Google usually releases one major update to Android each year and works closely with handset manufacturers to produce a “Nexus” device to showcase the new update’s features. Android Jelly Bean was launched earlier this summer, alongside the Nexus 7 tablet, so many people had assumed that was it for Android and Nexus for 2012. But more recently rumours have emerged of another Android update and the shocking revelation that Google will be working on a possible five new Nexus devices to accompany it.
Minor Jelly Bean Update
As we approach the end of 2012 however these rumours are starting to change their form. The upcoming update to Android does not appear to be the major Key Lime Pie update that was expected, but a minor update to Jelly Bean. Because of this there will most likely not be any major new features but merely tweaks to Google Now and other features introduced on earlier versions.
Likewise, while the Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2 and HTC One X 5 have been rumoured to be 2 of the upcoming Nexus devices they are currently little more than rumours. The only Nexus device which appears to have any solid evidence behind it, in the form of leaked images, is the Nexus offering from LG.
LG Nexus Mako
As previously suspected, LG’s Nexus phone will be based heavily on the LG Optimus G. But unlike that device, LG’s Nexus phone will have software keys instead of hardware keys. It is thought that the LG Optimus Nexus will have a 4.7 inch HD screen, 1.5GHz quad core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 13 megapixel camera, but unfortunately no LTE.
The device appeared on XDA Developers under the name “LG E960 Mako”. It is quite possible that this is not a Nexus phone, but as the handset appearing in the leaked images fits in perfectly with rumours that have been circulating for the past few weeks there seems a high probability that it is.
If the Mako is released as a Nexus handset it will be the first Nexus phone from LG. Earlier Nexus handsets have included the HTC produced Nexus One, and the Samsung produced Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. It is known that LG is one of the companies that Google has been in talks with over producing new Nexus phones – others including Sony and Samsung.
Rumoured Customisation Centre
There had been some speculation that the next version of Android would introduce a “customisation centre” which would allow manufacturers to add their own tweaks to Android while at the same time removing the fragmentation issues that have plagued earlier updates to the OS. These same rumours also stated that Google would allow manufacturers to launch Nexus devices on their own initiative, so long as they adhered to a certain set of rules regarding the device’s design.
These rumours have since been redacted by Android and Me where they originated, but they do offer an exciting solution to one of the biggest problems facing the Android ecosystem. Even if the customisation centre is not a planned addition to the next version of Android, it is certainly something that Google should strongly consider introducing on a later update.
So is Android 4.1.2. the long awaited Key Lime Pie? It is unclear right now but it seems rather unlikely. Major Android updates are usually only introduced on one handset to begin with, but we are already hearing reports of another Android phone running the same update: the Sony Xperia Odin.
Neither LG nor Google have confirmed any details about the E960 Mako and it is unclear when the device will be launched or go on sale.
Simon writes for best-mobile-contracts.co.uk