Tag: Nexus

Google drops Nexus brand

Nexus-5X-vs-Nexus-6P-8-w782Search engine outfit Google is dropping its Nexus brand for its two upcoming, HTC-made smartphones.

According to Android Central Google is expected to market the devices under a different name which lean more heavily on the Google name.

Android Police reported earlier this month that Google may strip the Nexus name from the phones and replace it with a Big “G” logo, although we would have thought that would confuse people with the Gartner Group.

Google has spent years fashioning the Nexus as a hardware brand while keeping its own name for software. We do know the two “Big G” devices will come in 5-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, which are smaller than the current 5X and 6P.

The report claims Google will load the devices with a special version of Android Nougat, as opposed to the standard “vanilla” version of the operating system that’s shipped on past and current Nexus devices.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said as much back in June, when he mentioned the company would be more “opinionated” about Nexus design. “You’ll see us hopefully add more features on top of Android on Nexus phones. There’s a lot of software innovation to be had,” he said.

Google wants to make its own chips

intel_ireland_semiconductor_chip_fab_300mm_waferIt would appear that Google is looking to design its own chips and his been having a quiet word with chipmakers to make it happen.

According to The Information, Google apparently gave chipmakers a road map for how it is thinking about the future of Android and what will be required to get there.

It also wants an image processor design that can minimise the camera delay in between photos for a “video-like stream” of images.

Buried in the details is the information that Google wants to add memory capacity inside the phone’s main processor so that the processor doesn’t need to reach into a separate memory chip to accomplish certain tasks. In otherwords it is talking about cache.

Google also requested “more powerful sensors so that the phone can collect more data on its surroundings.” It mentions “improved sensor hubs,” which presumably means Google wants to standardize or improve the “Android Sensor Hub” and always-on voice chip present in the Nexus 5X and 6P. Google is also looking to add “support for a wider range of sensors, including one that can measure distance,” something that would be helpful for AR and VR.

The Information mentioned that these talks originated “from Google’s efforts to find a manufacturer to make chips for an “enterprise connectivity device,” a plan that is still ongoing.

This cunning plan is very similar to Apple’s chip strategy. Under that approach Jobs’ Mob controlled hardware and software in a way that allowed it to move to a 64-bit platform.

At the moment Qualcomm has a near monopoly on Android SoCs, but it is more marketing driven than performance driven and has been doing a disservice to the mobile space lately. It rushed to get 64-bit support out the door which resulted in the very hot Snapdragon 810 SoC.

Google has apparently hired a senior product executive from Qualcomm along with several engineers from PA Semi, a chip firm that was acquired by Apple. Along with using off-the-shelf ARM designs as a starting point, it would seem Google has the expertise to pull off a chip design.

LG to make next Nexus googlephone

LG Display's AIT panelLG Electronics has been contracted by Google to make its Nexus smartphone, which is likely to be released in October.

According to the Korea Times, LG is crafting the Google Nexus at a technology centre in Seoul.

The report said the upcoming Nexus will use Android M, have a finger recognition system, and a 5.2-inch display.

But LG will only be producing a reference machine to guidelines strictly set by Google engineers.

LG Electronics has a number of other projects it’s engaged in with Google, and analysts see the manufacture of a reference Nexus design as just another brick in the wall they’re building together.

Asus, Google, reveal new Nexus 7

Asus and Google have made official a new Nexus 7 tablet, a 7 inch device with wireless charging and the “sharpest ever” tablet screen.

The screen is Full HD with 323ppi and an IPS panel with a  178 degree viewing angle, as well as Corning Glass to prevent scratches. The screen is LED backlit 1920×1200 resolution.

There’s now a “grippy” soft touch exterior to make the device more drop-proof, with the tablet weighing in at 290g.  

Under the bonnet is a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 8064 quad core and 2GB RAM. It will come in 16GB and 32GB flavours for storage. Google boasts the energy efficiency has “up to 10 hours battery life” and the sound is powered by Fraunhofer, who put together the MP3 encoding format. 

It has dual band wi-fi and a 4G LTE option, too.

Unlike the previous iteration, there’s a camera on the front and the back, 1.2 megapixel and 5 megapixel respectively.

The new Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Android Jelly Bean 4.3, which will sport new features like restricted profiles – that will let parents limit access to mature content. Android 4.3 has Bluetooth Smart on it, too. Google apps like Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Hangouts and Google Now will be pre-installed.

In the UK, the Nexus 7 will be available over the next couple of weeks from Google Play, Amazon, Argos, Asda, Currys, Carphone Warehouse, Ebuyer, John Lewis, PCWorld, Shop Direct, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. 

The 16GB and 32GB wi-fi models will cost £199 and £239 respectively. 

The LTE 32GB version will be available for £299.

Senior veep for Android, Chrome and Apps at Google, Sundar Pichai, said in a statement: “It is now thinner, lighter and faster, with the world’s highest resolution screen in a 7-inch tablet”.

Full specs: 

Operating System

AndroidTM 4.3

· Display

7″ LED Backlight WUXGA (1920×1200) Screen
IPS Panel
10 finger multi-touch support

· CPU

Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ S4 Pro 8064 Quad-Core, 1.5 GHz*1
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ S4 Pro 8064 +MDM9215M Quad-Core, 1.5 GHz*2

· Memory

2GB

· Storage

16GB/32GB *3

· Network Standard

DC-HSPA+ UL:42 Mbps/DL:5.76 Mbps
LTE UL:100 Mbps/DL:50 Mbps
3G :
WCDMA :
850/1900/2100
2G :
: 850/900/1800/1900,
4G:
LTE:
700/800/850/1700/1800/1900/2100/2600*4

· Wireless Data Network

WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n@2.4GHz/ 5GHz*3
Bluetooth V4.0, NFC

· Camera

1.2 MP Front Camera
5 MP Rear Camera
Auto focus (rear)
Large f2.4 aperture. (rear camera)

· Audio

Stereo Speakers

· Interface

1 x SlimPort™
1 x Audio Jack: Headphone

· Sensor

1. G-Sensor
2. E-compass
3. Ambient Light Sensor
4. Proximity Sensor(LTE only)
5. Gyroscope
6. Hall Sensor

· Battery

10 hours; 15Wh Li-polymer Battery *5

· GPS

Support

· Power Adapter

Output:5.2V 1.35A/7W for other USB device
Input:100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
Support Wireless Charging

· Color

Black

· Dimensions

114 x 200 x 8.65 mm (WxHxD)

· Weight

WiFi: 290 g / LTE: 299 g 

LG working on next Google Nexus device

It looks like LG could be the latest device maker Google is contracting for the next flagship Nexus smartphone.

In an interview with the Korea Times, LG CEO Koo Bon-joon said he met up with Google boss Larry Page, where the two “discussed ways to improve their business partnership”.

Although the Korea Times concedes that native LG is lagging behind Samsung in the smartphone stakes, it later mentions that it is currently working with Google to make a Nexus Android smartphone.

LG is also “seeking to expand its partnerships in TVs and future businesses, such as Google Glass”, the paper said.

Although the Nexus 4 was met with a positive reaction, it was plagued with supply problems and delays. If the next Nexus is anywhere as well received as the Nexus 4, LG will want to make sure its production lines are in the clear to meet demand. 

Samsung Galaxy brand trumps Android in popularity contest

Samsung’s Galaxy brand is slowly becoming more popular than Android.

According to blogger Benedict Evans and a bit of Google Trends number crunching, an increasing number of people are associating Samsung’s own brand with all Android phones. Evans puts it this way: “Android is over – normals call It Galaxy.” 

In terms of brand recognition, Galaxy has already met Android and plenty of consumers simply don’t know the difference. The trend is hardly surprising, as Samsung is the top Android handset maker worldwide. Furthermore, the Korean outfit almost never mentions Android in its marketing and it spends billions on marketing every year. It is bad news for Google, as Samsung is becoming synonymous with Android phones. However, Samsung does not use vanilla Android on its Galaxy phones. It uses a heavily skinned version of its own, with the tacky TouchWiz user interface on top.

Google reps often try to make a distinction between pure Android devices like Nexus phones and Android-based devices, which run a heavily customised version of Android, like Samsung’s Galaxy gear, Amazon tablets, HTC smartphones and so on. However, since Google never did a very good job at marketing Nexus products, few consumers even know what vanilla Android is supposed to look like.

According to the Brand Keys 2013 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, Samsung is now the market leader is most categories, although it ties with Apple in some. In the past, Apple enjoyed a clear lead in brand loyalty. Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff said Samsung’s success is a big turnaround.

“Samsung was always strong, but this is a bit of a switchover. It was a surprise. I guess it shouldn’t have been. I’ve been watching their advertising, and I thought it was really good,” Pasikoff told Marketing Daily. “I think they’re making real inroads.”

Pasikoff also pointed out that Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets are starting to make their presence felt, due to solid brand value and integration. More and more consumers are trading in their e-readers for Amazon tablets, helping Amazon grow the Kindle Fire brand. This could be more bad news for Google, as an increasing number of consumers start to associate inexpensive Android tablets with Amazon, despite the fact that Google spent the last three quarters pushing its own Nexus tablets. What’s more, Amazon uses an even more customised version of Android than Samsung.

So, when it comes to “normals,” all Android-based devices could become Galaxies, while most if not all small Android tablets will be viewed as Kindles. For some reason Google failed to properly promote its Nexus brand, or even meet demand for some products, such as the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Although many people heard of the Nexus brand, very few consumers even know what the real advantages of Nexus gear are. 

Retailers: Apple ahead in Christmas tablet sales

Consumers are splashing out on expensive technology such as Apple’s iPad, some major retailers have confirmed to TechEye.

Apple is still leading the way for Christmas presents with the iPad and MacBook pushing sales for many big companies – dwarfing the likes of Intel’s Ultrabooks, which have had a well publicised hard time.  

One large retailer said, speaking with TechEye: “As much as it pains me to say this, we’re seeing alot of sales around Apple. This is especially prevalent in the laptop and tablet markets. Unfortunately it’s still the same story for Ultrabooks, which just aren’t shifting.”

However, more reasonably priced items had also seen a jump over the festive period, including the Google Nexus line, which was a close second to Apple’s offerings.  

Another attraction for an iPad alternative is in buying for a younger audience. Another, separate retailer said that there are plenty of people who “are looking for a tablet for younger teens and don’t want to risk buying them a top of the range item”.

One of the reasons why Apple’s offerings have proven to be so popular, could be as a result of these products keeping their value. A top retailer told us despite seeing high sales in the electrical sector, many people were sitting tight. That said,  “iPads and Macs are flying off the shelves, but despite a small growth other brands are behind”.

Although the supply of Apple gear is traditionally tight at launch, we have heard from some retailers that enough stock has been ordered in anticipation for the Apple “rush” that it’s likely buyers will be “safe even up until Christmas eve”.

Google's Nexus sold out in an hour

It took less than an hour for Google’s entire stock of Nexus 4,to be sold and its 7 and 10 tablets are doing rather well too.

According to Sky, the 4.7-inch Android smartphone went on sale in the UK yesterday, alongside Google’s two latest tablets, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.

According to reports on Twitter, some customers found that stocks of lowest priced Nexus 4, the 8GB version, had been snapped up within 15 minutes.

It seems that the Google Play store struggled to cope with demand and buyers were soon tweeting that Google Play was slow, unresponsive and throwing up errors.

Others complained that by the time they had got through the problems and had the gear in the basket, the shiny toys had all been sold.

The 8GB and 16GB versions of the Nexus 4 showed as out of stock with a “Notify me!” button appearing instead of a buy option. Similarly, the 32GB Nexus 10 is also out of stock, although the 16GB is still available.

There are still models of the Nexus 7 (16GB, 32GB Wi+Fi, 32GB + HSPA+) in stock, and these have a three to five business day shipping estimate.

Sales in Australia were even faster than the UK. It looks like the entire stock of Nexus phones was sold within ten minutes.

Although it is bad news for the customer, it looks like Google is on to a winner with its Nexus range. It is probably regretting not making more. 

Asustek boosts tablet target

Asustek has increased its tablet computer shipment target for 2012 by 67 percent.

The move is because of the strong demand for the Nexus 7, which the company has built alongside Google.

According to Focus Taiwan, the company expects to ship five million tablets this year, higher than its previous forecast of 3 million units.

Asustek CEO Jerry Shen said that the Nexus 7 benefits Asustek’s brand value.

The product will be available worldwide in September and it should make a big contribution company revenue by the fourth quarter.

Asustek sold 600,000 tablets in the first quarter and 800,000 in the second. If the company ships 2 million tablets between July and September it will mean that it has increased its production by more than 150 percent from the second quarter.

Shen is a little concerned about Apple’s iPad mini later this year but he still thinks that Asustek will become the world’s No. 1 maker of tablets running on Google’s Android operating system by the end of 2012.

Asustek will be one of the top three vendors of Windows 8 tablets in the fourth quarter of this year, he said. 

Nexus 7 loses its screen

Reports are coming in that Google’s much loved Nexus 7 tablet is having a few problems keeping its screen attached.

While the Nexus 7 had some good reviews some units appear to be suffering from the screen popping out from the body.

According to The Verge, the problem was spotted on one of its review units.

First the screen creaks noticeably whenever any pressure is applied and over time the edge begins to visibly jut up from the plastic bezel.

It can be fixed by removing the back cover of the device and tightening the screws that hold the screen in place. It seems that the screws inside the Nexus 7 were several turns away from being completely tight.

Adjusting the screws helps but it does not always solve the problem.

Consumer electronics suffering from manufacturing problems at launch is not unusual.  The Nexus 7 has already had a few programming quirks revealed. Some enterprising users have worked out a way of squeezing an additional free $25 credits in Google’s Play Store, beyond the initial $25 offered by Google to Nexus 7 buyers who use their Google accounts.

So far Google has not commented.