery life. But chips makers wouln’t make a chip that is much worse at power consumption than their previous generation anyway. So stop worrying about that.

        • http://Website Hans

          I agree.. I got my nexus one runnin gingerbread it is way faster, better battery life than when it was running froyo… And thats the stock ROM and It is still the same hardware.. How do you explain that.. That is to say that hardware has nothing to do with battery drainage but the clocking of the cpu and the type of kernel you have compatible hardware that supports it that set the standard..i mean these are engineers they know what they are doing.. Plus the open source community come up with nuts ideas every single (xda) day to optimize your device.. What I mean they play also important role to the dev of the Android platform and android devs also evedrop on these guys too..

    • http://Website Machika Kara Kuro

      nexus one had the best specs till htc relised the evo and incrable and desier

  • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

    It probably won’t happen, but my vote is for an HTC Nexus phone.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      htc sensation + ice cream sandwich + multi-color trackball

      • Scotter

        Plus, I would like:
        - more RAM and internal storage
        - even better screen
        - 4.5″ screen with superthin bezel.
        - thinner
        - better camera (not that the camera sucks in the Sensation but I’m ready for next gen phone cameras)

  • http://clarklab.net Clark Wimberly

    I wouldn’t hesitate one second to buy another HTC Nexus.

    • http://Website Noriega713

      I wouldn’t either, considering i F**ked up when the Nexus One came out…I picked the Cliq over it because it had a Keyboard…WORST CHOICE EVER!!! Now im with a G2 (happy) but also awaiting the Nexus _*blank*_

    • gir

      really? pentile and fake multitouch didn’t put you off at all?

  • http://Website Cristian

    Being an Android lover since the beginning (ah, the G1…) I am a little partial to HTC. Though I do have to say, I love the Samsung Nexus S. The Super AMOLED is just beautiful, and Samsung has been impressing me with their processors. I used to really like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, but lately I feel like they have been falling a little behind – especially in the graphics department. What I really want is a mixture. I want HTC’s sexy hardware (I still lust for the Sensation), with Samsung’s display and processor. LG’s phones haven’t really impressed me. And Sony Ericsson also does some beautiful designs, though their support for their phones seems to lack.

    At the end of the day, really I just want the Nexus 3 to feature a fast dual-core processor, a beautiful high def display, either qHD or even a 720p display, be thin, light, and be made of premium materials. Whichever OEM can give me that will win my vote.

  • http://Website @elpeterson

    @Nick what do you mean you don’t think it will happen?? you don’t think another nexus device is coming??

    an HTC Nexus device IMO would be ideal. although id like LG to be given a shot. and Nexus S II could be epic.

    F Motorola.

  • http://Website Peter

    If it’s not a quad core processor, this will be another fail, because the Nexus 3 needs to raise the bar.

    The Nexus S was a total fail because it didn’t raise the bar and it didn’t design Android to efficiently use two cores for the processor.

    About the manufacturers, I really like HTC and Samsung, but I hope it’s not LG or Sony Ericsson, as they both suck.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Out of all the possible mobile processors, I think that only Kal-El would outperform Apple’s A5. I’m sure Google would like to trounce the iPhone 5, but I don’t know if the smartphone version of Kal-El will be ready in time.

      • http://Website Lucian Armasu

        You’re right about that. There’s nothing coming out this year that could outperform the A5 (in graphics performance) besides the Tegra 3. Maybe the rumored dual core 2 Ghz chip from Samsung (with improved GPU), but somehow I doubt it will arrive in time for Christmas, and I think they’ll save that for Galaxy S3, which won’t arrive until next spring. On the CPU side, most if not all dual core ARM chips will outperform the A5, especially if they underclock it (again) to 800-900 Mhz per core.

    • http://Website Hans

      Yes and no… For instance, the nexus one get the same OS version as the nexus s thats to say nothing different as far as the user interface experience.. the only difference is the front facing camera for video chat that nexus s supports the nexus one don’t… Maybe HTC will stop the nexus one to receive the next OS version but samsung will continue for the nexus s.. the more we move time the better hardware and software get better sort to speak… definitely depends on specs companies will opt for the next gen…

  • http://Website Sri

    A nexus from sony … I want a stlyish phone which sony does the best. Sony alos has an excellent camera sensor. Rest google can excel.

  • http://Website Stang68

    Taylor, I really hope you’re right about the carrier deals. I am longing for a Verizon Nexus device with LTE. I think it will really be the perfect device.

  • http://Website Darkseider

    “T-Mobile LG Nexus Prime with Tegra 3″. That would be a DREAM. I absolutely love my G2X. Stock it has some issues. Running CM7 nightlies with Faux’s kernel it’s rock solid, stable and fast as hell. I could only imagine a quad core variant of this with an even stronger GPU.

    • http://Website tom

      This. My G2X with cyanogenmod is almost flawless. Fast, good looking and powerful. Only legitimate complaint is the screen. I want a samoled, damn it.

  • http://Website westy

    In order of what i would like:

    1)Sony first pick since they make real nice hardware and great screen and great cameras. All sony is missing is solid OS. It would also give them a chance to get their PS3 service on a major seller.
    2)Tough choice here but i will have to say HTC. i loved my Nexus one but that multitouch screen bug was horrible for me
    3) Samsung for their great screen, but i feel that they gipped my nexus s to push their Galaxy s2 line.
    4)LG was going to be my number 1 but they dropped the ball with the G2x for me.

  • http://Website Aaron

    While it’s fun to speculate where I’m going to bur my next $600, it’s also a little silly. It will happen when it happens. Nice article though. Regardless of what we’re guessing about, it’s always goood to keep the various options in mind.

    Also, your comment, “the overall software experience almost always trumps pure hardware power” can not be overstated. The more people wake up and realize this, the better off the Android ecosystem will be.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Yes, the point of this article was to be a little silly :)

  • http://Website Lucian Armasu

    I think SE is even worse than LG. So far they haven’t proven they can put a very high-end chip in their latest models. They are just as bad here as Nokia or RIM – always behind one chip generation. At least LG has proven they can play with the top dogs, even if their game hasn’t been perfect on the software side, but SE’s game hasn’t been perfect there either.

    Sony has Bravia, but LG also has the IPS display they used for iPhone 4, and they also demo-ed their AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance IPS) about a month ago, which is pretty great. Also I think they have a much higher chance of producing a 720p display than SE. As I said SE is usually behind specs like these.

    LG was the first to come out with Tegra 2 (at least in their own country), so I wouln’t be surprised if they were the first to come out with the first Tegra 3 phone, too. And I really hope they will.

    Once again, I really hope Google goes with Tegra 3 this time and they won’t just rehash Galaxy S2 like you suggest and like they did last year with Nexus S. I’d be really disappointed if the next Nexus would be a rehashed existing phone.

    Nexus must set the standard in hardware. Therefore it needs to be better than anything else on the market – and hopefully by a large margin! Otherwise what’s the point? Setting the standard by being 10-20% better? Meh.

  • http://Website Dan

    My vote goes to a samsung kal-el nexus. I want something with loads of power to intimidate Iphone users.
    To show them that games don’t belong on apple devices. And that specs matter!

    - I hope for a 1280×720 display which I’m sure samsung can deliver.
    - and the quad core for unmatched multitasking.
    - and I hope that ice cream sandwich is optimized for gpu ui.

    • http://Website Daniel

      What’s a 720p display for in a phone, really? Put in a 1024×640 screen at 4″ (301 dpi), and you get way superior graphics performance while keeping the best compatibility with standard-sized screens (320 logical pixels of width). In terms of definition nobody will be able to tell it apart from the 720p one, so it’s big wins and no losses.

  • http://Website desny

    i dont like htc camera and screen….but i like the UI htc sense 3.0 so much…..

  • http://Website daniel walsh

    sony for the camera, samsung for the thinness, htc on hardware, processor is dual core krios. samsung controls the internals

  • http://Website zeq

    Call me lazy for not reading every article completely but doesn’t Apple have access to Samsung latest devices? I highly doubt Google will choose Samsung and allow their biggest competition view their latest phone. P.S. I hope the phone looks good and not like every other htc phone. So hopefully Sony gets their hands on this one.

  • http://Website Austin

    I think for sure sprint will be the carrier. They are the only carrier with Google wallet.

  • http://Website Vercin

    Nokia is the manufacturer. It’s the troll of the century.

    Someone released a Nokia prototype with 2.3, similar in design to the recently announced N9 and sporting a resolution yet to be seen: Toshiba’s 720p display?

    There you have!


    (Disclaimer: entry full of irony)

  • Scotter

    I really hope HP or LG do it.
    Yay Samsung has great screens and thin phones but I don’t trust them.
    Yay Sony has some style but their ?latest? Experian Arc, while thin and cool looking, has last year’s specs (single core 1ghz, 512MB RAM, and 854×480 rez :(

    Here is my dream Nexus Three:
    - HTC-made with yeah, the best multi-core processor they can put in it, like you mentioned above. I’ll take 1.2ghz or 1.5ghz quad core :)
    - 4.5″ screen with super thin bezel.
    - Overall phone thinner than 11mm, preferably 10mm or even less! HTC’s latest have gotten a bit fat.
    - 960×540 or better resolution.
    - 1GB or more RAM, 16GB or more internal storage
    - PLEASE a memory card (stupid Samsung Nexus S)
    - please a bigger than 1500mAh stock battery. HTC are you listening?
    - 5 or 8mp camera with a next gen sensor! We don’t need more megapixels.
    - No 3D!
    - front facing video camera – at least 3MP for stills.

    • Scotter

      Correction: I meant EXPERIA Arc.
      And wow I just realized it has specs similar to my Nexus One that came out in November of 2009!
      I do drool over the idea of a phone that is only 8.7mm thin, though!

    • http://Website hi

      Yea ok do you think after hp bought palm for f $1.2 BILLION dollars, that they would go make an android phone for google. Yea ok

  • http://chromeoslife.blogspot.com Joshua Talley

    I hope for a phone with a 4″ (max) qHD display (WXGA-H would be awesome), Tegra 3, with some sort of carrier flexibility (if possible), FFC, and NFC.

    I love my Nexus One. The changes I’d make are:
    - more internal app memory (196MB is not enough. 1GB is more realistic)
    - display needs to be better in daylight and not freak out under strange conditions
    - camera capable of HD recording in lower light, with better filter (5MP is plenty)
    - I hear some people have power button issues ( I haven’t)
    - lose the trackball ONLY if you have a LED replacement for notifications.
    - microSD cards are not expensive. Give us a 16GB card stock.

    The Nexus S wasn’t as much of an upgrade as I hoped for. I like HTC devices, but I’m not opposed to Samsung or -maybe- Motorola. LG hasn’t impressed me yet, and while I like Sony, I haven’t been wowed by any of their phones lately.

  • http://Website TWiT Commander

    If HTC makes the next Nexus, will Microsoft still get a $5 cut from each of those devices? Makes me sick just at the thought of it. That’s why I bought an SGS2 instead of the Sensation.

  • http://Website iLoveLiveUnqiue

    I love the imagination behind this article, but like you said I think it would be best to wait until REAL information rises. It’s way to early and devices that are not even out yet that have been rumored to come out before this haven’t even came into the lime light yet. So the waiting game begins.

    The Nexus line should set the bar with each successor. One thing I do dislike is when people bash the Nexus S. They introduced quality. The main thing I hear people talk about is Dual Core and Quad Core. Do you really think that alone will make a phone? Not a chance. They hype around dual core failed. It wasn’t utilized right. Buggy OS, hardware, support. The core itself doesn’t make the entire phone better. One thing the Nexus S has over these phones are quality performance and on a daily basis. May not be the fastest compared to dual core but it’s not slow. I love to root and try out new things but I would like a phone that I would like for it’s pure and natural OS. That’s what makes the phone. I don’t care about a damn quadrant.

    I’m excited about the next Nexus. I think eventually all carriers will have it and any carrier that has one now will most likely get the next one and so on. I just hope from internals to software, hardware, screen quality, and beyond the bar are put into this phone. Its nice to match a phone. But to set the bar is to go beyond what you know other competitors are doing.

    Why do you think Apple has success? They introduced a very innovative device during a time that no other manufacturer could match. They evolved that with new features and slight updates but what they improved and kept the most was the user experience. the iphone is a monster when it comes to quality performance. us android users have to realize that. i’m just keeping it real. apple heads enjoy using there iphone. not just because the apps and cool games. the features they have and the experience it brings with the flashy and polished looks.

    Google needs to make the Nexus line shine through all carriers and represent android overall. these other android phones are nice but they confuse it for consumers. the number of us are small when it comes to consumers. they don’t and won’t put in the time we have when it comes to rooting and tech specs. im sure more then half android users think of them all the same. im sure some users think there is a difference in droid and android. we need one phone to represent it all.

    • http://Website Hans

      I totally agree with you.. There’s always a but… Lets not forget that apple build their phones from head to toe.. Android outsources as we all know.. Therefore apple has a better grip on their products hardware and software wise.. That’s their advantage over android.. But living under someone ultimate world (“Jobs”) kind of bothers me..

  • Rubrewskey

    The next Nexus definitely needs to have a Tegra 3 and be all screen. Google needs to make something that will have everyone saying “wow” including iphone users. I want my Nexus device to make iphone 5 users sad.

  • http://Website retis

    You say that Super AMOLED Plus is the best screen. Many other sites found that the best screen is Retina and that Super AMOLED Plus is not better than NOVA (each one of the 3 having their own different strengths).

  • http://Website alex

    I hope Sony does since they hhave the most to.offer, they have screen,camera,PlayStation suite,etc

  • http://Website Paul

    Motorola or HTC please I want a LED notification light on the nexus 3, like the nexus 1.

  • http://www.vanguardevelopers.com,www.demoskratia.org Armando

    If Sony Ericsson is to be the manufacturer, I hope they collaborate with Sony’s PlayStation division and Use the same CPU/GPU combo (Quad Core A9 cpu & SGX543MP4+ gpu) that the PlayStation Vita has. If so it will be the most powerful phone.

  • http://Website zach

    I prefer nexus x, which would most likely come from motorola

  • http://Website Josh

    Wouldn’t be a great idea to have 2, 3 or even 4 Nexi phones out there, one form each maker, so we could pick whichever we fancy?
    Just sayin’…

  • http://Website hi

    you know i really dont care about having a nexus, i mean there nice and all, but as long as i have a phone that is offically supported by cyanogen or has a good port im fine.

  • emmarbee

    Nexus 4X FTW! Quad Core, Super Amoled Plus & Super Thin.

  • http://Website John Doi

    It will be samsung
    Quad proc
    Name will be nexus hd (guess why)

  • http://Website Hans

    Nexus Core?

    Nexus Spark?

    Nexus Neutron?


  • http://Website je





  • http://QualityPlease Diablo

    My top wants…

    1. CPU / GPU / Chipset – Stable, no overheating, GPS issues, battery meltdowns etc.
    2. Body – Robust, metal unibody, no stupidly thin plastic please. Metal wrap, gorilla glass front, rubberized plastic back (metal would be nice, but only if it doesn’t hamper radio performance).
    3. Screen – Super AMOLED ++ qHD screen (at a minimum). This must be superior to the iPhone otherwise whats the point!
    4. Memory – Minimum 1GB + 16GB, with an SD card slot too!
    5. Camera – 8MP, and at least as good as current SGS ii / HTC Sensation.
    6. Call Quality – Must be excellent indoors and out! It IS a phone of course!
    7. Battery – Must have minimum capacity to last 3+ days with regular usage.
    8. Build quality & Performance – Must be obviously far superior to any iPhone 4/5.

    There’s probably more, but these are my most important.

  • http://Website AndroidUser

    Too bad T-Mobile will be dead by the time the next Nexus actually gets off the ground. From what I’ve learned, the government is AT&T’s bitch and AT&T gets what it wants when it wants it. Until things get too big the government won’t intervene.

  • http://Website Tim Morrison

    I’m NOT voting for HTC… Despite being an HTC guy for 10 years.
    One reason: tired of waiting for them to step up their game in the camera dept.
    It lookalike they might have started in that area (MyTouch Slide)….if that’s the case I’d welcome HTC then.

  • http://Website tobi

    It’d be sick if it was a Verizon(lte and coverage) Samsung(for screens) tegra 3(quad FtW!) Nexus before Christmas…

  • http://www.google.ca/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?tid=49e8ca84071d51a4&hl=en&start=600 bolts
  • resumil

    Here’s a hint for you all …Asus.