Boy, was yesterday a wild day. Google decided to straight out release the Nexus 5, with no announcement or warnings. It was all way too exciting and we were running around the office trying to cover all the news and details for you. What about today? Today we are suffering from what I will start calling a “Nexus hangover”.
We now have our heads back where they should be, though. We are all calm and relaxed, so it’s time to take a look back and examine everything we saw about the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat.
The sudden unveiling of the Nexus 5
This has to be one of the weirdest launches in tech. There were no announcements or details from Google. We were literally about to start our weekly podcast when BOOM… the Nexus 5 is now available for purchase.
As it can be expected from a Nexus device, the Nexus 5 started selling out very quickly. We are sure many of you (us too) just went for it and bought it on first impulse. We can’t blame you, the phone is a beauty, with awesome specs and a price that is beat by none. What exactly are we getting for $349?
Nexus 5 specs
- 5-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 800, 2.3GHz
- 2GB of RAM
- 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 16GB / 32GB of internal storage
- WiFi ac, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- 2,300 mAh battery with wireless charging built-in
- microUSB with SlimPort
Yes, the phone is not “the best” in terms of specs, but it is very capable! More so than some of the other $600+ devices. And for the price, you really can’t complain.
Finally – a Nexus device with a decent camera!
We have some sample images from the Nexus 5 and boy are things looking good! Nexus phones have never been popular for having quality cameras, so this comes as a great Halloween treat to all of us. Below you will find one of the images, you can check out the Nexus 5 image samples post to see more.
Nexus 5 official accessories
You probably want to protect your investment with a case. Google has some nice ones for you, but they won’t be as affordable. We have a bumper case and a Quick Cover case, going for $35 and $50, relatively.
What carriers can I activate the Nexus 5 on?
We talked about this a bit in the podcast. A phone is really not much without service, and having nice options is always good. This is an unlocked device, so you can activate it with any GSM carrier of your choice. The “big guys” will be AT&T and T-Mobile.
What about CDMA carriers? After all, the phone does sport CDMA radios. Well, you can leave Verizon out of the picture here. Verizon will not support anything that doesn’t come from them. Unless Verizon releases a Nexus 5 (and there seem to be no plans for that), you will not be able to use the Nexus 5 in their network.
Now let’s go into the juicy stuff. The following news really threw me off my chair – you can purchase a Nexus 5 from the Play Store and activate it on Sprint! This is huge a huge move for a CDMA carrier. Such carriers usually keep things locked to their own devices, due to compatibility and support.
Why is Sprint allowing this? Chances are their own device is the same and they are just going easy on it. Sprint and T-Mobile will have the Nexus 5 available soon, so you can also get the devices straight from them.
Let’s talk Android 4.4 KitKAt
Along with the Nexus 5 comes Android 4.4 KitKat. In many ways, software is much more important than hardware, so this could have been the biggest news for you. The improved Android version comes with some good updates, which you can read all about in our official Android 4.4 announcement article. You can also watch 56 minutes of video that will tell you all about Android 4.4 KitKat.
The biggest step that Android 4.4 takes is that it is optimized to run even on lower-end devices (only needs 512 MB of RAM to run). Now this doesn’t mean all of our old phones will be updated. That is based on the manufacturer and how they choose to spend their time and resources. All this means is the manufacturer CAN update lower-end phones if it wants.
My favorite feature is the ability to launch Google Now via voice from the home screen. Simply say “OK Google” and you can start voice searching whatever your heart desires. This is not as awesome as Motorola’s always-listening features, but it’s cool nonetheless.
Other improvements include the new Hangouts app, which is not complete yet (needs Google Voice calling), but it does support SMS and MMS now. There is also Caller ID for unknown numbers (mainly to identify local businesses), built-in Cloud printing and more.
When will my phone get Android 4.4 KitKat?
If you don’t have a Nexus or Google Play Edition device, you will more than likely have to wait months before you get a taste of delicious KitKat. We know what devices Motorola is planning to update, as well as HTC, but we don’t know when. Now if you happen to be under Google’s wing, things are very different.
In fact, Nexus and Google Play Edition devices will be getting Android 4.4 within “a few weeks”. This includes the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition and HTC One Google Play Edition.
We suppose those with older Nexus devices are out of luck. Everything that is born has to die some day, guys. Who knows, maybe Google will update those older devices later!
Download the Android 4.4/Nexus 5 apps!
Excited about Android 4.4 KitKat but won’t be getting the Nexus 5? Maybe you want to get a taste of what the improved experience will be like, so we took the Android 4.4 factory image and took it all apart. The result? The APK files for the new apps and software!
- Download the Google Apps
- Download the new Hangouts app
- Download the Nexus 5 wallpapers
- Download and install the new Google Experience Launcher
Now, be warned that some of these apps won’t work. That or they have to be installed directly into system/apps, and even then they may crash. You have to know your way around. It’s kind of a hit or miss situation, but you can join the conversation in the articles’ comment sections to see how it is all working for others.
The most popular problem we found was that Voice Search was crashing when installed (from the Google Experience Launcher article). One of our readers found a quick way to fix it, but we are not sure it will work for everybody.
Here is the fix:
- Long press the home screen, select Settings.
- Select Voice.
- Select Language to change the default.
- Change to another language, I choose English – UK.
- Hit Home.
- Do a Google Search.
- Repeat the first three steps.
- Change back to English – US.
If this doesn’t work, you may have to have root access in order to make this work. The library file can be replaced if you have root access, which can fix the problem permanently. Or the problem can come back after a reboot. Like we said, it’s all hit or miss… and can get complicated.
Should I get the Nexus 5
We put together an awesome comparison post. It includes the Nexus 5 (of course) and other popular phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5S. The Nexus 5 fairs very well against the big guys, but is it worth your hard-earned cash?
It depends. If you are looking to get a phone off-contract and your carrier of choice supports the device, we say HELL YEAH! You won’t get more bang for your buck. There is simply no better phone at the Nexus 5’s price range.
Check out all of our Nexus 5 and KitKat coverage to learn more. And don’t forget to join the conversation at the Nexus 5 forums!