HomeMobile DevicesNexus 5 Leaked Google Announces Android 4.4 Kit Kat Nikolas Nikolaou September 14, 2013 Mobile Devices, Tech News Rumors have poured in for the last few months about Google revealing a Nexus 5 this year. Many tech sites expected Google’s Input/Output (I/O) Conference earlier this year to unveil the new phone; but Google did not. Then, when it seemed as if the summer would be the perfect time to announce the phone, Google decided to team up with Samsung and HTC to introduce what they are now calling the Google Play Edition smartphones. At that point in time, I stated that it seemed as though Google was too busy improving its services and adding a Games platform to Android to worry about releasing a Nexus 5. LG said that it was not aware of a new Nexus on the horizon, HTC had said some time earlier that it was not interested in a Google Play Edition smartphone – and then look what happened. HTC released an HTC GPE and surprised all of us, so it is no surprise that most tech enthusiasts do not place much thought in manufacturer comments. We all know that the money drives companies such as LG Electronics to release new smartphone models (not to mention the hopeless HTC at this point in its history). When Google teamed up to offer the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Editions earlier this year, many complained that these devices were not worth the $575 and $650 that such devices would cost. After all, the Nexus 4 was still in stock in Google’s Play Store, and it would provide the best of Google while requiring half the cost of a GPE smartphone. The LG Nexus 4 would not provide LTE, but I’ve learned that it is something that one can live without. LTE is a great tool for Internet access and I love having access to the fastest speeds, but it is a major drain on battery life. Eventually, HTC raised the price of its HTC One to $599, seeing that the price of the HTC One GPE stood at $599 when it was released. Apparently, HTC did not want to show preferential to the original HTC One when the GPE required less software additions and would cost $25 more than the original at the time. At the time, talk of a Nexus 5 persisted. And the Korean site Daum.net decided to provide more rumors of an upcoming Nexus 5 in Q4 2013. Information obtained from tech site UnwiredView showed that a Nexus 5 prototype existed and was undergoing its first month of testing. Google co-CEO Larry Page had already seen the new Nexus 5 – suggesting that its existence was anything but a rumor. Despite the Korean site’s credibility, it was an isolated rumor that had not been confirmed by any other well-known tech site and was quickly put to rest. In addition to its information about an already-existing Nexus 5, Daum.net also said that the Nexus 5 would arrive in October and have Android 5.0 on board. If we match this up against some new information that surfaced this week, the Korean site could be both right and wrong. New Nexus 5 Leaked in Photo Taken at Google Android 4.4 Announcement What news was revealed this week? Well, at the same event in which Google announced its one-billionth device activation as well as the name of the next major OS upgrade, someone present at the festivities had a phone that many believe could be the next-generation Nexus smartphone. The photo is an amazing one in that it was taken with a gentleman holding the smartphone in question – beside a woman holding the current LG Nexus 4 smartphone. The smartphone on the right is the current Nexus 4, as revealed by the word “Nexus” that is placed in portrait mode on the back of the smartphone and the shiny “LG” and logo at the bottom of the smartphone. The smartphone held by the gentleman on the left is the mysterious smartphone that, interestingly enough, bears the word Nexus – except that the word itself is placed in the landscape mode, as contrasted with the portrait mode of the word on the current Nexus 4 (as held up by the woman to the right of the photo). The mysterious Nexus has a larger camera than the current Nexus 4, and also looks to have a wider display than the current Nexus 4 – leading us to believe that the new Nexus will likely have a 5-inch display (if not at least a 4.5-inch screen). At first glance, there is no shiny logo or writing at the bottom of the back plate on the mysterious Nexus, but one can clearly see the shiny “LG” at the bottom of the Nexus 4. If one blows up the photo, a shiny logo at the bottom of the back plate is visible, suggesting that LG Electronics may partner with Google once more. Photos of the new phone do not display LG that visibly at the bottom of the mysterious Nexus, but it seems as if it’s got the same quality build that LG placed into the Nexus 4. What does the photo tell us? First, it reveals that the new Nexus 4 will have a wider display than the current Nexus 4, meaning that some consumers who prefer larger screens may get their wish in the new Nexus smartphone. Next, it seems as if LG’s shiny logo and the letters “LG” are on the back of the mysterious Nexus where they were on the first one – leading us to believe that LG will produce their second smartphone with Google. While LG was rumored to produce the new Nexus, it was also said as of late that Motorola would produce the new Nexus. The Motorola rumor seems rather implausible when you consider that Google has poured $500 million into the Moto X advertising campaign. It seems likely that Google desired the LG smartphone look for the Nexus 4 and would want LG to help design the new Nexus 5. Many have said the new Nexus 5 will be based on the LG G2 design, but the new Nexus does not show back plate controls as the G2 has. Last but not least, Google looks to get serious about its camera in the new Nexus (since it seems to be bigger and more noticeable in the new Nexus than the old one). The Nexus 4 had an 8-megapixel camera, so it looks as though the new Nexus 5 (or Nexus 4.2) will have a 10MP or 13MP camera. Right after the photo of the mysterious Nexus went public, Google pulled the video of the event – suggesting that the mysterious Nexus in question is the new Nexus and was leaked too early for Google’s preference. Google is not one to desire early leaks on its newest or much-rumored products, as can be evidenced by Google’s Android 4.4 Kit Kat announcement this week. [Update: An FCC filing of a new LG smartphone appeared in an FCC filing a few days after the Android 4.4 statue unveiling, and Twitter member @evleaks posted a status earlier this week denying the LG phone in an FCC filing was the new Nexus (stating that it was a CDMA variant of the LG G2 offering). Evleaks retracted his statement this week, noting that one of the new LG phones is an unlocked version of the LG G2. The other smartphone, the LG-D820, has yet to be named or labeled. We believe that this could still be the Nexus 5 that took photos at the Android statue event.] Google Celebrates One-Billion Devices, Announces Android 4.4 Kit Kat, Not Key Lime Pie Last week, Google celebrated its one-billionth device activated on Google’s Android OS platform. To celebrate, the company unveiled a new statue on the Mountain View, California site as a symbol of Android’s progress over the last few years. What many were surprised to see today was the fact that the statue announced the next major Android upgrade – and it was not Android 5.0, nor did Google announce the future update as “Key Lime Pie,” as so many had assumed for so long. Rather, the next update to Android will be Android 4.4, known as “Kit Kat,” and looks to be released sometime near the end of the year. Google just unveiled its Android 4.3 update at its “Breakfast with Sundar Pichai” last month, when the 2013 Nexus 7 was revealed. At this point, we can likely expect Android 4.4’s release around the same time that Google reveals what many believe to be a new Nexus 5. Many in the tech world were stunned by Google’s nomenclature of Android 4.4. Many, myself included, expected Google to continue using the Jelly Bean moniker for its incremental updates in Android 4.0. Most suspected that Google would provide new nomenclature for Android 5.0, but believed that this update would arrive closer to the end of the year. At the same time, however, Google’s new nomenclature means that there may be no Android 5.0 announced later this year; rather, Google may decide to stick with Kit Kat and the incremental upgrades to Android 4.0 that it has used all year long. Since Android 4.4 is the next step, as announced by Google this week, it seems rather weird to postulate an Android 5.0 update at this late stage in 2013. The new Nexus 5 (as many are calling it) will likely be released either next month (October 2013) or November 2013, along with Android 4.4. It is no secret that Google usually announces an Android upgrade with the release of its phones and tablets. The 2013 Nexus 7 received the newly-announced Android 4.3 update with Fraunhofer surround sound audio technology improvements, Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE), TRIM to improve battery life, as well as restricted profiles for children and tablet and smartphone co-users. Android 4.4, if announced alongside of the release of the second LG Nexus, will be unveiled in a matter of weeks. Why Did Google Choose Kit Kat Instead of Key Lime Pie? Apple has received a lot of criticism from tech enthusiasts and fans because the company’s new smartphones and tablets have been leaked for two years now, without the secrecy that has come to characterize Apple announcements over the years. Apple is not one to announce what it’s doing, but if the iPhone 5 is any indication, photos and news about Apple’s products now leak before the announcement. The most unfortunate part of it all is that there were little surprise at Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement one year ago. The same thing is happening this time as well, with the date (September 10), not to mention the iPhone 5S specs and features already known by most familiar with tech sources. Google’s secrecy over the new name of its Android 4.4 update is all the more impressive when you consider that the company’s surprise twist in nomenclature existed for a year before this week’s announcement. That’s right: Google’s had Kit Kat in its back pocket for the last year. Were enthusiasts wrong about “Key Lime Pie”? Well, yes and no. They were right in that Google decided on Key Lime Pie some time ago, but they were wrong in that they did not learn of Google’s decision to change the new nomenclature to Kit Kat. The reason Google decided to change the name is because the company reasoned that few individuals in the US have actually experienced Key Lime Pie as a dessert. Someone within the Google ranks suggested the company go with “Kit Kat” because it seemed to be the company’s favorite dessert. The name was changed to Kit Kat as of December 2012, but Google employees familiar with the matter continued to use the “Key Lime Pie” name even after the change. The reason for so doing this was to keep up the claim without giving away the new nomenclature. Google’s plan worked beautifully this week, seeing that so many tech enthusiasts were taken by surprise. While it is a surprise, it is a pleasant one. Whether Key Lime Pie or Kit Kat, Google’s creative nomenclature for its OS updates is to be admired. I wish Apple did this with iOS. If Google releases a new Nexus 5 later this Fall, I hope it comes in a better fashion than did the 2013 Nexus 7. The new tablet has seen its share of touch screen, GPS troubles, as well as other bug problems since it was released in the last week of July. Is there something you want to see in the Android 4.4 Kit Kat update? Do you like the new name for the Android 4.4 update, or would you prefer another name for the update? Does the new Nexus excite you? Do you think it’s an artificial photo that someone plastered over the web, or does Google’s removal of the celebration video heighten your suspicion all the more? Let us know what you think in the comments.