Next Nexus Wish List

Google’s next Nexus device is going to be announced in a few months, so I thought I would write about what I want to see. I say device, but my best guess is that there will be multiple devices, probably including a 10-inch tablet.

There have been rumours that Google will not announce the next version of Android right away. However, I think there will be a new version of Android. Google will announce Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie, which will mostly consist of minor improvements and changes behind the scenes.

Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie

Lock Screen

The lock screen in Android 4.2 will get added customization. Currently, a slide to the left launches the camera application and there is no way to change that on the default lock screen. In Android 4.2, the left slide shortcut will be set to launch the camera by default, but the user will be able to set that shortcut to turn the phone’s ringer off, or to launch an application. When the user adds an app to the lock screen, the system will generate a white icon for the app, to keep the clean look.

Default Launcher

Android 4.2 will come with changes to the default launcher. Google will remove the line that separates the dock from the home screen panels, and it will be replaced with a stronger shadow effect under the dock. This will give it a cleaner look, and it will make Android look less robot-like and more friendly to the average user.

The dock will be able to hold up to six icons, and the user will be able to move the app drawer icon anywhere in the dock. The app drawer shortcut will also be able to be removed from the dock in the system settings, to make space in the dock for one more icon. The home button will then open the app drawer, which will make it a bit more useful.

Music

Google Play Music will finally become available on the Google Play Store in the United Kingdom. Google Music was available in the United States many months ago, and it was updated to Google Play Music to go with all the other Google Play services. Google’s Nexus devices have Google Play Music preinstalled on them in the United Kingdom, but I don’t know if they are updated. I think it’s about time Google releases Play Music internationally.

Although Google Play Music is not officially available in the United Kingdom, it is fairly easy to do an online search for the apk to download, and I have done that several times. I try to avoid using Play Music because it looks quite ugly. I love the icon, but when you open the app, there’s an ugly background that I just don’t get. Google will probably change that to a clean look and feel sooner or later, which will probably look more like a stock Android app. That will probably happen in Android 4.2.

Chrome

One change I think Google will make in Chrome for Android will not be entirely in the browser. It will be more in the operating system and the launcher. Users will be able to install websites as web apps on their home screen. It is currently possible to add a bookmark from Chrome to the home screen. However, it shows the toolbars from the browser and although they move back up into the top of the screen when the page is done loading, a proper full screen web app would be better.

For Chrome web apps to look good, Chrome will have to get faster at loading things. There isn’t yet a way to make actual web pages load instantly just yet. However, one thing I think all Internet browsers should have by now is web page caching. By that, I basically mean that when you click on a link to go to a new web page, the previous page should be set aside, but not completely closed. That way, when you go back, the previous page would load instantly. They could also add a window animation in there, just to add to the effect.

System

A few months ago, I watched a YouTube video with someone’s wish list for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, before it was announced. I don’t remember everything he said, but he mentioned that some apps in Android 4.0 have a white background and other apps have a black background. I since tried out CyanogenMod 9 and I know exactly what he was talking about. He mentioned that Google could add a setting for all apps to be white or black to solve the consistency problem, and I completely agree with him.

I’m not completely familiar with the process phone manufacturers have to do to get their custimizations ported to newer versions of Android, but Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was released nearly two months ago, and it still isn’t on the HTC One S and One X, or on the Samsung Galaxy S III. The process clearly involves more than moving the APKs over, and I think Google might be able to do something to make it easier for phone manufacturers to release updates.

I think Android also needs customization options for the buttons at the bottom of the screen. Currently, you get back, home, multitasking and menu, if you’re running a legacy app. Google need to think of a way to change that up, mainly so phone manufacturers stop giving their phones buttons separate from the screen. I don’t know why phone manufacturers don’t just put the buttons on the screen, but Google need to give them a reason to break that habit.

Google Nexus Devices

Phones

I am hoping Google will release multiple Nexus phones this year. The Galaxy Nexus by Samsung is an amazing phone. However, there is one thing I don’t like about it, which is the plastic shell. If Google asked other manufacturers to help them out, including HTC, I would be a lot more likely to go with a Nexus device.

Some people say the next Nexus device will have a quad-core processor, and other people say it doesn’t actually need four CPU cores. I don’t know what Google are planning to do this year, but with the chance of Google releasing multiple devices, it is almost certain that there will be both dual-core and quad-core devices.

Tablets

Google already released a tablet this year. Because of that, I don’t think Google will release a bunch of other tablets. I think it’s more likely that Google will release just one tablet for now. Earlier this year, Google released the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet which essentially killed the Kindle Fire. This year, I think Google will release the Nexus 10, with a keyboard dock. Asus are making Google’s Nexus tablets and all their 10-inch tablets so far have had keyboard docks. I think it is safe to assume one will come with the Nexus 10.

Other Devices

If you want to buy a computer, your main options are buying a computer with Windows installed on it, or buying a Mac. I don’t know about other users, but for me, Windows just doesn’t work. It takes forever to boot, and then it crashes. I’m sure it’s a lot faster on an SSD, but I shouldn’t have to replace the hard drive with an SSD and buy a new copy of Windows to be able to use a brand new laptop. Some might say you should go with a Mac and while I use one and love it, a lot of people just can’t afford a Mac. That would leave Microsoft Windows as their only option.

If Google joined in with making computers running Android, I think it would catch on quite quickly. Google would start off with an 11-inch ultrabook running Android on a Tegra 3 processor set to quite a high clock speed. The best thing about an Android ultrabook is that I can imagine it would be quite cheap. It would be more like an expensive smartphone, and it would be a lot cheaper than even a base model MacBook Air.

If Google decided to make Android computers, they would mostly be able to simply put their tablet Android interface on a larger screen. However, they would have to make some changes to the user interface, and also some tweaks to the standard computer keyboard layout. They would start with replacing escape, f1 and f2 on the keyboard with back, home and multitasking. Then, they could remove those buttons from the screen itself, and make it easier for apps to go into fullscreen mode for things like video playback.

Google’s keyboard could probably do without having arrow keys like what you get on most keyboards. Instead, touch sensitivity could be added to the space bar, allowing users to slide their finger along it to move the cursor through the document. Otherwise, they could use their mouse to click where they want to carry on typing.

Finishing This Post

I wrote what I could about my wishes and predictions for Google’s next Nexus, but I know there is stuff I missed out. Please post a comment below telling me and future visitors to this post what you would like to see. Comments currently require approval before they are made public, but I don’t get many comments on my website and I am quite quick with reading and approving what I do get.

Sunday 2nd September 2012 - Leave a comment

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