Google's Nexus 5 smartphone debuts as first with Android 'KitKat'

The hotly anticipated phone offers LTE network technology and other enhancements

Google's Nexus 5

Google's Nexus 5

Google's highly anticipated Nexus 5 is the first smartphone with the latest Android 4.4 OS code-named KitKat.

Few phones have been preceded by so many rumors and purported leaks as Google's latest smartphone, which was launched Thursday along with the latest version of Android, and, like the Nexus 4, is manufactured by LG Electronics.

The phone has a 4.95-inch full high-definition display and is available unlocked for $349. The smartphone is the "slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made," wrote Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google, in a blog entry.

The smartphone weighs 136 grams and is 8.59 millimeters thick. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3GHz and has LTE mobile connectivity, which is an important differentiator from Nexus 4, which was announced at this same time last year. The lack of LTE network technology in the Nexus 4 came as a surprise to many.

The Nexus 5 provides 17 hours of talk time and 8.5 hours of Internet browsing on a Wi-Fi network, with seven hours on an LTE network.

The Nexus 5 also has a new camera that can take sharper pictures and keep images stable. The device has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera.

"A new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot," Pichai wrote.

Other features include 16GB to 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a micro-USB port. It supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking.

The smartphone is available through the Google Play store in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea, and will be coming to India "soon," Pichai wrote.

Some software enhancement in KitKat include the "Phone" app, which makes it easier for users to access contacts and make calls. The "Hangout" app enables videoconferencing, and also stores SMS and MMS messages. Like Motorola's Moto X, the smartphone has the Google Now application for voice-related commands and search.

The Nexus family of smartphones is still deeply strategic for Google, according to Geoff Blaber, CCS Insight's vice president of research for the Americas.

"In essence what we are seeing emerge is a two-tier strategy, with devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One with a vanilla Google experience on one end, and then at the other end the Nexus products, which are about offering strong hardware with a very aggressive price," he said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Android OSconsumer electronicsGooglesmartphones

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?