Oct 16 AT 4:18 PM Dustin Earley 61 Comments

What would a name like the Nexus 4 mean for the Nexus program?


Just a couple weeks ago, I found myself complaining about the lack of Nexus rumors and leaks. Now my brain can hardly keep up. At this point, it’s safe to say we know who’s going to manufacture the next big Nexus device, along with what it will look like and what version of Android it will run: LG, a prom-dress and Android 4.2. But what about the name? It could be more important than you think.

Just under a week ago now, a picture showing the internal product database for Carphone Warehouse in the UK gave us a clue as to what LG’s Nexus device may be called when it’s released later this fall. Previous rumors pointed towards it releasing as the Optimus Nexus, but Carphone Warehouse’s database lists it as the Nexus 4.

A picture from an internal database is never the best source for information by itself, but that isn’t what has me seriously contemplating a name like the Google Nexus 4. It’s the combination of that, the Nexus 7 before it, and some EXIF data that bears the same name.

Photos taken from the “Nexus 4″ have appeared online from both a Google employee in Texas, and an LG facility in Pyeongtaek. EXIF data can be easily faked, but the sources of the Nexus 4 photos do lend some credibility to their authenticity.

We have photos taken by LG and Google employees from a device labeled “Nexus 4.” We have an internal product listing for the Nexus 4. And we have the Nexus 7, which got its name from its 7-inch screen. It’s totally feasible then for LG’s Nexus, with a 4.x-inch screen, would be named the Nexus 4.

Google has a unique opportunity to consolidate their branding in a way that consumers can understand, but it depends on limiting the amount of devices they carry.

By going all out with the simplified branding behind the Nexus 7, the Nexus name is finally gaining its own legs to stand on. The Nexus One and Nexus S were practically nonexistent to consumers, and the Galaxy Nexus was just another “Galaxy phone.”

There’s no way to distort the branding for the Nexus 7. The 7 means 7-inch display, Nexus means Google. It could be that simple for Google’s entire line of Nexus devices.

To answer the title question, I think it would mean Google wants to take control of Android. Google doesn’t have a problem printing the manufacturer on the back of the Nexus 7, but do you know how many times the word ASUS appears on the product page for the Nexus 7? Zero. The opening words on the page are, “the first tablet from Google.” The only time the word ASUS appears is on the render of the Nexus 7, but it’s in the shadows. You wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it.

I can’t help but think that if Google ever wants Nexus to really succeed, which it appears they do, they need to do what they did with the Nexus 7 to a phone. No Galaxy, Xperia, Optimus or Razr. Just Nexus. Just Google.

Whether or not other Nexus phones will be released this year is still anybody’s guess. So long as one of them is simply the Nexus 4 though, it shows that the Nexus name actually means something to Google. And that it won’t be going away anytime soon.

I could be reading into this whole thing way too much. But hey, that’s my job. To serve you up some food for thought. So what do you think? Should Google stick with the branding style behind the Nexus 7 and release a Nexus 4 as the flagship Google phone, or should they be a little looser? Does the Optimus Nexus make more sense alongside the Galaxy Nexus and whatever else may appear down the line? You’ve heard my opinion, now I want to hear yours.

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

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  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    More nexus devices. Nexus 5, etc.

    • aranea

      Nexus 10 for those of us craving for a bigger tablet.

    • $hitt Romney

      Inferiority. iPhone is at 5 already.

      • aranea

        yes it’s at 5 and barely got lte (verizon version can’t do lte and voice at the same time), increased screen size to follow trend of Android phones and many more catching up. It took them 5 iterations to reach where android was at least a year ago.

        But thank you for showing us how apple can make fan boys/girls like you not see the truth.

  • halo0

    I like where your head’s at.

    • Joel

      I second that. Very good point – there are still android fans who don’t get the point of nexus devices because they’re hidden behind OEM monikers. Pure Google – pure Nexus.

      • iamXiV92a

        I like that, it kind of sounds like the makings of the next ad… “Introducing the Nexus 4. Pure Google. Pure Nexus.”

        • Sam G

          Oh god, that’s almost as wanky as Apple’s “so the laws of physics, are more like guidelines.”

          • QimOlsen

            That ad is just aweful.

            “How can can something bigger, also be smaller?”

            Really?! I’ll tell you fuckin how, and I haven’t even studied any physics!

        • Locked boot loader

          Pure fragmentation.

  • Ryan

    The name could also be simply that it’s the 4th Nexus phone. The problem with naming devices by size is what you call future devices with the same size. Nexus 7 2? I personally like phones being numbered (e.g. Nexus, Nexus 2, Nexus 3, etc) or you could even treat them like automobiles (e.g. 2011 Nexus, 2012 Nexus, etc). Anything that gets us away from things like Sprint HTC EVO 4G Touch LTE with Sense 4.X ;)

    • nateify

      Say what? You mean you don’t like phone titles being as long as Capcom fighting titles?

      • anon

        Street Nexus Alpha IV: Ultimate Google Hyper NX Super Android Edition!!

    • Dustin Earley

      This would be a good time to start naming Nexus devices chronologically if Google wanted to, but that might get a little confusing with tablets and phones both sharing the Nexus name. I like the idea of attaching the number to the display dimensions. The second Nexus 7 could just be the new Nexus 7, or second generation Nexus 7. Worked for Apple and Amazon.

      • Ruben Alvarez

        Read my mind. The “New” Nexus 7. Done.

        • bwrz

          So Apple.

      • adr

        After that.. ‘newer’ Nexus 7.. then.. ‘even newer’ :/

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

      I’d be in favor of something like “Nexus 7.1″, “Nexus 10.2″, etc. You get the product line, the size, and the release iteration all in the same name. Simple.

      • Dags -

        How is that simple when you have existing tablets like the Samsung Note 10.1 and the Tab 7.7? Wouldn’t people assume that, for example, the Nexus 10.1 would have a 10.1″ screen and the Nexus 7.7 would have a 7.7″ screen?

        • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

          One would hope that by the time the next Nexus product iteration comes around, the product examples you’ve mentioned are no longer actively marketed. The dot-revision is simple and logical — Samsung’s product naming is not.

  • Saif

    What about Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2? I guess Samsung will continue naming it with Galaxy

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

      No one knows for sure whether it’s real or not at this point — let’s hope that we will see more than one Nexus phones.

    • Dags -

      I think the GT-i9260 is just a low-end Touchwiz phone called the Galaxy Premier. There was never any evidence that it was a Nexus phone aside from the model number.

  • RX-78-7

    Nexus 4 is fine by me.

  • Jos78

    Uhm no, I think Google is more interested in the Android environment as a whole. That’s why it makes sense to have a Nexus with every player in the market. Otherwise the nexus could just be Motorola and that’s it.

  • Trobing

    I like the idea of making the Nexus brand stands out more, but how, in your opinion, are they going to name all future Nexus phones/tablets (assuming they will be more 4.x” phones and 7″ tablets)? What about the other Nexii that they supposedly are working on (Samsung, Sony, HTC), if those rumors turned out to be true?

    • Dustin Earley

      Both Amazon and Apple just released follow up devices to hugely popular products and stuck with the same exact name. Google could very well do the same.

      If the rumors turn out to be true, I still think there should be one phone that is Nexus branded only.

  • GreenyO

    It should be named Nexus 4 or Nexus [insert whatever] rather than Optimus Nexus, if Google want the public to know about the Nexus line it should be that way.
    I was wondering earlier what’s the real target of the Nexus line (according to Google) ?
    ICS and the GNex make me think that Google wants yo reach the maximum of people with it’s phone, so they should take control of the naming of their Phone and make the Nexus line an easy and recognizable brand for everyone.

  • Vance

    I agree with the idea of rebranding the Nexus line as a wholly Google offering. The problem you have is Nexus bares no distinction from tablet to phone (you compare the way Apple does it in a response, but Apple has distinct product names for its phone and table line, and even though the iPad stuck with the exact same name, I phones are advancing chronologically). It seems that Nexus 4 could be based on the fact that its the 4th Nexus phone. But that would cause confusion when the 7th Nexus phone comes out because of the tablet naming model based on size. I wonder if tablets couldn’t be named by dimension and include tab or tablet “Nexus Tab 7″ and let phone names advance chronologically. The fact that Nexus devices have been, can, and will be, manufactured by different companies, consumers will need more differentiation besides dimensions to tell them what the hell you’re talking about. “I have the Nexus 4″. Which one? The one from LG, HTC, or Samsung. Apple doesn’t have this problem.

    • Dags -

      Nexus 4 is probably based on the fact that it’s the fourth next phone. And it sounds nice and simple, and fits with the simple Nexus 7 branding. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be the start of a trend. The next Nexus phone could be called whatever makes sense at the same time next year. Sticking with Nexus 4 (based on screen size) and going to Nexus 5 (based on generation) are both problematic so they’ll probably think of something else then.

  • Dan

    I like this idea.
    One possible method of differentiating similarly sized models by generation would be to append a letter of the alphabet to models from that generation.
    So for example the successors next year could be Nexus 7A, Nexus 4A, Nexus 10A, Nexus 5A etc.
    The letter could be associated with a theme, like the Android versions are an alphabetic succession of desserts.
    This would, in my opinion, have the advantage of maintaining a consistent, but short and easy to remember naming scheme.
    There is one possible problem I can foresee, but hopefully by the time Nexus 4S comes out nobody will even remember what an iPhone was. ;-)

  • Scott

    The Google Nexus 4 is perfect. If they want they can say.. The Google Nexus 4 by LG. but i also think there should be no LG branding, if so, then make it small and faint into the back.. Just like the Optimus G. If there was no LG on the front it would be a hell of a more beautiful phone

  • Jimmy_Jo

    How about just calling it the Nexus? The Nexus 7 is a branch of what was started with the phone. The Phone is the true Nexus product. The others are expansions. So I’m fine with the Nexus Q and Nexus 7 but just call the Nexus phone “The Nexus by Google” That’s it. Next year it will be “The Nexus by Google” (2013) like our guest Ryan said.

    Honda doesn’t make an Accord 4G, V6, 18-37mpg ABS Sedan. Every component of the device does not need representation in the product name. That’s one thing Apple got right and so did Samsung solely with the Galaxy S 3. And the RAZR a little bit…. The RAZR HD and RAZR Maxx are annoying. Why not the same name in 2 sizes like a 16GB phone and a 32GB???

  • Nathan D.

    We will find out soon enough.

  • Ardrid

    To answer the question in a word: yes. I believe that Google really needs to take more control of the Android/Nexus brand and unveiling the next Nexus phone with the branding that we see with the Nexus 7 is the perfect way to do that. The Nexus 7 was Google’s first real attempt to put their stamp on the market and show OEMs how to properly do things. I see no reason why the Nexus 4 shouldn’t continue that trend. Nexus should, first and foremost, be synonymous with Google.

  • Revalence

    The thing that confuses me is the prospect of making another four inch device after the LG Nexus. What then? Nexus 4 2? Oh well. Google has been more than creative in the past. However, I was really into the Brand trademark, and then Nexus moniker. It felt that it unified the Android manufacurers together by giving them a Nexus branding. HTC already has the Nexus One, which will still work perfectly, Samsung consists of the Galaxy Nexuses (Nexi?), Sony makes an Xperia Nexus, ASUS could perhaps make a Nexus Zen (a bit iffy on that), Motorola would have Razr Nexus, and LG would have their Optimus Nexus. Just a thought, you know?

  • RX-78-7

    Is anyone else hoping it doesn’t have a colored x?

    To me it’s kinda toy-like, much rather have the nexus writing look like the silver “with google” logo on the back of the prototype.

  • Adryan maldonado

    Ooooooright!!!! Google is taking control back. I really hope this what this means.

  • mattcoz

    The problem is that you can only use the name once.

  • thejuiceman236

    I would love that. Establish a brand just like the Nexus 7 has begun to do.

    Each year the “new” Nexus 7 will be Google’s 7 inch tablet. The “new” Nexus 10 will be their 10 inch tablet and the “new” Nexus 4 will be their 4 inch smart phone. Simple, effective and strong. Done.

  • gmaninvan

    I for one think it is excellent. I think that they should create a range of nexus devices that gets a reboot every year in the following sizes.

    - Nexus 4
    - Nexus 5
    - Nexus 7
    - Nexus 10
    - Nexus TV

    Each made by a different OEM. All OEM’s would be able to put in bids for whatever device they want to make but only one would be selected for each. Also, get rid of the applesque iphone 1,2,3 etc and just use the year. ie. 2012 Nexus 4 like automobiles do.

  • h_zee13

    I say it should be called like this(assuming these are the only companies that will ever have Nexies):
    Nexus L (LG)
    Nexus S (Samsung)
    Nexus H (HTC)
    Nexus A (Asus)
    Nexus X (Sony Xperia)

    Then add the screen size: eg.: LG Nexus 4L / HTC 7H or LG Nexus L4 / HTC H7

    • jei

      Although i like the idea i think that will create more confusion as people may not immediately link the letter with the manufacturer.

      However if they used a recognized brand then that will be different for example

      Nexus Optimus
      Nexus Galaxy
      Nexus X “i don’t think Nexus One X will sound so well :)”
      Nexus Transformer :S
      Nexus Xperia
      Nexus Razr

      You get the idea.

      • pinyin_samu

        I also like these ideas to have “Nexus” in the first place to clearly distinguish it’s a device from Google’s Nexus program.

        But I like also the idea of h_zee13. These names have a lot simplicity and say more clearly that the device is a Nexus device and not a next device in the device-line of the manufacturer. Because I believe to make the Nexus a success, It’s better that the average user (not only IT-peoples) knows that the Nexus is in the first place a Google device.

      • gmaninvan

        Why is it even necessary to identify the manufacturer at all? This is marketed as a google product. The OEM still reaps profits and, if it flops, it is on google. Win win. Look at my post above, I really think google is going the right way about this. Just add the model year and we are good to go.

  • NexusNYC

    If they were numbers I would feel like I have to collect them all. So yes, simplify.

  • h0ruza

    I kinda see the logic but at the same time I can’t help thinking Google should do more ad’s for the Nexus brand so theggeneral public get to know how bad ass having a good pure Google is.

    Then they can do whatever they want with the naming convention.

  • pinyin_samu

    I also believe it will be very good that Google makes a complete own brand-line of the Nexus.
    Than it’s more clearly for all users, and in particular for the average user without mobile IT-skills, when hey buy a Nexus-device it’s in the first place from Google (made by manufacturer-X). And it’s not a device completely from the manufacturer itself.

    For this I like the idea of the Nexus-program. To make the Nexus a success, it’s very crucial that Google makes up very clearly and good defined guidelines and rules to follow before a device from a manufacturer of the Nexus-program may be called a Nexus-device.

    And to the consumer it all starts with the name of the device. So simplicity and similarity in the name of a Nexus device from the different brands is very important. So the consumer knows that it’s about a Google Nexus device, and not a Galaxy, Xperia, One X, Razr, …

    Therefore I find the idea of @h_zee13 to add the first letter of the brand-name to the device name combined with a number (Screen resolution, shipped Android OS-number (or API-number), version-number, …) not so bad. But it must be the same for every manufacturer, than the Nexus can become a success.

    And for tablet something like this:

    Google Nexus T L17 (LG, API 17 Android 4.2)
    Google Nexus T S17 (Samsung, API 17)
    Google Nexus T A16 (Asus, API 16)
    Google Nexus T H17 (HTC, API 17)
    Google Nexus T X17 (Sony Xperia, API 17)

  • Christopher Perkins

    I think a REALLY SLICK futuristic Superbowl commercial is all that’s needed to wake everyone up to the Nexus being the Android mothership.

    May even have to belittle all other android phones in a passive aggressive way.
    ….. I wish I could create it for them….

    • Miller Beer

      Alien-meandroid sheeps land with their huge mothership thats shaped like a cupcake.
      ‘We come in fragmentation!’, they yell.
      Earthlings respond ‘Final nail in the coffin for Apple sheeps!’
      Volkswagon mini-Vader lifts helmet and says ‘WTF!?!’

      Super Bowl commercial ends.

  • LuckyHermit

    I’m not sure what the best naming scheme should be, but as long as they don’t start naming them like intel and amd name processors, or video cards for that matter…

  • renyo

    I was thinking that they should actually call the tablet a Nexus TAB (or Nexus ) and the phone just Nexus… That way they can go with a numbering system. And if they do get different manufacturers to make their own take of the Nexus brand, I think Google should still make one where it is featured as a Google phone (whether it is made by Asus or anyone). So as far the nomenclature goes the HTC, Samsung Nexus devices should be Desire Nexus, Galaxy Nexus but Google’s own phone should be just Nexus with newer models being 1,2,3 etc. Problem is they already screwed up by bringing in the Nexus 7 somewhere in between… Just what I think…

  • NasLAU

    Sony Nexus, LG Nexus, etc. That’s how you keep branding and keep OEMs happy. Unless Google decides to give the Nexus the top specs unlike (my still favorite) Galaxy Nexus.

  • omgwtfbbq

    I think that this is a case of a stronger brand. When Samsung made the last nexus, the galaxy brand was much stronger than nexus, so Google was hoping to ride the success of the brand.

    Now, thanks to the nexus 7, the nexus brand is stronger, and Google will try to build hat brand exclusively. I think it’s the right move.

  • Dave

    What’s wrong with always calling it the nexus 4 or nexus 7? Apple called their last 2 iPads the “new iPad” The iMac has always been the iMac. If you need to sell it or search on eBay it’s the 2012 iMac or the 4th generation iPad.

    I’m sorta done with these crazy names to keep track of. I liked the Galaxy S when it came out, but inwardly laughed at the naming system – the Captivate for AT&T, the Fascinate for (something), the Vibrant for T-Mobile. What ridiculousness! How stupid was that.

    Just call it the nexus 4, now and forever, and make it easy and give it brand recognition. Was gMail renamed every time it was refreshed? The Ford Escape? I’m a casual shopper and I don’t care to learn all these names, neither does 99% of consumers. Apple gets it.

  • thechad


    • lala

      nexus 4 is great

  • thechad

    cool man