A - Expect an announcement. All but certain.
B - It's likely true. This either means independent confirmation or an extremely reliable source with a proven track record.
C - Could go either way. This could mean an unconfirmed rumor that happens to fit available facts, or a company's behavior patterns.
D - Take it with a spoonful of salt. A grain of salt is what you should take with rumors graded "C". Very unlikely, but theoretically possible.
F - I call vaporware. Based on the available evidence, it's not gonna happen.
Google is revamping its Nexus strategy: B
Android and Me that Google is taking a new approach to its Nexus program. According to the rumor, as my colleague Ed Waters also pointed out, Google is releasing a set of requirements for a device to be given the Nexus branding, which means that any device from any manufacturer that meets these standards can be called a Nexus. Actually, any manufacturer could theoretically release multiple Nexii, such as Samsung releasing a Galaxy Note Nexus along with a Galaxy Nexus 2 (don't get all excited - there's no rumor of a Galaxy Note Nexus - this was simply a hypothetical example).
Here are some of the rumored requirements, all of which would make sense, if true:
- At least 64 MB of secured, dedicated RAM must be provided for streaming media. This sounds like something Google would do, in order to preserve DRM security for its Play Movies & TV service even when custom ROMs and kernels are installed. The dedicated block of memory would provide for a higher-quality video stream, and its secured nature would allay DRM-related concerns from content providers and accelerate the addition of new content to the Play Store.
- Stock Android must be installed by default, but manufacturers can provide users with the option of choosing a custom UI skin through a "customization center." I'll explain more about this in the next section, but suffice it to say that this is a disturbing aspect to me, if true. As recent history has shown, if Google gives OEMs an inch, they'll take a mile. Verizon and Sprint have already made a joke of the Nexus brand with the Galaxy Nexus, and I shudder to think what loopholes they'll find to exploit for future Nexus-branded devices.
- The hardware must be future-proof, at least to the point of being able to support an Android 5.0 release rumored for next fall. This would be a welcome departure from recent history for the Nexus brand. In its last two generations, the Nexus has not been exactly groundbreaking in terms of specs, being modified versions of their Galaxy S/S2 counterparts from months before (one notable exception being the Super AMOLED HD display of the Galaxy Nexus, which was the first of its kind). In order for a device to be future-proof for at least a year, it would logically have to be well ahead of the curve for 2012.
Multiple Nexus phones will be released this year: B
Wednesday's rumor, I expect multiple Nexus devices this year. The rumor hasn't been independently verified yet, but Android and Me puts a great deal of weight behind the reliability of their confidential source. It also harmonizes with a Wall Street Journal article from May of this year (if you don't have a WSJ subscription, you can read more details here via Android Authority). Furthermore, it fits with what Google's strategy would likely be. Motorola fans, for example, would logically expect a Nexus device from a Google subsidiary, but Google can't afford to look like it's playing favorites and risk its relationships with other OEMs, especially Samsung and (to a lesser extent) HTC. The most logical solution would be to allow each major Android OEM to release a Nexus phone. I can see LG being included in the mix, along with Sony (they already have an XPeria phone in AOSP), HTC, Motorola, and Samsung.
LG Optimus G Nexus: A
confirming that Google and LG will be announcing a Nexus phone at the end of this month. Rumors have come from too many independent sources to not believe this one. Android and Me, DigiTimes, and Spanish blog MovilZona have all come forward with leaks indicating that LG will produce a Nexus phone, some leaks saying it will be based on the Optimus G. While I mentioned before that DigiTimes is a hit-or-miss proposition with respect to rumor accuracy, Android and Me has recently cited yet another leak claiming to actually have a LG Nexus test device in hand, complete with a pre-release version of Android 4.2. Based on the Optimus G, LG's Nexus phone will surely be future-proof with its quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and 2 GB of RAM, but it will apparently have an 8 MP camera, either 8 or 16 GB of storage with no expandability, and a non-removable battery.
HTC will make a "Nexus 5" (based on the Incredible X): C
making a Nexus device based on yet another rumored device: the Droid Incredible X. Lawyers and Law & Order fans might call this "double hearsay" and I'll reserve any further judgment on this one for the time being, until one or more independent sources comes forward to confirm this. Rumored specs include a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GB of RAM and a 5-inch 1080p display.
Samsung will make a Galaxy Nexus Premier/Plus/2: B
sample photo, a user agent profile, and a screenshot allegedly taken from an inventory system. The takeaway is that the name of this device and the processor are up in the air, but most agree that the model number will be GT-I9260 (the current Galaxy Nexus is the GT-I9250) and will feature the following spec bumps: an 8 MP camera and expandable storage via MicroSD. Possible names that have been bandied about include the Galaxy Nexus Plus, the Galaxy Nexus Premier, and the Galaxy Nexus 2 (though with a practically microscopic bump in specs, "Premier" and "2" are not names I would use for this device). Speculation about what processor will power this device runs the gamut from a 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU to an unidentified quad-core CPU. The Galaxy Nexus Plus is one rumor that I hope is way off, but it has enough corroboration to make it look plausible. If Samsung does make a Galaxy Nexus Plus, I hope they also make a true successor to the Galaxy Nexus.
Sony will make an Xperia Nexus: C
here) claims to have a leaked document showing the winter phone roadmap for Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo, in which the "Xperia Nexus" is listed along with the "Optimus Nexus" and the "Galaxy Nexus II." Were it not for the fact that Sony already has official AOSP support for the Xperia S and the related rumor that there would be several Nexus phones this year, I might have rated this one a D or an F.
Motorola will make a Nexus RAZR: C
Shaik Imaddudin and picked up on by Softpedia, which threw in a "rumor has it that the next Google phone will arrive on shelves from this smartphone designer, and that it will be jaw-dropping..." In the absence of any other rumors to substantiate the existence of a Motorola Nexus, I'll admit this is mostly speculation on my part. Still, the fact is that Motorola Mobility is now a subsidiary of Google, and it would actually be surprising if we didn't see a Google Experience device from the company.
The next Nexus will be unveiled within the next 30 days:
confirming that Google and LG will be announcing a Nexus phone at the end of this month. Another rumor from Android and Me is that the next Nexus will be unveiled by the end of October. Taylor cites three anonymous "industry sources" which he trusts and which have a track record of providing reliable information. Before you say "I've heard the 'anonymous sources' claim before - it's so vague it's hard to believe" I should note that these sources stand to lose their jobs if their superiors trace these leaks to them. In today's economic environment, now is a particularly bad time to be without a job and most likely blacklisted and branded as a media snitch. It's possible that Google could make an announcement at the AllThingsD: Dive into Mobile conference on October 29-30, as they announced the Xoom with Android 3.0 in the 2010 edition of this conference.
$99 Nexus 7: D
Digitimes, an often hit-or-miss source, posted this rumor on September 27. I doubt this one seriously, as does Android Central and Android Police. Granted, Google sold the $199 Nexus 7 very close to cost, or even at a slight loss according to which estimate you read. Even though Google expects to reap most of its profits from added video, music, app, magazine and book sales from Nexus 7 users, I think it unlikely that they would take nearly a 50% loss on the hardware gambling that the added content sales will make up the difference. After all, many users will already have a hefty content library that they can simply carry over to their new tablet. If this rumor does come true, expect a serious spec hit, probably a 1 GHz dual-core processor circa 2011 (don't expect a Snapdragon S4) and a RAM downgrade to 512 MB. Is it a carrier-subsidized Nexus 7 3G? Unlikely - all of the top 4 U.S. carriers have walked away from the subsidized tablet strategy, as it has not produced the revenues they hoped for.
There haven't been as many solid Nexus rumors as there were this time last year, so we might not have a Nexus this year: F
speculated that we won't see a Nexus phone this year, because Google already released a Nexus tablet with a new version of Android just 3 months ago, and because there aren't as many solid leaks about a Nexus phone as there were at this time last year (remember the Nexus Prime?).