Google soon to allow any handset maker to go ‘Nexus’

Google may be looking to change the way its Nexus program works this year. From the previous talks of having more than one Nexus device on the way this year, it would make sense, but Google may be attempting to get any manufacturer in on the fun with the Nexus line.

What is a Nexus device, really? It’s a “developer” device that offers up an untouched, stock Android experience, free from the chains of any carrier. Nexus devices have a tendency to receive updates faster because they are handled by Google and don’t need to go through carrier approval.

This time last year, we essentially knew almost everything about the Galaxy Nexus from a wealth of leaks. However, this year hasn’t been nearly as interesting on that front. So far, we’ve heard that Samsung, LG, Sony, and most recently, HTC will be offering up Nexus devices, but not much else, besides the same rumors being re-affirmed. Having a handful of Nexus devices launch around the same time sounds like a geek’s wet dream, but it may be the Nexus program itself that proves to be more interesting.

Previously, when making an Android device, Google set a certain amount of guidelines on manufacturer’s to get that “with Google” branding on the handset. These “Google experience” devices weren’t necessarily Nexus devices, but fell in line well enough. Now, it looks like Google will be opening the gates, allowing any handset maker to create a Nexus handset, but the guidelines will be significantly more strict. These unlocked devices will be offered up on the Google Play Store, allowing the buyer to choose where they take their device. (Though we could imagine that said devices will remain GSM only)

A new feature that could unveiled with the new line of Nexus handsets is called “Customization Center”, which could allow the user to choose their Android experience: stock Android or the custom user interface that the manufacturer has available for its non-Nexus phones. We’re still in the dark as to what the handset is considered when the software is switched to the custom UI (would it still get timely update?), but the option is likely more than welcomed by many people.

Personally, I’d like to see most manufacturer’s flagship handsets come in a Nexus flavor – Have Google handle the updates and only sell the Pure Google handset in the Play Store, but that’s easier said than done.  HTC, Samsung, LG, and most other handset makers still haven’t given up on capacitive buttons and have opted to keep the menu button that Google has attempted to render useless in Ice Cream Sandwich, and don’t expect any Nexus device going forward to offer up something other than on-screen navigation keys.

Don’t get too excited just yet, though. Most of this is speculation and rumors, it’s possible that we won’t be seeing many drastic changes this year. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit to see most of these changes materialize, but we’re just going to have to wait and see.

In any case, the prospects of having multiple Nexus devices sounds promising. Not only will customers have more variety, but we could imagine that handsets will be rolling out into the Google Play Store more often than the annual release we’ve seen.

[Via: Android And Me]



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