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Google's Nexus 5: What to Expect

Will the Nexus 5 have a removable battery or not? The Nexus 4 got a nonremovable one, for the first time in a Nexus, and the general market trend in the last few years has been to nonremovable batteries. I'm not sure Google cares. They are likely considering both alternatives.

What about a bigger battery, and a (BlackBerry-style) keyboard? Those will be the subject of a separate article.

Issue #3: Software

The only software issues we need to consider here are:

A. Backwards compatibility

B. Google's eyeglasses

C. Miracast, i.e., Google's version of AirPlay

A. Backwards compatibility:

Will the next version of Android, presumably called Key Lime Pie and launched in conjunction with the Nexus 5 on May 15, be compatible with the Nexus 4? With the Galaxy Nexus too? One would think at a bare minimum the Nexus 4.

B. Google's eyeglasses:

Will there be some "secret sauce" in the Nexus 5 that will make it compatible with the Google eyeglasses? Will any of this be backwards compatible with previous Nexus devices? This is totally unknown.

C. Miracast

One of Google's two main black eyes vis-a-vis Apple (AAPL) is its inability to match one of Apple's signature features: AirPlay. More about the details of these things in a subsequent article, but basically this is an area where Google needs to focus. Expect LG and others to show steps in this direction, with Google's blessing, already at CES. How will the Nexus 5 go beyond the Nexus 4 in this area?

Finally, the BIG question: Motorola

To date, Google's Nexus program has been tiny in relation to Android as a whole. It's also been one where Google has been praying to the "God of fairness," promising that its own internal hardware department magically isn't going to get some sort of leg up, compared to HTC, Samsung, LG or others. Google has been more Catholic than the Pope in its dealings with its (mostly Asian) OEM partners.

Well, this highly defensive and conservative Nexus equilibrium must change. It's the equivalent to Roosevelt and Truman not choosing to build or deploy the atom bomb. Google is fighting the smartphone war with one arm -- and one leg -- tied behind its back. And when you're fighting against Apple and Microsoft (MSFT), that's something you can't afford.

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