Who will make the next Nexus?
We look at which of the world's biggest Android phone manufacturers could be next in line to make a Nexus device
In 2012 Google’s Nexus portfolio went from strength-to-strength with some excellent hardware, the latest and greatest versions of Android with some big improvements and some seriously competitive pricing.
As is tradition, Google’s Nexus devices are made by the company’s Android partner OEMs. So far HTC, Samsung, and LG have contributed but who will be next?
First, a quick history lesson
HTC kicked things off with the original Nexus One at the beginning of 2010 but the two subsequent models, the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, were handled by Samsung and also seemed to set the overall design style which Google has more or less stuck with ever since.
Most recently in terms of smartphones, LG produced the Nexus 4, which sent shockwaves through the market by offering premium spec hardware at an affordable price point.
On the tablet front, Asus’ success with its Android tablet range prompted Google to employ its services making the Nexus 7 tablet which again was priced very low while being equipped with powerful hardware.
The latest Nexus tablet, the Nexus 10, was produced by Samsung and also stuck to a lower-than-average price bracket for its class.
So where does that leave us for the next device? There are so many options.
Ahead of Google’s 2012 launch events rumours suggested HTC was working on a 5-inch Nexus smartphone and while nothing has turned up since that doesn’t necessarily rule out continued work on such a product with an eye for a 2013 launch.
HTC is a distinct possibility – it’s demonstrated its ability to produce premium and well-made handsets with the One X range and there’s plenty of hype surrounding its forthcoming M7 device.
Despite financial difficulties the name still carries clout. And given HTC’s track record you can bet your bottom dollar that if it is chosen it’ll be making a phone and not a tablet.
Before the Nexus 4 turned up Sony was suspected of possibly working on a Nexus product – images even leaked of a handset – but as is often the case these turned out to be fakes and the company wasn’t involved at all.
However, there’s still a chance that Sony might be working more closely with Google in the not-too-distant future. Earlier in the year it was revealed that Google’s Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was working to create a stock version of the most recent Android build to give Nexus-like support to the Sony Xperia S.
Amongst the reasons given for the choice of handset, Google’s software engineers said Sony was a ‘manufacturer that has always been very friendly to AOSP,’ suggesting an existing level of cooperation between the companies that could well be nurtured into Nexus-making territory.
More recently, Sony has effectively reinvented itself and delivered some highly capable hardware in the form of the Xperia Z smartphone and what looks to be an equally standout tablet on the way with the Xperia Tablet Z.
So, as with HTC, we have a manufacturer which has proven itself through its own products and has generated a bit of a reputation. Sony, we'd argue, could also put together a decent phone and tablet for Google, should it be called on to do so.