So, another crazy week in the mobile world, eh?
After 16 months of waiting and increasingly intense rumors about the next generation iPhone, Apple surprised us all with an incremental upgrade to the fourth generation, the iPhone 4S. Needless to say, this – or the iPhone 5, rather – was one of the few devices I have been looking forward to. I had high hopes that Apple would yet again push the limits of mobile tech. I will admit, the camera on the iPhone 4S looks superb, and Siri is pretty cool. But I'm more or less let down.
So what's a guy to do? Look forward to the only other device that interests him right now.
Unsurprisingly, Samsung decided to follow Apple's announcements last night with a short little teaser of what they will (hopefully) unveil at their Unpacked event next Tuesday: the Nexus Prime. Unlike rumors of the iPhone 5, Nexus Prime rumors have been somewhat substantiated by sparse evidence. It is worth noting that a lot of this "evidence" is easily faked, which means the only thing we really know about the Prime (we don't even really know that's what it will be named) is that it will have a contoured display, a multimedia dock (see the pins on the side) and a power button on the side. See the picture above? Not a lot to go on ...
That's why I've composed a list of the top five things I hope to see in the Nexus Prime (or whatever they call it). Without further ado, and not in any particular order:
There have been countless reports that the upcoming Nexus will sport an HD display, and a blurrycam picture that all but confirms it. Seeing as Samsung is the manufacturer, the chances of it touting one of their glorious AMOLED displays are high. That said, in the AMOLED HD display, Samsung has reverted back to PenTile Matrix subpixel layout. Here's to hoping the Nexus will be treated with a Super AMOLED HD Plus display. Quite honestly, though, at 320ppi, I won't be complaining either way.
I will admit that I think 4.6-inches is a bit excessive, but if the device is as thin as it looks, it may not be so bad. I would go as far to say that, if this is how I'm imagining it, this design is near perfection of the candybar form factor. Then again, I've only seen a quick glimpse of it.
If you read my article on my top five gripes with cell phone hardware, you know that the number one way to ruin a perfectly good phone for me is to botch the camera. I honestly don't care if it's 5- or 8-megapixels, but get the white balance, color reproduction and everything else right. Make the camera a feature, not an afterthought. Being Google's and Samsung's flagship for 2011 and leading into 2012, the Nexus Prime should be no exception. In fact, it should set the standard for all Android phones to follow, and the camera should be one of those key improvements over past models.
By the furthest stride imaginable, the Nexus One was the phone with the best hardware to date. Yes, I liked its design and hardware more than even that of the iPhone 4. (Gasp!) But HTC isn't the maker this go around. Samsung is in charge, and they're known for their excessive use of plastic. They make some killer products; just look at the Galaxy S II line or Galaxy Tab 10.1. Even the Nexus S featured an awesome shape and design – I loved the contoured display. But that phone was made almost entirely of plastic. Being a flagship device, it needs to feel sturdy and topnotch. Overuse of plastic is not something I want to see in a Nexus.
It is worth noting that in the picture above, which was captured from the teaser video and Photoshopped by a redditor, it appears as if Samsung has fused the design of the Nexus One and Nexus S together, and used HTC's famous gunmetal. That said, there is still a possibility that Samsung has slipped some unsightly plastic in the design. After all, we only caught a split-second, glimpse of the side, and who knows what those Photoshop edits did to what the phone actually looks like.
Please, Sammy, don't screw this up.
This is more on Google than anything, since they're in control of the software. But seeing as the Nexus will be the device to debut Ice Cream Sandwich, I will include it in this list. If rumors are true and the display is at 4.6-inches, a few on-screen buttons wouldn't be so bad. I mean, 4.6-inches is ginormous for a phone. Regardless, I feel on screen buttons are an inconvenience and a waste of precious screen space on my 10.1-inch tablet. A 4.6-inch phone will be no different.
In the tablet's defense, there is no better way to do it. Dedicated buttons on a device that can (and will) be used in any orientation is a bit absurd. But I always use my phone in one orientation: portrait. I'm also fine with there being no physical (or capacitive) buttons. That said, gesture technology is there. Why not use it? I love gestures in webOS and I would love them just the same – if not more – in Android.
Google, there are many things from Honeycomb that I would love to see on my phones. On-screen buttons are not one of them.
Samsung has a recent track record of releasing devices without an SD card slot (i.e.: Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Nexus S). Personally, I don't need a lot of storage on my phone anymore, as I stream all of my music from Google Music or through Spotify, and I have ample cloud storage from both Box.net and Dropbox. But the ability to quickly swap out memory chips and pop them into my computer is undoubtedly nice. Not to mention, some games (like 9MM which I just bought last night) are nearly 1GB in size. As cheap as flash memory is, we should not have to struggle with built-in storage.
A lack of a microSD card slot isn't a deal breaker, but it would be nice to have some expandable memory at my disposal. If they decide to go with no microSD card slot again, the least they could do is make a 32GB model.
I've read your comments. I know you're excited. Heck, even I'm excited. I can't remember the last time I actually got excited over an upcoming phone. Something about that picture up there just tugs at my heartstrings. It's ... it's beautiful.
So tell me, readers. What do you hope to see in the Nexus Prime next week at Unpacked? Sound off and speculate below!