While Google's Nexus smartphone series hasn't exactly set the world on fire, the device's next generation could make some serious waves.
An anonymous industry source told the Boy Genius Report this morning that Google is trying to make its next Nexus phone the envy of the industry by combining a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, LTE connectivity, 1080p HD video capture and the newest generation of Android software, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich.
While Google's Nexus devices haven't sold as well as other Android phones such as the Evo and Droid series, Google often uses the devices to push the envelope for what Android users can expect from the mobile operating system. For instance, the original Nexus One was the first Android device to feature a 1GHz processor and voice-enabled keyboard capabilities powered by Android v. 2.1. And Google is currently performing trial runs of its near-field communications-powered Google Wallet application on its Nexus S devices that will let users buy things with their smartphones.
When it comes to the reported new Nexus device, what's most intriguing isn't so much the cutting-edge hardware but the software the phone will run on. Right now it seems that the newest Nexus will be the first phone to run on Android 4.0 (dubbed "Ice Cream Sandwich"), which Google says will go a long way toward solving a lot of the fragmentation issues that have arisen as multiple versions of Android have spread out to smartphones and tablets of varying sizes.
Google's goal in designing "Ice Cream Sandwich" will be to make an operating system that can adapt to the multiple types of Android devices, whether it's a smaller-screen phone like the Droid Pro, a large-screen phone like the Droid X or a tablet like the Motorola Xoom. Fragmentation has been a problem for Android application developers, who have complained that they have no way of knowing whether the apps they design will work effectively across multiple platforms. While there is no set release date for when Ice Cream Sandwich will come online, Google told developers last month to expect it in the fourth quarter.
The new phone's support for LTE connectivity is also intriguing. According to BGR, the device's processor will be either "an OMAP 4460 or an ultra low-power 28nm Krait-based Snapdragon," meaning that Google is really looking toward processors that will conserve battery life. Early LTE phones such as the HTC Thunderbolt have been plagued by poor battery life performance, which has reportedly led Apple to conclude that it should hold off for at least another year before releasing an LTE-capable version of the iPhone. If the new Nexus phone can deliver both LTE connectivity and reasonable battery life, it could set the standard for how LTE phones in the future are designed.
Regardless, the new reported device features all the bells and whistles you'd want from a cutting-edge phone and is certainly something to look forward to in the fourth quarter. Or as BGR's Jonathan Geller puts it, "Google's next Nexus device... is going to be an absolute beast."