Google’s New Nexus Portfolio: A Recap

Even though the partial evacuation of New York City due to Hurricane Sandy forced Google to cancel their event yesterday, a whole new range of Nexus devices were announced through the press, led by The Verge. The entire Nexus lineup was revamped, with an expansion of the Nexus 7 offer, an entirely new flagship smartphone, the Nexus 4, and a larger tablet in the form of the Nexus 10.

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Nexus 4

Starting off with the smallest of the three devices, Google announced the LG-manufactured Nexus 4, the new flagship Android smartphone. Launching on November 13th, the Nexus 4 sports a 4.7″ 1280 x 768px display, an 8mp rear-facing camera with a 1.3mp shooter on the front and starts with 8GB of internal storage. A 16GB model is also available.

Perhaps the most significant part of the announcement is the price, $299 for the unlocked 8GB model. In the UK, that price is a very competitive £239. For a premium smartphone like the Nexus 4, the price could leave buyers with about £300 if they opt for a Nexus 4 over other flagship phones from Samsung and Apple. Considering the price-value ratio, this will be the best Android device you could buy, without even touching one.

The Nexus 4.

Nexus 7

Moving up by display size, we reach the Nexus 7. While the small tablet has been available since the summer, Google expanded it’s lineup, discontinuing the 8GB model in favor of a new 32GB model, including one available with cellular data.

Nothing else is changed, but the 16GB model does officially move down to the price of the old 8GB model, something that’s actually been the case at a lot of retailers for the past few weeks (I picked up a 16GB model for £169 just this past Saturday). The 32GB model retails at the old 16GB price, $249, with a cellular radio being thrown in if you’re willing to pay an extra $50.

Although retailers have already been matching the new 16GB price and there’s a chance third-parties might make them available before, Google will be selling the new 32GB, cellular Nexus 7 through Google Play on November 13th. The WiFi-only models are available to order now.

The Nexus 7.

Nexus 10

The final device, and the biggest, is the all-new Nexus 10, a larger alternative to the Nexus 7. At 10.055″, the Nexus 10 does an impressive job at matching the specs of higher-priced tablets, like the iPad, with a high-resolution display (300 PPI), a 5mp rear-facing camera, a 1.3mp front-facing camera, 16GB of internal storage (with a 32GB model available) and 2GB of RAM.

The Samsung-built tablet starts at $399 for the 16GB model, and is available on November 13th through Google Play.

The Nexus 10.

Android 4.2

Although the big announcement of the day was the slew of new Nexus devices, Google did subtly announce Android 4.2, which will be loaded on all the new devices.

Android 4.2 on the Nexus 4 provides a new feature called Photo Sphere, a cool-looking camera revamp that allows you to essentially shoot 360-degree panoramas as inspired by Google Maps’s StreetView. On tablets, Android 4.2 also features the ability to switch users, so it’s incredibly easy to share a single tablet between multiple users.

Photo Sphere is one of the new features for Android phones in 4.2.

Android 4.2 also brings a Swype-inspired feature called Gesture Typing, which, in real time, recognises gestures and patterns drawn over a keyboard to simulate input. After being impressed with similar systems like Swype, having this as part of the stock keyboard is nice.

There’s some cool, more minor additions to Android 4.2 available too, detailed on the Android website. All the new Nexus devices ship with Android 4.2 and it’s likely current Nexus 7 and perhaps Galaxy Nexus users will get the update too.

Final Thoughts

Yesterday’s announcements were pretty big, allowing Google to go into the holidays with a full portfolio of Nexus devices. Chances are, the Nexus devices will still remain the underdogs of Android, with manufactures like HTC and Samsung getting the most attention from the majority of the customers.

However, Google unlocked a treasure trove of fantastic, yet cheap, devices yesterday. Are you looking forward to a new Nexus 4 or Nexus 10 on November 13th? Let us know in the comments.