The LG Nexus is a Travesty


I think we understand the Nexus 7. It's meant to be cheap, so we can make a few concessions on build, lack of features, etc. When it comes to phones, though, where we're tied to contracts, paying exorbitant monthly rates for data, subsidies, etc. the story is different. But that wouldn't be the whole picture. Other than the money being spent on these devices, you have the competitors, namely Apple and Microsoft. They clearly have a target in mind. Great products.


"Surface Phone Concept Design" via

Microsoft recently revealed the Surface tablet and with it a challenge to the OEMs, "Do it better than us." With its flagship phones, they procured the likes of Nokia and they brought over their design language. Now, it's infectious. They even got HTC building phones like that. But, hey, no one's complaining. They look great. They're the merger of software and hardware that we've become accustomed to with the other company, Apple.



Apple, whether you liked it or not, just released another wildly successful iPhone. Iterative in design, but clearly a winner in the looks department. They push the limits of engineering and packaging to new heights, heights that they've set. Say what you will about the funky screen, the scuffing anodized chassis, and the crappy maps, the device is a stunning execution of married hardware and software.

Seeing a trend?


"The Nexus Evolution (from left to right, G1, Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus) via

The only people not picking up in that trend is +Android with their +Nexus line of phones. Okay, the Nexus One was decent, highlighting AMOLED technology, and an aluminum unibody, you could only complain that it had a trackball. The two Samsung devices after that were forgettable, but it didn't matter, because we were more excited about the software maturing. But now that Android is at this place with Jelly Bean, with 4.1.2 being such a mild bump, you have a sense that +Matias Duarte has got a solid course for the software, though I'm sure he'd say there is more to go. At this point, it at least feels unified; it's what a modern smartphone operating system should be doing.

So now, it's more important than ever to get the hardware down right. You could even argue that Microsoft got their design language down while still beta testing WP7! So, +Google just did a solid and released their own, beautifully designed Nexus Q. They're serious about design now. The re-branded ASUS tablet didn't necessarily go against it. The two went well together. As I said before, they had to meet a price point, even lose some money in the process. So the next Nexus phone, that's going to be a winner right?

So far? A resounding "wrong".

I think Google thinks they can win us over with specs. While I applaud the specs finally being "next generation" than current generation (see the OMAP chip in the Galaxy Nexus with ancient GPU), that approach just won't do anymore, if simply because, you're competitors are doing it better. As great as the S4 Pro is, the Adreno 320 is just powerful enough to be on par or slightly better than what's already found in the iPhone. While I won't argue with throwing more power and clock to give us the best Android experience (see, Savov's Galaxy Note II Review), is it not more important to start flexing some muscle in the hardware design department? Instead, what we're seeing is a "blinged" out Galaxy Nexus made by LG, complete with heat-warping, glitter rear fascia (that's not removable mind you).


"The Clubbed-Out Galaxy Nexus" via

This isn't the iPhone. You don't iterate the design of the Galaxy Nexus. When you iterate on cheap plastic, you get cheap plastic. At least the iPhone and the Lumia devices had a lofty reference point. The Nexus devices are lowest common denominator already. If you iterate on the lowest common denominator, guess what you get?

The lowest common denominator.

It doesn't matter if it's got a Snap Pro, 13 MP camera and fatter (FATTER!!!) display... let me digress for a moment. I know people want big displays and all, but at 4.7", make it thinner, not wider! Lose the bezel, thin out the plastic border, give me a RAZR M philosophy. I can't believe I just said that but that's how infuriating these LG rumors are! Instead of giving the Android-loving community the Aston-Martin of Nexus designs, what we're getting is, in essence, "Porsche-designed" Blackberries.



Instead of an exercise in practical, industrial design, Google has delivered, through LG as a partner, a Galaxy Nexus with a glitter ball effect on the back.

For your sake, Google, I do hope you have expanded your Nexus program and that someone is coming up with something greater than this. Something to go up with the likes of Apple, Nokia, and HTC's WP8 devices. There are beautiful concept designs out there. It is not this LG Nexus. It is not the Galaxy Nexus II (which is essentially a refreshed first version). The 5" HTC DLX is a failure before it even begins. Motorola? Has our bastion of hope that a beautifully constructed Nexus phone rest on the shoulders of Motorola?


"No... just. No." via

But, if there is a change to the Nexus program, I want to issue yet one more encouragement:

Get your act together with the carriers. Your (promised) update mechanism is atrocious. I happily own a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, but you screwed the pooch and tainted your brand. Seriously, who is in charge over there? You're Google. You're part of the "Gang of Four". Maybe, it's like what Woz said about Apple. They got arrogant. You're arrogant Google. You think, "1+ billion activations a day, let's just ride this wave." It's terrible. If a company could feel shame, you should.

As said in a recent Vergecast, "Google, bring your A game." Apple's continuing to go thermonuclear on Android. And Microsoft isn't intent on being #3, they want it all. You can start a "Schmidt-storm" by leaving Microsoft out of the conversation, but they're gunning for it, specifically, gunning for you. What are you doing about it? Releasing (rumored) glitter phones. Travesty.


"How about this?" via