Google takes control of Android. Changes to the Google Nexus Program
November is inexorably approaching, and with it a new iteration of the Google Nexus series smartphones. As soon as the iPhone 5 came out and the passions around Apple Maps subsided, IT publications began to intensively collect bits of information about the smartphones of the search giant, who were to become new reference devices for Android developers, as well as enthusiasts eager to portray something exotic like Open webOS on a smartphone with an open bootloader and well-documented hardware specifications. The closer to the release, the more information, both about smartphones and about the Nexus program.
Disclaimer : The article has few pictures, many letters, a lot of rumors, both confirmed and not very.
Google Nexus - changes in the program
According to insiders from the Open Handset Alliance, Google has significantly changed the terms of the Nexus program, according to which different manufacturers were able to release a device with a system made by Google’s canons along with the search giant (as the people say - stock Android). Only four manufacturers managed to use this program according to the old scheme: HTC (Google Nexus One), Samsung (Google Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus), Motorola (Motorola Xoom) * and ASUS (ASUS Nexus 7). Other manufacturers could not work with the Internet company because Google chose only one partner for its device. These companies could make an Android device without additional modifications to the functionality and interface, but without the Nexus brand and Google’s marketing support, no one sought to do this in most cases.
Now Google has opened the Nexus program for all manufacturers, presenting a set of requirements that the manufacturer must fulfill in order to use the Nexus brand in the name of its device. The exact requirements are not yet available to the public, except for the fact that manufacturers are required to use Android from the Android Open Source Project sources, pass Android Compatibility Tests, as well as reserve 64 MB of protected memory for streaming media content. However, Google will not prohibit manufacturers from using their shells, but there are requirements for them. Apparently, manufacturers will receive conditions similar to those of Microsoft. These shells will be turned off by default, but the manufacturer will be able to place their applications, shells and other services in a special section of the Google Play Store, which will be shown to the owners of a particular device. However, implementation details have not yet been disclosed.
In addition, Google draws up special hardware requirements so that it is guaranteed to support Android 5.0, which will be released by the end of 2013. Google does not have a specific hardware platform requirement. Apparently, manufacturers will be able to use any SoC from the pool of OHA manufacturers (currently NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, ST-Ericsson, Samsung SC, Mediatek, MIPS Technologies and Intel) with the prerequisite of having an NFC chip (Google Wallet). Most likely, chip manufacturers will be presented with the same requirements for special certification so that there are no difficulties in porting the system between different architectures (ARM, MIPS, x86).
If the manufacturer is not satisfied with Google’s Nexus requirements, then they will be able to make Play certification devices, which significantly expands the range of manufacturers ’activities due to more liberal requirements. Those who are not at all satisfied with Google’s requirements will be able to continue to freely use the achievements of AOSP.
Google Nexus - Devices
Rumors in this section manage to start contradicting each other within one hour. To date, it is known that Google is working most closely with LG to release the new Nexus, which will become the flagship before the release of the new version of Android. I have information about vendors in order of accessibility of information and its completeness.
LG Optimus G is the current flagship of the company and the basis for Nexus. The
Korean corporation is famous for its very good hardware, beautiful screens and sometimes a good design, but as regards LG software, people don’t have enough code to write and design interfaces, or the qualifications of employees are not the highest . Therefore, the company's androidphones are obtained, to put it mildly, not very. Here comes to the rescue Google, which takes over the software part, leaving the Koreans their hobby - hardware. And according to a number of publications, Google has already begun distributing smartphones to employees for extended internal testing, which has already allowed some data to be leaked that speak about the smartphone’s advancement, albeit with some oddities:
- The basis for the device will be the LG Optimus G , but the design of the device will be similar to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus
- The name is either LG Optimus Nexus, or LG Optimus G Nexus
- Qualcomm SoC - Snapdragon S4 Pro (4xKrait@1.5GHz, Adreno 320)
- 2 GB RAM
- 4.7 "TrueHD IPS + (1280x768)
- Non-removable battery
- Camera - 8 MPx ( 1.1µm pixel size, f / 2.4 aperture, optical (?) Stabilization, HDR, autofocus, noise reduction in low light ) **
- The lack of a slot for memory cards
- 8/16 GB of internal memory
- Wireless charger
As you can see, according to specifications like all flagships flagship, but non-expandable memory and ridiculous 16 GB of internal maximum - they do not climb into any gates. It is hoped that Google will have time to hear the whining in social networks about this, otherwise this is one of the strangest smartphones obtained.
Mountain View guys are also working with Samsung. The Koreans are by no means over the flagship. The new smartphone will be ingeniously called the Samsung Galaxy Nexus II. Apparently, this is an improvement in last year’s hit with a slight update of the characteristics. Most likely, only SoC will change from TI OMAP 4460 (2xCortex-A9@1.2GHz, PowerVR SGX540MP1) to 4470 (2xCortex-A9@1.5GHz, 2xCortex-M3 at an unknown frequency, PowerVR SGX544MP1). Everything else will remain level. It is likely that this will be a model of either the budget segment or the middle one. There are questions about the screen and battery, the characteristics of which are unknown.
According to Motorola, so far, apart from a wave of layoffs, cancellation of updates and a slurred new RAZR line, nothing is really clear and you can’t say from the outside that this is a “daughter” of Google. But information leaked about the Motorola RAZR Nexus, which is being developed on the new Intel chip. Apparently, Google makes a serious bet on cooperation with Intel. Well, Nokia, this collaboration did not really help, let's see what will happen to Motorola. According to insider information, the smartphone will have a dual-core processor at a frequency of 2 GHz using Hyper-Threading technology, as well as a PowerVR SGX544MP2 video accelerator. According to the specifications, this is a serious application, but what happens in reality is unknown.
According to Spanish Vodafone workers, some HTC NEXUS is listed in internal documents, but nothing is known about it except that it is a five-inch shovel with a 1080p screen. All.
And here it is very tight with information. NTT DoCoMo says it expects shipments of the Sony Xperia Nexus in winter. Characteristics unknown. At all.
No matter how strange it may sound, all Google Nexus will come with Android OS (unexpectedly, right?). Most likely, the system will receive serial number 4.2, since less than six months have passed since the release of Jelly Bean and it will not work to come up with and implement some killer feature, despite Google’s resources. The dessert will be called Key Lime Pie. Among the innovations there is support for an expanded number of equipment, including Miracast, support for multi-user mode with limited rights, improvements to Project Butter, some changes to the user interface, as well as Project Roadrunner ***, which supposedly will greatly increase the battery life. According to one of Google’s employees, the interface of the system will not differ much from Jelly Bean, that is, Matthias Duarte continues to develop the concept of Holo UI,
The system’s official release will most likely take place in November, but according to some reports, Google’s mobile unit chief Andy Rubin intends to appear at the All Things Digital conference with Optimus (G) Nexus in October.
There are a lot of questions. AT&T hints that the LG Optimus (G) Nexus will go on sale in mid-November, which means that Google is not going to feed people breakfast and promises, giving presentations months before the release of the smartphone, and is preparing to announce a device ready for sale (a good tradition of Apple, I must say). According to some reports, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus II and Sony Xperia Nexus will see the release in November. A number of sources claim that the launch of the new Android will be global. Google hopes to use the logistics of each OEM to bring devices to markets as quickly as possible, where each partner has the best connections. So it is likely that we will see Key Lime Pie in Russia / Ukraine this year, thanks to Samsung's good logistics.
As for HTC, rumors claim that the device will be launched all the same in December. What is the reason for the delay is unknown, but the Taiwanese want to be in time for the holiday season.
Motorola is likely to enter the market only in 2013 in the winter. This is due to the fact that the new Intel chip is not yet ready.
One Google To Rule Them All
Looking at all this news, I'm glad that Google is taking the wheel in its own hands, without infringing on Android’s freedom. That is, on the one hand, the search engine is increasing its pressure on lazy OEMs, which only give free rein, so they would not be able to update devices on new versions of Android, they would not release bug fixes in firmware. On the other hand, Google continues to keep Android a free OS for the community, and also insists on the policy that the Nexus device bootloader should be open (or at least be unlockable), and if possible, SoC drivers should be accessible to all enthusiasts. to create alternative firmware.
You also have to give credit to Microsoft. It seems that they, apparently, gave Google a good kick in the direction of working with OEMs, showing on the example of Windows Phone how devices should be updated, and how vendors should be modified to distribute (apparently, Google wants to copy the hub policy in the Marketplace). Apparently, Google felt the kick well, since it stirred so much. At the same time, despite the occasional occurrence of the beloved antiquity RMS from the Free Software Foundation, kicking Android for various reasons, Google does not lock users and OEM to a hard vendor lock-in. That is why users can enjoy Amazon services in a special version of Android, as well as with some other ecosystems (for example, Ali Cloud in Aliyun OS); and Android is becoming a complete embedded system for microwaves, refrigerators,things . I am very sorry that Nokia could not become such Google with its Symbian Foundation and the Maemo / MeeGo project, because it is these OSes that could be of help to such an development of open operating systems. But what happened cannot be corrected already, and Nokia chose a different path for a number of both objective and not very good reasons.
I also have to say thanks to the Chinese government, which knocked out Google’s guarantees during the takeover of Motorola that the development of Android in an open circuit will last at least five years. This is great information for everyone, from Vasya’s student putting AOKP on his phone, and to research centers sending satellites into orbit.
Summing up, it should be noted that Android has a lot of problems, ranging from UX-problems (which Duarte honestly admits, saying that Android has gone only a third of the way towards the Matthias ideal) and ending with patent litigation, but if Google manages to resolve the problems, then The Open Handset Alliance and the Android Open Source Project may become the third (IMHO) in importance free project after the Linux Foundation and Wikimedia Foundation.
- I want to say many thanks to Taylor Wimberly from Android and Me for the layers of insider information. Read all his insights on the special tag Next Nexus (English).
- Also thanks to Chris Velasco of TechCrunch
* Motorola Xoom does not have Nexus branding, but nevertheless is currently being updated along with other devices of the Nexus family.
** LG during the presentation Optimus G mentioned that there will be a special version of the smartphone with 8 megapixels instead of 13 megapixels, but it will have all the other characteristics. Regarding stabilization, the Koreans mention a technology that takes into account the data of position sensors in space for the position of the optics and choosing the best shooting moment. Judging by the description, it looks like optical stabilization, but since it was not called that, then perhaps it is not her.
*** According to information from October 8, the rumor about Roadrunner was misinformation. Even if there are improvements in energy consumption, a separate project does not exist.
PSPlease forgive some jokes and taunts in the direction of Android, but during the communication with this system I had a strong ironic attitude, which nevertheless is very friendly :)