We all saw it. Even those of us that never experienced the greatness of the Nexus 5 felt an inexplicable pang of wistfulness when its bumpy bottom made a cameo during Google's I/O 2015 keynote today. Yes, the phone serving as the backdrop for Google's announcement of USB-C support in Android M was none other than the 2013 flagship Android handset, the LG-manufactured Nexus 5.
Visit Google's Android developer pages and you'll see the Nexus 5 making another appearance. Despite sales ending in March of this year, the Nexus 5 is still well supported by Google and is one of only four devices on which you can download the company's Android M Developer Preview today. Among them, the Nexus 5 is the only one that realistically fits the definition of a smartphone, with the others being a phablet, a tablet, and a hockey puck with an indeterminate reason for existing.
A generic illustration that should be turned into a real product
By all accounts, the image used by Google was meant to be generic rather than specific. It's an illustration of what an Android smartphone with a USB-C port might look like, not a promise of one that looks just like the Nexus 5. And that's where Google and I diverge in our thinking: I want the Nexus 5 back. It still stands head and shoulders above any other smartphone I can think of when it comes to value for your money. The Nexus 5 cost just over half the price of the typical premium flagship smartphones, but lacked almost none of their comforts. It was well built, if a little austere, it had a wonderful display, and it performed with brilliant quickness. The only shortcoming was its camera, but a great many Android phones have lived long and prosperous lives without having a good camera.
So here's my idea, Google. Take all the glorious goodness you already put into the Nexus 5, toss in your latest version of Android and the world-changing USB Type-C connector, and maybe ask LG for a better camera module this time around. Then watch the love pouring in from delighted customers. In any case, you need a reasonably sized smartphone — and the Nexus 5's name is matched by a very reasonable 5-inch size — to show off Android M at its best, so why not build on a device that's already well loved?