Is it time for Motorola to make a Nexus smartphone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: August 9, 2013

Yesterday, after LG announced the G2, they announced that they wouldn't be creating a Google Play Edition version of their new flagship device. The company decided not to follow in the footsteps of Motorola, HTC or Samsung and decided to just let their current hardware do all the talking. It helps that the G2 will be available on all four major wireless carriers, too, even if there will be some minor tweaking here and there to make that happen.

While that news may have made some folks unhappy, there was some speculation as to why LG would decide to skip a Google Play Edition "for now." Some believed that LG and Google were busy working together on the next Nexus-branded smartphone, and that the new design for the "Nexus 5" would be based on the G2. Loosely based, mind you -- we're talking processor, screen, and perhaps the physical design of the device. No crazy button scheme.

It wouldn't be a surprise to find out that LG was put in charge of creating the next Nexus smartphone, considering the success that the Nexus 4 saw during its launch, and immediately following it. Last year, the Nexus 4 was a top-of-the-line smartphone, and it was done with a cheap price tag, all of which aided in the smartphone's overarching success.

The hope for this year is that Google isn't going to shy away from that aggressive off-contract pricing or their Nexus lineup, and that whatever device does add to the ranks is sold for the same $300-$350 price point. Some would have us believe that the high-end specifications of a device like the G2 would make that impossible. But, as I said above, the Nexus 4 launched with high-end specs, so I don't think it's impossible for the Nexus 5 to be based off the G2 at all. Unlikely, maybe, but certainly not impossible.

Of course, today is a new day, which means that there's already new speculation swirling around regarding the next Nexus smartphone. According to Taylor Wimberly, Motorola will launch a Nexus smartphone in the fourth quarter of this year. He also notes that this Nexus device isn't the Moto X.

Motorola has some kind of relationship with Google ever since they were purchased by the company, so it's certainly possible that this year is Motorola's time. It's no secret that there are plenty of people out there who would love to see a Motorola crafted Nexus device, especially if they can include some of that battery greatness we've seen in their "Maxx" devices for Verizon.

However, while Wimberly points out that the next Nexus smartphone from Motorola isn't the Moto X, that doesn't necessarily mean it won't be based off the Moto X's specifications. And, if that were to happen, I would probably just skip the next Nexus altogether.

With the Nexus 4, LG and Google showed us that we can get a high-end smartphone without paying a ridiculous amount of money. The Nexus 4 may not have had an amazing camera, but it certainly had high-end specs under the hood and with the display for its time. The Nexus 4 stood out, and not just because of its price tag.

If the next Nexus device is based on the Moto X's hardware, with a dual-core processor and a 720p AMOLED display, I won't be interested at all. No matter what the price tag is.

Which is why I think Wimberly's comment regarding it not being the Moto X means that Motorola has to be working on something completely different. Also, the fact that Motorola confirmed a Google Play Edition Moto X is on the way lends credence to the idea that Motorola's got another, brand new phone with high-end specifications being crafted somewhere in the world, ready to take on the Nexus brand.

I'm certainly not counting out a Motorola made Nexus smartphone. I think it would be interesting to see how Motorola's device would stack up against the handsets that came before it. I would like to see how Motorola believes the Nexus brand should continue, with hardware leading the stock Android charge. However, I still can't help but be enticed by a Nexus 5 based on LG's G2 specs. That just sounds too good to pass up.

So, what do you think of this rumor? Do you think Motorola is gearing up to launch a new Nexus smartphone? Would you consider the Nexus 5 if it were based on the Moto X's hardware? Or would you prefer your next Nexus smartphone to be based on something like LG's G2? Let me know what you think!