The Android landscape has been taken over by the spring fever, as Samsung’s Galaxy S5, HTC’s One (M8) and Sony’s Xperia Z2 lock horns with each other disputing the high-end mobile crown. But a feeling of slight unease and anticipation for something yet to come makes many a power user reluctant to settle.
Settle, yeah, I said it, and stand by it. All those three flagships, while clearly the best of the best nowadays, feel like transitional devices. Something to help pass the time until the real spearheads of 2014 roll out.
You know, the Galaxy S5 Prime, LG G3, Galaxy Note 4 and, last but not least, Google Nexus 6. Thus, as eager as we looked forward to spring, autumn becomes the season to anticipate, save money for and depend on for a new phase of the mobile revolution. Heck, maybe a new revolution entirely.
And sure, Nexus gadgets continue to be deemed by some ideal for hardcore geeks, not so much for the masses. But my gut tells me N5’s sequel will once and for all alter that distorted view. How? If you’re listening, Google, here’s what I think would seal the deal for non-geeks while keeping the existent fan base intact:
Keep your eyes on the prize price
In other words, don’t overdo it. A number of upgrades are to be employed, of course, but no one expects the Nexus 6 to edge out, say, the GNote 4 in raw speed. It’d be nice, sure, however if you need to sacrifice affordability in order to do it… don’t.
The market is over flooded with “top-tier” smartphones that look the same, pack identical sets of specifications and cost an arm and a leg, so no reason to follow the crowd. Be smart, Big G, be original, keep it simple, keep it cheap. $400 outright, tops.
Don’t let Apple slip through your fingers
Just when we thought the iPhones were down, Cupertino baffled us all by launching the world’s first 64-bit-powered handheld. Let’s not beat it around the bush, Google, you didn’t see that coming. But now you know better than to underestimate Apple ever again.
Bottom line, be ready for anything and everything, including an iPhablet release in the summer, and do your thing while keeping a close eye on Tim Cook and the gang. Learn from their mistakes, polish their strong suits, and the sky is your limit.
Namely, get a 64-bit-supporting Android 5.0 copy done by August, fit a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip inside Nexus 6’s hood, along with at least 3 GB RAM. I realize all that would come at a cost, but you can cut corners elsewhere.
Aluminum unibody? Fingerprint sensor? Iris recognition? Quad HD display? No, thanks
Look, Google, the Nexus 6 doesn’t need to be fancy. Forget revolutionary or groundbreaking. Or, rather, forget revolutionary in the conventional sense. You can start a revolution opposing trends as much as following or initiating them.
Personally, I’d love, love, love it if HTC was invited back in the Nexus game and the N6 would resemble the One (M8) aesthetically, with a beautiful all-metal chassis. But is it the wise thing to do? Don’t think so.
Designing and producing metal gizmos is time-consuming and money-grabbing and, if the N6 is to take over the mainstream mobile world, Google needs to manufacture millions of units fast and cheap. Period. Besides, was there anything inherently wrong with N5’s design or build quality? In short, no.
Meanwhile, upping the display resolution ante to Quad HD, or adding bells and whistles such as fingerprint or iris recognition in the mix would make even less sense as long as Mountain View targets a sub-$400 price point.
Also, a quick wake up call. Quad HD ain’t a real, palpable, beneficial upgrade. It’s a worthless gimmick. That goes double for the ultra-hyped finger and iris sensors.
Energy is the future
Show of hands, who’s sick and tired of having to plug their phones in every frigging evening to get them through the next day? Better yet, who carries around their chargers everywhere they go fearing these little wickedly fast computers could yield under the pressures of quad-core chips, Full HD displays, etc., etc. any minute?
Everybody? Then why don’t Google, LG, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Apple, someone get it through their thick skulls already people want autonomy, not spec wars? Endurance, not Quad HD resolution. And don’t tell us you can’t pull it off. You can, you just don’t want to.
But maybe the Nexus 6… Now that would be an ideal way to usher in a new revolution. The age of the super-battery phones. We’ll work on the name.
The devil is in the detail
Last year’s Nexus 5 was an outstanding slab of silicon, with an incredible bang for buck factor, stunning design and solid hardware. Was it perfect? They never are. But besides the weak battery, LG and Google didn’t mess up any major features.
Instead, they got a few minor details wrong. For one thing, where’s Verizon’s N5? You do know Big Red is the nation’s largest wireless provider, eh, Google? 105 million potential customers you lost with that stunt. Don’t let it happen again.
Also, I get this is somewhat against your policies and whatnot, but you’d show a lot of flexibility, boldness and initiative if you’d just pack a microSD card slot on the Nexus 6. Alternatively, maybe offer versions with 64 and 128 GB on-board storage, though that’s clearly not the same thing.
Finally, camera. This is one of the departments you can probably afford to cut a few corners, but not too many. Don’t even think of ditching optical image stabilization, be sure to bump up the sensor to 13 megapixels and, oh, bring 4K video recording to the table.
Got all that, Google? Good, now get cracking and make the Nexus 6 legendary. Purists and light Android users will flock to the Play Store come October. Or September. On second third thought, make it August. Who’s with me?