Oct 12 AT 11:47 AM Dustin Earley 42 Comments

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.

Just when Samsung teased us with the first glimpse of the device, two clear ideas on what the next Nexus would be started to shape up.

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.

Final predictions

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.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • triangle

    Agree with premise. Clearly, there will be a GSM/HSPA version, but according to blackmanx, there will also be a WIMAX version as well, which means sprint.

  • I believe it will be a 2011 exclusive for Verizon for the next nexus hopefully unlocked and bloatware free. It would be poor marketing to have an exclusive for a devise this hyped by so many people especially with the poor specs of the iPhone 4S.

    • http://youtube.com/exynoshd Daniel

      Honestly poor specs for the iphone 4s. How is it poor specs. It is a 1ghz dual core (just like tegra 2) and people say it is amazing. The screen has a higher res than most phones, the camera is 8mp just like the gs2 the battery life is better than most android phones. Don’t get me wrong i love me some android i have a mytouch 4g, i had a cliq and will probobly get a gs2 or a nexus prime. BUT PEOPLE NEED TO STOP SAYING THE IPHONE 4S IS BAD WHEN IT IS EQUAL SPECS TO PHONES PEOPLE SAY ARE GOOD AND THE OS RUNS ON THAT HARDWARE BETTER THAN ANDROID RUNS ON ANYTHING

    • brandon

      you don’t understand what the Nexus phones are, do you? they are always unlocked, always vanilla android and part of the open handset alliance. so they won’t be subsidized or locked on to a specific carrier.

  • Andrew

    Maybe first SCHi515 (TI OMAP) for Verizon and then GSM i9250 (Exynos) for other US carriers and most important ;) for the rest of the world (GSII came with two processor flavours).

    • CTown

      That makes sense since there are many LTE devices on Verizon that already use the OMAP4. It seems from T-Mobile’s GSII that Samsung will use an externally made SOC for their phone if it means a better Internet experience on that carrier!

  • Jeffroid

    I just hope this isn’t just about the west. Asia needs some love from android too. It took nexus S 3 months after release to finally reach my country’s shore.

  • Louis

    Google cannot and will not do an exclusive Nexus for verizon for the simple fact that the iphone will be available on three major carriers. If they did, they need to do a “house cleaning” in their marketing department.

  • Black Kristos

    I also see no reason for Google to allow Verizon any sort of exclusive on a Nexus handset. Why would they do that with a Nexus device? It doesn’t matter that Verizon hasn’t had a Nexus device as of yet; Verizon didn’t want one. While they MAY want one now, an exclusive deal would never work for Google.

  • ben dover

    Because Verizon didn’t get the SGSII, I’m thinking the Galaxy Nexus is their version of it.
    The Nexus Prime will be the main Nexus phone.

    If you look at the leaked video, the buttons sure look a lot like a touchwiz look and feel.

    The other pic that showed just the bottom half of the phone looks a lot more like something google would design.

    So I think the leaked screenshots and the video were of the Galaxy Nexus and not the Nexus Prime

    • clayton

      I think (and fear) you are right. My guess is that the Galaxy Nexus will just be a slight refresh of the Galaxy S2, with some ICS-related hardware tweaks (removal of physical buttons, addition of NFC), whereas the Nexus Prime will come later, but will be the really groundbreaking device.

      My concern is that, while the Galaxy Nexus might be the first ICS phone, it’s basically going to be a consolation prize for Verizon customers who will, ultimately, be left out when the Nexus Prime itself is released.

      Just a guess – and one I’d love to be wrong!

  • McLovin

    A few weeks back there was a discussion about a possible physical keyboard variant. Is that still being discussed or is that dead now? …would love to jump on a fully supported Google phone that had a keyboard someday, still hoping…

    • Zyo

      so ICS removes the need for physical buttons just so you can have your full qwerty back?

      no thanks, thats going backwards

  • wasim

    If it comes with Tmobile and hspa+, I will DEFINITELY be a happy man! I want me some Prime Time!!!

  • James

    Great post and recap. As a verizon customer, I’m hoping that there will be two devices – one gsm world version with the specs reported by bgr, and one higher spec’ed device for verizon (with exynos) as reported by gsm arena. but that doesn’t appear likely from the majority of reports. Bring it on already!

    • Nathan

      And I would like the reverse of what you just said just saying :P

  • Nate B.

    The reason Verizon didn’t want a SGSII was because their version of the SGSII will be a preview of the III. In a form of a Nexus device. That excuse to say its simular is lame. They meant similar as in why have a SGSII and then have one that’s beefed up with IC on it. Meaning they’ll get it with TouchWiz and IC on it like in the video. The pure Google phone will look different OS wise and maybe a tad bit different material wise. Having a SGSII and a Nexus phone is nowhere near the same type of phone. So its a definite reason why they passed such an awesome phone up. Samsung is making beastly quality phones out here.

    The touch buttons are not colored in gray on the video like on Galaxy Tabs. A touchwiz thing. All other stock honey comb tablets ate colored in. That dock shouldn’t be needed if there are on screen keys. Uses up more space. I think that is a touchwiz feature. I’m sure it’ll be another way to look in out app drawer without a dock. The paneling back and forth to choose screens for a widget looks just like touchwiz. Honeycomb does it to but I expect more animation from IC. I mean touchwiz itself took out little things like the scroll glow on my Epic Touch 4G. I believe this is what our SGSII’s will look like when updated.

    I could be wrong of course. We will see comes the 18th (19th in Hong Kong)

    • Black Kristos

      If it were what you say, then Google would have no part of the release. It’s be a Samsung/Verizon event.

  • GeauxLSU

    An exclusive Nexus is very different than an exclusive iphone. How much does Google actually make from the sale of a Nexus? As I understand it, they make all of their money from advertising revenue based on searches done on Android. So if Verizon paid Google for the exclusive, they make extra money that they wouldn’t have if all carriers released a Nexus. If someone is on Sprint and wants ICS they either have to switch to Verizon or wait for Sprint to come out with a phone from any of the manufacturers that Sprint carries.

    So I guess my question is, does Google make more money when a carrier sells a Nexus vs an Atrix or Evo or whatever? If not, than an exclusive Nexus does make sense.

    The difference from an iphone exclusive, is that there is only 1 iphone. So if you are with Sprint and you don’t want to switch to AT&T or Verizon for whatever reason (better coverage, company plan with Sprint, price) then Apple loses a sale.

    • Austin

      That’s the worst argument I’ve ever heard. Google would make more money if more people had this phone. Nobody is going to switch to Verizon for this. And this is a developer phone. Google wants apps. Apps=ads. Ads=money.

  • http://www.dailyplunge.com nemov

    The first mention of October launch of the Nexus _____ came from Phil Nickinson at Android Central on July 8th.

  • inhuman5000

    The Verizon “nexus”(droid prime) will have the specs BGR reported. And Verizon will have an “exclusive” which will be the only nexus LTE phone. Thats why they are using the TI cpu (plays nice with LTE)
    The global and GSM version of the NEXUS prime will probably come a bit later and have the specs GSMarena posted.

    • inhuman5000

      Just like the original Verizon droid came out first with vanilla 2.0(?) for verizon, then the Nexus one came out a short time after that for T-Mobile. Nexus one was suppose to be a verizon phone at first but that didnt happen. (remember? Passion, dragon?)

    • robert

      All I know is Sammy and/or Verizon better not have skimped on the camera, memory, or screen size/rez. If they have that means I’ll be getting the vigor or leaving verizon with my 3 lines if the vigor doesn’t match up to the best available.

  • Nathan

    Just announce the dam thing already we all waited enough for it! It’s time to show us the goods! please, please, please!

  • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

    A friend that works for Samsung (and worked directly on the Nexus Prime) said that they have been told it is a Verizon Exclusive. Maybe this is just a short-term exclusive, but definitely at launch. Sucks!

    • Nathan

      Did he say anything with specs (PS: that does suck if it is tho, this never happen before and why would they start now? This piss me off just hearing about.) Also just saying I’m taking all this with salt too since most of the time the specs you don’t want get pick as the final product :(

    • Panatella

      If this is true, and by all means i hope not, im praying that the cdma exclusive will be for the US only. Because if they release a Verizon exclusive for a period of time before present the GSM compatible one, they’ll leave out Europe completely. This will not only be a pain for me personally, Google/Sam will miss out on a lot of money!

      Google makes money on advertising, so the bigger their userbase is, the more money they’ll make. Therefore a worldwide launch will be the most profitable strategy.

      • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

        Not totally sure on specs. I was telling him that I thought I was going to upgrade to the Galaxy SII and he gave me a face, and I said what, and he said I should definitely wait, as Ice Cream Sandwich is a huge improvement and the Nexus Prime is pretty awesome. When I asked him about the Exclusive, he said all of his managers had told them it was Verizon. Like I said though, this may be just an initial exclusive for a period of time. I will try to get some more details out of him this weekend.

  • maxican16

    I predict the NEXT next Nexus will be a world phone to avoid this fiasco and the extra support it will cost to support two different devices. Jelly Bean will incorporate full hardware acceleration and the next gen 4G LTE chips will allow the battery to last a full day.

    As far as this launch goes, I predict there will initially be disappointment. Then people will come back to earth (what phone could now live up to these expectations and this hype) and be able to enjoy an excellent phone… with subpar battery life (blame LTE).

    I can’t wait til this device gets announced and we can move on with our normal lives.

  • Cheese

    Those were the worst final predictions I’ve ever read. They weren’t even predictions all you did was say how stupid it would be to release the phone exclusively on verizon, then say there’s really no way to tell..

  • HackNet

    I think At&t and Verizon are battling it out for the device. That is why they delayed the launch. Maybe not, who knows.

  • CactusCat

    Well said, nice analogy. It does indeed remind me of the hype before a big game.

  • JoshL

    But what really sucks is that Google will most likely not be releasing the same phone on all four carriers. People want to deny that fragmentation exists, but when there are four different developer phones that are all nexuses, which phone receives updates the fastest? They can’t all get the same update. Google should release a phone that works on ALL US carriers and has LTE because everyone is switching to that.

  • http://oceanmedia.net Scotter

    The Nexus Prime is going to have an extra chip for decoding signals from a EEG-based add-on device that looks like a clear web and sits on your head. The device picks up brainwaves and relays them to the Nexus Prime in your pocket via blue-tooth 3. So you can control the phone by thinking. The app that comes with the device allows a wide range of commands that you train the app to understand. The training period is a few minutes per command, as it needs to calibrate based on brain wave pattern analysis.
    Check out this daily-updated chart of current and future phones, specs, and release dates: http://oceanmedia.net/phones.asp

  • cb2000a

    A GSM version has already been through the FCC so we know it is coming (as well as the LTE version). I think it is safe to say all carriers will get one (eventually).

  • http://www.thatboyjay.com Robot Human

    I’m glad it’s metal made. IDK about the UI though but I guess it will be customizable. When it comes out, I will wait a week or so before I commit especially since I’d be buying it at full price. I’ve had problems with my Nexus devices software not working well after I’ve installed my apps. I hope this one can hold up.