Ah, the Nexus range! I can write tomes about my undying love for every Nexus-class device in Google's portfolio. So can, I imagine, every geek in the world. Every year, El Goog pairs up with an OEM and a chipset manufacturer of its choice, and gives us a phone with pure Android: just the way Google always intended it to be, without any of the pesky custom skin business. This year, they have already given us a surprise gift in the form of a Nexus-branded tablet, the Nexus 7.
As the time to unveil the next phone in the range draws near, speculation has already started about the OEM Google will choose this time. I am here to make a case for HTC. It’s been a long time since the ball has been bounced back to HTC. Those with good memory will recall that the one-two punch of the Nexus One and the original HTC Desire was responsible for getting Android back on its feet in its early days. In my opinion, the time is ripe now for HTC to get another crack at it. Here’s why:
Enough Samsung already!
I know what you’re going to say: “They’re the biggest OEM right now”. “The SGS3 is selling so well”. Etc., etc., etc. But we really need to see some change in the roster right now. Both the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus were very amazing devices for their times, but both of them ascribed to Samsung’s design sensibilities. We need to see something fresh now. Plus, it was a no-brainer last year; Sammy knocked it out of the park with the SGS2 and the Note, while all other OEMs bowed at their knees. This year, it’s a completely different ball game. HTC has made one of the arguably best designed phones we have seen, the One X. What matters when considering an OEM as a candidate for a Nexus device is hardware. Google takes care of the software and it contracts another company for the chipset. All they need for OEMs to do is design the pants off the phone. And in that case, HTC has Samsung beat this year. Hands down.
Time for HTC to shine forth a new Nexus
We are heading into wildly speculative territory here, but bear with me. If I know Google and the tech landscape right now, I am willing to bet that the SoC Google will use for the next Nexus will be the quad-core version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. Seeing as how big a beast the dual-core S4 is, we can be very certain that the quad-core version would be the most powerful SoC on the market once it comes out. Raw power aside, even its release date matches the timeframe of the next Nexus launch. Even last year, Google opted to make the Galaxy Nexus the launch device for the OMAP 4460 instead of going for more powerful SoCs. Also, the S4 will have an LTE radio built right into the die, and LTE is a major priority right now. How does the chipset matter? Well, which OEM has the best reputation for working closely with Qualcomm? You guessed it, HTC.
The display unit on the One X is absolutely superb; possibly one of the best in mobile devices right now. Though, the unit on the SGS3 is not too far behind. However, if Google really wants to step up its game, there’s a rumoured 5-inch, 1080p display manufactured by LG that HTC has got its clammy hands on for a device it’s about to unveil in some time. Though that high a dpi doesn’t make any sense as the human eye would not be able to see the difference, it’s still a huge leap forward. Even if that rumour falls by the wayside, the Sony-manufactured panel in the One X would be a worthy candidate for the next Nexus, more so than the Super AMOLED panel in the SGS3, in my opinion.
Even if all these reasons don’t seem to make a solid case for HTC, just for the sake of variety, we need a new OEM in the mix right now. If Samsung makes another Nexus phone, we would be in danger of being locked into a monotonous Samsung-only Nexus cycle, and it would go against the quintessence of the Nexus program. Plus, there have been rumours that Google will produce multiple Nexus phones spanning a range of price points this year. If that is true, I still want HTC to be given the reigns for whatever device becomes their flagship. HTC has proven their design chops this year, and they deserve a chance. I can already see it: The Nexus X.