The Google Nexus 5 by LG is out in the Play Store starting at $349. Android 4.4 KitKat gets official
Would you believe – it finally happened! The most leaked handset in recent memory has finally become official. Not only that, but it’s also available to order straight away!
The LG Nexus 5 is now out in the Play Store in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and soon India). As expected, the pricing is extremely affordable. You have to pay $349 for the 16 GB version, and $399 for the one with 32 GB of storage. For higher prices, you’ll be able to find the Nexus 5 in many other countries in mid-November.
The device is available in all-black or “white”, which actually means it has a white back but the entire front is still black. Shipping is set to start in one to two days. You can find the links to the Play Store at the end of this post.
Most of the leaked specs have turned out to be real. The Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch 1080p Full HD touchscreen, an 8 MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, a 1.3 MP front camera, a 2.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, LTE support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, wireless charging, and a 2,300 mAh battery. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat from day one. Its dimensions are 137.84×69.17×8.59 mm, and it weighs 130 grams.
Android KitKat comes with a new “immersive mode”, that lets a game, a movie, or a book “take center stage”, akin to the “expanded desktop” feature seen in many custom ROMs.
Furthermore, the recently rumored ‘slimming down’ of Android with this release turned out to be real, and now Google says KitKat can run flawlessly on hardware with just 512 MB of RAM. This is possible because of unnecessary background services having been removed, and reducing the memory consumption of the most used features. The diet applies not only to Android itself, but to Google apps such as Chrome and YouTube too.
The launcher has seen a revamp of its own, with Google Now being just a swipe away from the leftmost screen (think iOS search), and the status bar has become transparent while in the launcher. Google Now is also accessible by simply saying “OK, Google”.
The Phone app has been improved as well, and it’s now able to search across your contacts, nearby places, or even Google Apps accounts. Contacts are prioritized based on who you talk to the most. When you get a call from a phone number that isn’t in your contacts, your phone will look for matches from businesses with a local listing on Google Maps. Google’s Hangouts app now handles SMS and MMS messaging too, while the built-in keyboard adds support for Emoji.
QuickOffice comes preinstalled. The Downloads app and the Email app have been redesigned, and switching between different launchers has been made easier with a dedicated Settings entry just for that. IR blasters are now supported, as previously rumored, and you can seek through movies and music from the lock screen.
Finally, KitKat brings a new, “open” NFC architecture to Android, which works with any carrier. Apparently you can ‘tap to pay’ with Google Wallet or other apps at more than a million stores already.
Obviously, updates to Android 4.4 KitKat will soon start rolling out to older devices such as the Nexus 4, 7, 10, as well as the Google Edition Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Interestingly, there’s no mention of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus – this may mean that it won’t get the update.