The Samsung Google Nexus Prime (or Samsung Galaxy Nexus, whatever you want to call it), has drummed up more hype than any other Android phone in a long, long time. And not just because information and leaks have been coming out of every which direction, either. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding this device. Thankfully, it should all be over shortly. But until it is, let’s take a minute to go over what we know, some of the things we’ve seen and what we think will happen next.
The early rumors
As far back as April of this year, we’ve been talking about who could manufacturer the Nexus 3. For quite awhile, it seemed LG was a great choice. Not only has LG really stepped it up in the hardware department (starting with the 2X), but they have good connections across the board when it comes to supplier relationships.
As it turned out, we didn’t even get confirmation that a new Nexus was coming until early May. Andy Rubin made an announcement about a new Nexus device hitting shelves “sometime in the future,” which was the first real start to the rumor mill. After that, it was anyone’s guess. (Or up to whoever was lucky enough to get insider information first).
Before last May could come to a close, there seemed to be information coming out of the woodwork supporting an LG Nexus 3. NVIDIA’s CEO mentioned that his team was hard at work with Google and Ice Cream Sandwich, the LGp930 received its first leak (that phone was just confirmed as an AT&T LTE device with a 720p IPS display) and a rumored picture of the LG Nexus 3 hit the web.
By mid-June, some rather juicy information was leaked by BGR. According to the site, the next Nexus would be known as the Nexus 4G and would sport an OMAP 4460, 720p HD display, 1 GB of RAM, a 5 megapixel camera, 1080p video capture, LTE support and no physical buttons. (Sound really familiar yet?) In the same report, BGR also said this device might not turn out to be THE Nexus device. Maybe it was just the first Ice Cream Sandwich device or the first of more than one Nexus Device. (More on this in a bit). Before the month of June ended, the name Prime was finally a rumor on the web.
The picture becomes clearer
In early July, things finally started to come together. A Romanian Twitter account cited BGR’s original post as a source of information on the next Nexus device, saying it would come with an HD Super AMOLED display. At the time, we thought it was a fake. It still might have been. The Romanian Twitter account might have just gotten lucky. We’ll never know for sure, but either way it turned out to be pretty accurate.
Right around that time, our own Taylor Wimberly wrote an article saying that Samsung looked to be the most likely candidate for the next Nexus and that the device would come with an OMAP processor. Wouldn’t you know it, just a week later in early August, “TI’s OMAP 4 [was] pretty much confirmed as lead platform for Ice Cream Sandwich.” It looked like Samsung was going to be the clear winner of the Nexus 3 lottery. Just one week later, the Nexus was pegged with a rumored October release date to compete with the next iPhone, now known as the iPhone 4S.
As August continued on, leaks were everywhere. A 720p ICS device from Samsung was spotted in a product road map (GT i9250). Samsung announced their HD Super AMOLED display. Another Samsung road map leaked. The Samsung Prime was rumored to land on Verizon. Verizon announced that the Galaxy S II was not coming to Big Red’s airwaves (further supporting a Verizon Prime). The Samsung i9250 (a GSM ICS device) got WiFi certified. The Prime gained the Droid name along with a rumor that it would launch as a Verizon exclusive. And finally the SCH-i515, or the Verizon exclusive Prime, did the BlueTooth SIG shuffle. Phew.
Let’s take a second to recap. The next Nexus was now synonymous with the name Prime. A GSM variant had shown up in road maps, as well as during a WiFi certification filing. A CDMA variant was also popping up in filings, as were rumors that the next Nexus, or the Droid/Samsung Prime, would be a Verizon exclusive.
One week later, in early September, that still wouldn’t change. When the SCH-i515 (Verizon Prime) showed up for its WiFi certification, the i9250 (Nexus Prime) passed through the BlueTooth SIG. Were there going to be two separate Nexus devices? One bound for Verizon only and one for everybody else? While we were still trying to figure that out, Eric Schmidt made a comment saying Ice Cream Sandwich would be out in October or November. At least the original rumored release date still stood up.
It was right around that time that the first alleged hands-on reports started coming in. After not one, but two different reports of what the device would look like, we started to form a clear picture. A metal device, similar to the Nexus S in shape with a curved display, but still slimmer than its cousin.
Finally, not long after that, Google and Samsung confirmed they’d be announcing Ice Cream Sandwich on October 11.
The last leg of the race
We went into October knowing quite a bit on the upcoming Nexus device. But there was still some key information we didn’t know, like who would be carrying the device. The Nexus Prime showed up in Verizon’s CellBrite system at the very tail-end of September, but that didn’t mean much.
BGR was still claiming the Nexus would launch with an OMAP 4460 and that it would be a Verizon exclusive here in the US. They said Nexus Prime was just a code name, and that Samsung Galaxy Nexus would be the launch name. The device they are talking about is clearly the SCH-i515.
GSMArena was claiming the next Nexus is the Nexus Prime, which will launch with dual mode GSM/CDMA technology and an Exynos processor.
It’s very possible that both of these devices exist in one way or another. But for now, the only one that has passed the FCC is the GSM i9250 with T-Mobile and AT&T HSPA+. Of course this really means nothing. The GSM Nexus could have just been cleared for use in the US, meaning it won’t actually be sold here, still giving Verizon the exclusive. If that’s true, then we should be seeing the SCH-i515 clear the FCC very soon.
However the carrier situation for the next Nexus plays out, at least we have one thing down: what the device will look like.
A detailed video of the next Nexus hit the web just five days ago. It looks identical to what we’ve been hearing for a long time now. Metal bezel (the back is actually a faux metal material), curved display and of course, Ice Cream Sandwich.
Since that video has leaked, nothing else has surfaced. The announcement of the Nexus has been delayed due to the passing of tech icon Steve Jobs (not a patent violation, like some would have you believe). So here we sit. And wait. For something, anything to come along. But in the meantime, here’s what we think will go down.
Let’s just start off by saying Google would be mad to release just one Nexus device, exclusive to Verizon. Big Red would love it, no doubt, but customers would be furious. While we do believe a CDMA/LTE Nexus device exists for Verizon, it isn’t the only one. And it won’t be the only one in the US, either. More and more reports keep coming in, saying that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be a Verizon exclusive. That would be suicide. Especially after Apple’s announcement of iPhone 4S availability on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. And besides, it doesn’t make sense from all the leaks we’ve seen so far. We haven’t even seen an FCC clearing for the Verizon version of the next Nexus, only one that would work on AT&T and T-Mobile.
Verizon may have initial exclusivity of the Nexus Prime, or Galaxy Nexus, but they won’t be the only US carriers to handle the device. At least they shouldn’t. We say the next Nexus device will release on all four major carriers in the US. Maybe not all at once, but eventually it will be available. And there’s a good chance it will be announced soon. Very soon. As in within a weeks time.
When it comes down to it, no one really knows what Google has in store for us until they let us know. But once they do, you can be sure to find a ton of coverage on it here at Android and Me.
How about it, readers? Any final predictions? Let it all out in the comments below.