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Google's Nexus 5: What to Expect

Stocks in this article: GOOG LGL MSFT TI QCOM AAPL DELL HPQ

Issue #1: Timing

When will we see a Nexus 5? As previously stated, and similar to the iPhone, we have come to expect a new Nexus once a year. I don't think this will stay the same going forward.

Unlike public schools, actual technology capabilities do not fit the seasonal weather patterns or the 1841 farming calendar. Breakthroughs and advancements happen on whatever schedules "just happen." That could be two months or two years, depending on many of the overlapping hardware and software advancements.

Either way, the smartphone has now become a really, really big business. It's an epic clash of the titans. If you have a card you can play to advance your position in the battle, you have to play it -- not hold it back for an annual ritualistic cycle, appeasing the sun God.

For this reason, I think we should expect a Nexus 5 to arrive a lot earlier than October-November 2013. My money is on May 15.

Issue #2: Hardware

How will the Nexus 5 hardware differ over the Nexus 4? First, let's mention what will NOT change: The size and shape of the device, as well as the screen resolution. Therefore, to the untrained eye it will look just about the same.

One barely visible hardware difference would be to make the construction cheaper. This would entail getting rid of the glass backside and to revert to the cheap but durable plastic of the predecessor device, the Galaxy Nexus.

Inside the Nexus 5, the key words are simplification and cost reduction. Much of this is a de-facto pass-through from Qualcomm. The CPU and radio (cellular data modem) will see further integration, getting one step closer to allowing the OEM (LG, Samsung, HTC, whomever) to produce as few versions of the device as possible, to cover all countries in the world. On the issue of LTE, that will be the subject of a separate article.

In this cost reduction exercise, one can surmise that the "old" computer companies -- and I don't mean Dell (DELL) or HP (HPQ), but rather Acer, Asus and Lenovo -- would be interested parties. This is their wheelhouse.

Perhaps 2013 will be the year when Acer, Asus, Lenovo -- and perhaps the Chinese, such as Huawei and ZTE -- finally make it to the Tier 1 ranks in the US smartphone market, thanks to Google and Nexus.

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