The Nexus handsets have been used by Google as showcases for new versions of Android. The first Nexus phone, the Nexus One, was launched in 2010 and manufactured by HTC. This was followed by the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus, both produced by Samsung. Earlier this year Google announced that, rather than producing a single Nexus phone every year or so, it would produce several Nexus handsets simultaneously in an attempt to obtain a greater smartphone market share.
Samsung has always been a close ally of Google's in the mobile arena, particularly considering the flack the Korean tech giant has received for supporting Android, and so it is no surprise that the company would be chosen to produce more Nexus handsets. Images of what is claimed to be the next Samsung Nexus phone have appeared online and suggest that the device may be called the "Galaxy Nexus 2", although these images are highly dubious.
If there is some truth to the reports it could mean that the new Samsung Nexus phone shares a lot of similar traits with last year's Galaxy Nexus. The new phone is thought to have a 4.65 inch Super AMOLED HD screen, quad core chip and 64GB storage. Samsung recently announced it had managed to produce flash storage of up to 128GB for use with smartphones, and there is a potential that the new Nexus phone could be one of the first devices to feature this storage capacity.
HTC One X 5 aka Nexus 5
HTC was one of the first manufacturers to put its support behind Android and was the first company to produce a Nexus handset, but its partnership with Google was dropped in favour of Samsung. Considering that HTC was one of the main companies that helped Android achieve the success it enjoys to day it would make sense for Google to choose the Taiwanese company to produce another Nexus phone.
While Google had stated that it would release 5 Nexus phones at some point later this year it had also indicated that these would be produced by various manufacturers. There is no indication if any of the devices will be produced by Motorola, which was recently acquired by Google, but the search giant is thought to have been in talks with Sony and LG.
While there is currently no confirmation that HTC has been in such talks with Google, there is some speculation that a new HTC device may be one of these five Nexus phones. The HTC One X 5 could be released as a Google Phone under the name "Google Nexus 5".
As the name would suggest, the One X 5 comes with a 5 inch screen which is rumoured to have a high 1080p resolution. Like the Samsung phone it will be quad core and have a large amount of storage. It could also benefit from HTC's Beats Audio music technology and a number of other HTC features.
Other Manufacturers and Android Update
This would leave four companies producing five Nexus phones, so either one of the companies is producing more than one handset for Google (which would most likely be Samsung), or Motorola will indeed be a manufacturer of a new Nexus device. Google has been keen to avoid using Motorola as a basis for its own Nexus phones as it does not wish to upset its relationship with other Android vendors.
The three earlier Nexus handsets have all been used to launch new Android updates. The Nexus One pioneered Froyo, the Nexus S Gingerbread, and the Galaxy Nexus Ice Cream Sandwich. The next Android update is thought to be called Key Lime Pie, but as Android Jelly Bean did not come with a corresponding phone it is still unclear if the next update will be included with the five new handsets or if they will simply come with Jelly Bean. If the latter is the case they will still be able to update to Key Lime Pie with relative ease due to their lack of manufacturer customisation.
Jelly Bean introduced updates to performance and introduced some of Google's search features including Google Now, but what Key Lime Pie will entail is not clear. There is the possibility of a vastly improved Google Maps, as Google has begun working on a new 3D feature to compete with Apple's new Maps app on the iPhone 5.
The new Nexus phones may see release by the end of this year or could potentially be launched at the start of 2013.