San Francisco — Google is launching its next-generation Nexus smartphone through Sprint and T-Mobile channels and as unlocked model through its own online store, designed for use on GSM/HSPA+/LTE networks around the world, including T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S.
The LTE-equipped LG-made Nexus 5 is the first smartphone to incorporate Google’s Android 4.4 KitKat OS, and like its predecessors, features a pure Google experience. Android 4.4 features include optimized memory usage to run more apps simultaneously and switch among them faster.
The launch expands Nexus phone sales channels. The previous LG-made Nexus 4 was available through T-Mobile channels and unlocked in the Google Play store for use on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks. Other previous models included the Nexus S, which was exclusive to Sprint, and the Galaxy Nexus, which available through Sprint and Verizon channels. The first-generation Nexus One was available only unlocked from Google for the T-Mobile and AT&T networks.
The Nexus 5 incorporates all the bands and wireless technologies to run on the T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T networks, including CDMA 1xRTT/EVDO, GSM/GPRS/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA+, and LTE.
The phone is available unlocked today for GSM/LTE networks in the Google Play store at $349 for the 16GB version and $399 for the 32GB version. T-Mobile said it will offer the phone through its channels “in the coming weeks.”
Sprint said it will offer the phone beginning Nov. 8 through direct and indirect channels at $149 for the 16GB version with two-year service agreement. The phone will cost $18.75 per month for 24 months under the Sprint One Up trade-up program.
The Nexus 5 will also be available soon at Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack, Google said.
On the Sprint network, the phone will operate in the carrier’s three LTE bands and will get a software update in early 2014 to add Sprint Spark advanced-LTE technology, which will deliver peak data speeds of 50Mbps to 60 Mbps.
Enhancements over the HSPA+ Nexus 4 include LTE, faster processor, larger higher-resolution screen and better camera. The device features 4.95-inch FullHD IPS display with 445 ppi and in-cell touch technology, which enables faster touch recognition, better outdoor visibility and crisper images, Google said. The device also features 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB RAM, 8-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, and 1.3-megapixel HD front camera.
Other enhancements to the main camera include longer exposures with less blur and less noise for improved dim-light performance. An improved HDR+ mode captures a burst of shots and fuses the images together into one photo with a greater range of shadows and light created from multiple exposure and color data.
The phone’s new dialer automatically suggests people that users will most likely call, and Caller ID by Google matches an incoming phone number to a business even if that number isn’t stored in the user’s contact list.
It also comes with Qi wireless charging accessories, 2,300 mAh embedded lithium-polymer battery redesigned Google Maps app.
The phone’s Android 4.4 KitKat OS will be available in the coming weeks for downloading to the Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 7 and 10 tablets, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One Google Play edition.
The Nexus 4 features 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS Plus 320 ppi screen with 1,280 by 768 resolution, 2GB RAM, 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.3-megapixel front HD camera and embedded 2,100mAh lithium-polymer battery.