05
Oct
nexus81

The rumor mill is going strong with Nexus hearsay now, and Android & Me is currently leading the pack with details about the upcoming version of Android and at least one of the devices that will run it. Thanks to "an inside source" A&M is reporting more details about the "customization center," updates to Google Play and Now, and a new feature called "Project Roadrunner" that we haven't previously heard of.

salt

Before we get into Android 4.2, though, there are some more details about the rumored Nexus program that are worth discussing.

Nexus, Nexuses, Nexi

As you probably already know, rumor has it that there will be multiple Nexus devices this year. This seems to be taking shape now, as we're starting to hear more and more about an alleged Nexus program that will allow any manufacturer to build a Nexus, not just one premier OEM chosen by Google.

According to A&M, the Nexus program will be shifting to a certification status of sorts, and manufacturers will have to meet certain requirements to carry the brand. However, they won't be forced to have the word "Nexus" in the device name. Instead, there will just a be a logo or something similar on the box to display "hey, this device is Nexus-quality." As for what those qualifications are, we're still not entirely sure, but we do know it must have 64MB of secure storage for media streaming, NFC, and run stock Android.

The Customization Center

This one has me the most intrigued. Apparently, it will be an area where users can change ringtones, languages, backgrounds, launchers, wallpapers, and presumably anything else to make the device "their own." Most of this stuff can already be done from the Settings menu, so it sounds like the Customization Center is going to be a central place to take care of it all, which is a little more user friendly. I can get behind that.

The UI changes are said to go deeper than that, too. The CC will offer "templates" that can be applied to the entire system, including icons. Sounds kind of like the theme engine that's been in CyanogenMod for quite some time now. This will be a quick way of letting manufacturers include their custom UI without pushing it on users. In theory, it should also mean that the custom overlay is a separate entity of sorts, so OEMs could push OTA updates to just the skin. Think of the possibilities there - the newest version of stock Android can be pushed to the device, and users will only have to wait for the updated skin. As incredible as that sounds, though, take it for what it is: a rumor, and pure speculation. I'm going to say that one more time, for the sake of clarity: pure speculation.

Updated Google Play, Google Now, and Video Player

It's a new Nexus, and a new version of Android. Of course there are going to be new apps to go along with it. According to A&M's source, Google Now will continue to improve (why wouldn't it?), and will offer new features especially for first-time Android users, like the ability to ask questions such as "where can I turn on Wi-Fi?" or the like. No more searching for things! Just ask your phone how to do it.

Also getting some new tricks is Google Play, which will supposedly be seeing "personalized search, optional promotional campaigns with notification center integration, more billing options, and easier in-app micro-transactions." All incremental differences, but differences nonetheless.

Finally, the video player will be getting a much-needed overhaul, which will include APIs so that other services can utilize it.

Project Roadrunner

When I think of "roadrunner," I think of the crazy-fast bird that Wile E. Coyote is always trying to get his hands (and teeth) on. Tangentially, I think of speed. Apparently, that's not what Project Roadrunner does, though. It's all about stamina and longevity; in short, it's about something near and dear to all of our hearts: battery life.

Project Roadrunner is said to do for the battery what Project Butter did for overall system polish and smoothness. Past that, we've got nothing. Still, it sounds fan-freakin'-tastic. Bring it.

Conclusion

What we have here are a collection of things that were said from one person to another. Does that mean they're immediately untrue? No, and given A&M's confidence in their source, we're actually leaning towards the opposite. Of course, that doesn't mean they are true, either. Just like with all other rumors, take them with a grain of salt. Or in this case, several grains.

[Android and Me]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, and musician. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6- or 7-string, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • michael interbartolo

    do you think the video player will now support Ultraviolet access given that the UV system already uses Google's Widevine DRM? thus bypassing the likes of Vudu, M-GO and Flixster to get folks full access to their UV locker on any Android device in HD?

  • mgamerz

    Hope its true about roadrunner, cause my gsm galaxy nexus has some pretty bad battery life compared to my atrix...

    • http://twitter.com/holmsc Scott Holm

      Hate to say it but I'm not optimistic about roadrunner for the Galaxy Nexus. I have the LTE version and it generally sleeps well with little drain overnight. The issue is the giant screen, not sure how they'd reduce battery drain from the screen.

      • mgamerz

        I think jellybeans butter makes the processor ramping up for touch events consume more *battery*

    • duplissi

      Really? My gsm gnex has phenomenal battery life! At least compared with my atrix 2. I do use Franco kernel though so that might be the key. Its not abnormal for to go 18+ hours between charges

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottyholm Scotty Holm

    You just got my hopes up big time with project roadrunner. I have the Galaxy Nexus LTE and have serious doubts they'll be able to increase my battery life much, due to the gigantic screen being the major drain. I'd be really interested in seeing a Nexus in the style of the Razr M with fast speed and great battery life.

    • Freak4Dell

      Yes...so much yes. I don't even use Twitter, but I sort of want to start a campaign for a #NexusM or something.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    Fingers crossed on a lot of this. The customization center, to me, sounds like a feature I've really wanted for some time: ONE place where I can adjust notifications settings for ALL my (feature-supporting) apps. Every time I wipe/rebuild my phone I have to go through all the individual apps and set them back to the settings I want, and I usually miss a bunch, plus they're all set up very differently. One central spot to access all of them would be a life-saver. Better yet would be having it backup said settings in the same way it backs up other functions.

    • http://twitter.com/holmsc Scott Holm

      Why not restore app data with Titanium Backup? If you buy the full version and do it in a batch, it only takes about 5 minutes to restore all your apps with data/settings intact.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        I do. Many apps, such as Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook don't restore properly, with things like Push notifications broken until you wipe them, or Gmail failing to download mail. Titanium is my lifesaver, but it doesn't cover all circumstances fully.

  • Brian Knapp

    I like the idea of Project Roadrunner and the focus on extending battery life. I'm interested to see what the Nexus lineup will look like in the next couple months. However, as much as it disappoints me, I will not be buying Nexus unless they offer expandable storage or at the very least a 64GB model. Not sure I will give up on removable battery either. I want a device that will last me up to 3 years and sufficient storage is an important component.

    • noMoreCrpware

      I was holding out a lot of hope for a fresh crop of Nexi, but w/o adequate storage or a removable battery it's looking like Note 2 for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      if you wanted a nexus it wouldnt be to have it for three years.

  • user311

    All this sounds fine and dandy, but it sounds like they're forgetting one major aspect that they NEED to address. There just isn't enough cowbell. We always could use more cowbell. Other than that all this sounds fantastic. Plus I don't want an LG Nexus so not having to wait another year for the next nexus is icing on the cake or whipped cream on the key lime pie.

    • Lefteris

      Can someone explain what does the phrase "There just isn't enough cowbell. We always could use more cowbell" mean? The non-americans (including myself) probably don't get it :P

      • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

        I'm American, and don't even know what that means...

        • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

          wow really? lol

          • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

            I'm also from the hood...

    • http://profiles.google.com/ted.boone Ted Boone
  • KB26

    Can I just drill a hole 60 mi. in the ground, throw my stratosphere in there, and jump in too?

  • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

    You should work for Motorola.

    • ericl5112

      I think it was an expression for large battery. I agree, I'd love a 3000mAh plus battery in my next phone. Not a fan of motorola devices though.

  • Kaero

    The main bad thing about Android is how the updates are handled. Google pushes out clean updates, the OEMs take those and spend 4-8 months layering their crap interfaces over it, then carriers spend another god knows how long just throwing in all their bloatware and bootscreens. Google really should have adopted Apple's "we will handle all the updates" mantra.

  • John O’Connor

    64MB of secure storage?

    • Julio M

      Apparently media streaming needs temporary storage (like cache), so it seems like 64mb will be the minimum. I guess it makes it more reliable for music, Youtube or movies. I am failing to find the factual meaning of it all.

      • Freak4Dell

        I, too, thought it was to serve as a buffer that nothing else can touch, so that even if the user completely fills their storage, media will not lag or stutter. However, according to the A&M article, it's meant to store data to prevent piracy, so perhaps it stores an authentication file or something.

        • blunden

          My guess it that it's part of the video streaming DRM. Basically, they want to guarantee a buffer that isn't easily readable.

          • grellanl

            Yeah, my guess this is to solve the "tension" between the idea of an unlocked/rootable device, with functioning DRM to appease the media companies. This way, they won't have to block access to Movies for rooted devices (for example).

            Yeah, DRM isn't worth a damn when there's always going to be a separate ripped copy to be found somewhere - but Big Media hasn't got that memo yet.

          • blunden

            My thinking exactly.

  • Greg

    The thing that I question about the stock Android and updates and the optional manufacturer skins is this: even when Google pushes out the pure Android update, will the manufacturers be forced to send it through to the device, or can they hold it up until their accompanying "skin" is ready? Also, what role do the carriers play in the new update process?

    • Freak4Dell

      This is what I'm wondering as well. Manufacturers will inevitably claim that a bunch of people use their crappy UI, and they'll whine and moan about how if they don't update it before sending out the new version of Android, customers will be unhappy that the new update "broke" their phone. Maybe Google will tell them to STFU and push the update, and everything will be fine and dandy, but I'm skeptical.

  • Samuel Riksfjord

    I'm creaming my jeans. It's a denim Ice Cream Sandwich.

  • Steve5883

    Ok Im excited

  • Julio M

    Note that 2.3.x had a total of 6 iterations over the course of one year. The users "stuck" on 2.3 should let users, OEM and carrier networks, that want the latest, move on to devices that actually get upgrades.

  • mgamerz

    Is that crack or salt?

    • Fifth313ment

      LOL, I was thinking that too and then I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out what the picture was for? Then I thought when he wrote, "The rumor mill is going strong..." I presumably guess the image means sugar or salt mill Inferencing the rumors, etc... LOL, way too much thinking needed to be done to connect the two. I'm betting most people that are reading my comment now on the bottom of the page are just realizing what the image is for now that I mentioned it.

      • Freak4Dell

        I'm pretty sure most people just assumed it was a reference to the phrase, "take this with a grain of salt."

  • ugag

    Call me a hater, but stuff like this proofs how much developed iOS is. They dont need any projects, their stuff works fluently and battery efficient. Hell even MS did a better job with customization than Google. Cool thing theyre adressing all the flaws, of course. Yet I think adding million features to an OS that still has such basic problems is strange.

    Dont tell me there werent any.. AP had a nice article about that. People also told that ics was super fluid and when JB was released they were like 'wow now its really perfectly' but let me tell you a secret: 4.2 will be even more faster. 'Almost' on par with iOS. For real, this time.

    • Mouthcanon

      We don't really care

    • Freak4Dell

      So let me get this straight. Either Apple just doesn't need to have goals of making their OS faster or more efficient, or they have the same goals that Google does, but because Google names their goals, they are somehow inferior to Apple.

      The first option means Apple is stupid. The second option means you're stupid. I don't think Apple is stupid.

    • randomchars

      You don' know Apple's goals as they're secretive as fuck. Android is OSS so obviously it's development is more transparent than iOS's.

      Seriously @Freak4Dell:disqus is totally right in his last paragraph.

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      They're not adding a million things to Android...they're adding a few things (new Play Store, fixing the Messenger/Talk/Voice/SMS mess, Project Roadrunner) and then fixing the issues. And two of those things were things Ron complained about and one is a long-standing issue with Android.

      Check out your facts before you write rubbish.

    • blunden

      You fail to realize that the people who fix alignment issues and UI stuff are probably different people/teams. Also, those kind of things usually don't get advertized as features so they would not show up as rumors.

  • mechapathy

    Project Roadrunner and Project Butter seem to directly conflict, no? In my experience battery life on my Galaxy Nexus has decreased since JB, which I would attribute to the fact that the CPU is being ramped every time I touch the screen; a feature of Butter.

  • randomchars

    And what are you proposing? That Android should go into a feature freeze because carriers and manufacturers suck?

  • Bruno Pedro

    there was a time where I thought 16 Gb was enough, it's not.

    8 Gb will just be ridiculous, internet on the run is not available for everyone, the cloud is awesome and all but it's not everywhere

    • Jonathan Wong

      I generally prefer all my data offline but also want the ability to sync them when I do connect to the web. Not everyone has fast enough data services if at all. Some people with data caps prefer to save of their data usage so offline data is also invaluable to such people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.tobeck Paul Tobeck

    Everyone, it's OK to speculate on your Nexus phone wishlist. Just don't say Snapdragon S4.

  • blunden

    Simply having an old 2.3 device that you haven't wiped probably adds to that number though since it shows up as an active device at least in the Play Store. To me that means that the number means a lot of people have at least one Gingerbread device, not necessarily that they are stuck on it. This assumes that Google don't filter this somehow.

  • blunden

    Some background to the Customization Center potentially.

    Sony Ericsson's first implementation:
    https://android-review.googlesource.com/#/c/19337/

    Competing T-Mobile implementation that became the one used in CM and later AOKP etc., currently updated and maintained by CM:
    https://android-review.googlesource.com/#/c/20980/

    More details in my G+ post (based on my comment on AP to the last rumor article):
    https://plus.google.com/104926630563312609031/posts/NAGB6xpfJxB
    ---------------
    I agree that it would be great if OEM Skins were mostly overlays like this because it would hopefully both speed up updates a bit and also potentially provide user choice.

    • Jonathan Wong

      Speed, battery, and customizability. With the Roadrunner, maybe more and more Android phones that don't have huge batteries like the Maxx will have longer battery life then the iPhone. With customization via a customization center, Google can easily tout easy to use "whole phone" customization from one single area instead of spreading it all over Settings.

  • http://twitter.com/verb0ze verboze

    "According to A&M, the Nexus program will be shifting to a certification status of sorts, and manufacturers will have to meet certain requirements to carry the brand"

    Windows certified, "Intel Inside", anyone? To me, the Nexus is the flagship device, and I know it will be well-supported because Google has a hand in it. Leave it to the manufacturers to make the nexii, good luck in having an up to date device as the Nexii we've known to date. I hope google will still work closely with chosen manufacturer(s) to release THE prototype Nexus, with pure Google inside.

  • http://twitter.com/verb0ze verboze

    couldn't agree with you more. Roadrunner above all. Software can always be added, but hardware issues are everlasting once you buy the device :(

  • Jonathan Wong

    There should also be a mandatory rule to keep up with Android release updates up to a certain time such as, say, 2 years.

  • Christopher Theofilaktos

    Bring on the Nexi!!!!