01
Aug
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Google hasn't exactly had a great track record when it comes to official Nexus accessories. Accessories have been teased or shown off only to arrive months later or not at all (remember that Nexus 10 dock?).

Recently, though, Google has done a much better job - there are a bevy of case options available for both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013) in a variety of colors, catering to almost all tastes (though at times the quality may not be ideal). According to information made available to us, it appears Google is exploring a tool that would take their accessory strategy to a new level - introducing custom cases and even live wallpapers, created by users in a special interface called - for now - Workshop.

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Workshop currently only caters to the Nexus 5. What device the service will launch with, or whether it will expand to other devices, remains to be seen, but for now it looks like Workshop is still in an exploratory phase.

Google has built out most of the interface and user experience, and has established two main "tools" to create custom cases and live wallpapers for the Nexus 5 - MapMe and Moments. Here's a look at the main page, that gives a quick overview of the service, and the page that briefly explains each of the tools.

wm_front wm_tools

MapMe

MapMe, as its name suggests, bases your custom case and wallpaper on a location of your choice. Workshop will apparently offer some canned suggestions like a user's hometown or where they met someone special. From there, users can customize the look of their map to their liking, using different colors or adding text.

The live wallpaper accompanying MapMe can show location-specific tweets or weather, with interactive touches included.

wm_map wm_maps

Moments

The "Moments" tool invites users to "bring your phone to life with moments you love." Basically, the tool allows users to upload photos, choose one for the case design, and pack others into a live wallpaper.

wm_moments

Once a user uploads a photo (or really any image) from their computer or an existing Google+ album, they can manipulate it on the device, add filters to that image, and add a message in black or white text, positioned at the top, middle, or bottom of the image. The user can then add more photos for the live wallpaper if they so desire.

wm_mani wm_txt wm_wall

Final Thoughts

So far, this is all we know about Google's Workshop. As with any unreleased service or interface, it's important to note that this is a work in progress, and may or may not debut as we've laid out above. What's not clear yet is how a customized live wallpaper would be distributed. Presumably, the user would be able to download the wallpaper at will either from the Play Store or a dedicated interface, but that remains to be seen.

We don't have any information on possible pricing or regional availability, but if Google does unveil a service like this, it will be a huge step up for official Nexus accessories.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Franco Rossel

    And then you flash something and lose your custom Live Wallpaper forever.

    • Ryan

      if it has all that interactive stuff included then it will probably be a system apk which can be restored via the play store.

    • Floppy fish

      Nandroid

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      I doubt it. In fact, I'm relatively certain since this is a CASE for the phone and not the phone itself, that it won't exactly be SHIPPING with it. Odds are they'll simply link it to your Google account, you'll download the Live Wallpaper, and when it connects to your account it will provide you with options for whatever cases are tied to your phone.

  • Miguel Ripoll

    Wait... this is fucking awesome!

  • O’s Fan91

    *Required joke asking for apk*

    • Dunkin Donuts

      stay tuned to have soon new informations! did I get it right Artem?

      • Tomáš Petrík

        SOON BACKANSWER!

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Spot on.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    HOT

  • Franz

    I wonder with the Nexus 6's huge screen if they are debating keeping the Nexus 5 for a bit longer to offer these customization and possibly with a price cut?

    • black

      Certainly looks that way.

    • Alistair Dillon

      Or maybe they'll do an updated Nexus 5(2014) and a Nexus 6?

      • Kenton Douglas

        Agreed. Bump the N5 to a 5.1" screen (fits the body easily) an update the processor (801/805) and camera (12/13Mp). Then the N5 and N6 (supposedly 5.9") match up to iPhone 6/6 Air (supposedly 4.7" and 5.5") especially when you need to allow for on-screen buttons.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          >iPhone 6 with 5+" screen
          >iPhone Air
          Uh, shouldn't the Air subtitle belong to the smaller model?

          • Godspoken

            The idea of calling a theoretical bigger iPhone "Air" comes from the fact that the newer, non-mini iPads are now called iPad Air to better distinguish the two (and more directly refers to their light weight, obviously).

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Following your logic the next big iPad is going to be called iPad Air 2

          • Kenton Douglas

            Not sure to be honest - I'm not into Apple stuff, but on the tablets the Air is the larger one. No?

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Yes, but the Air implies "smaller, lighter", which suits the supposed 4.7" model more. I mean, they can't call that one Mini, right?

          • Kenton Douglas

            Maybe. We'll have to wait and see - not that interested in Apple stuff to be honest :)

        • Bill S

          I'd rather they just update the internals to a 805 with 3gb of ram and a better camera though swapping in a 801 and using the emmc 5.0 interface for the nand would be nice also but I have no interest in google wasting the spec budget on larger screens or higher resolutions 5" and 1080p are more than good enough at this price point

          • Justin W

            Let's not forget battery life. If it comes in line with say a Z2, I'd be all over it like white on rice.

          • Kenton Douglas

            the F2FS filesystem (Moto X, Moto G 3G) would be a nice addition also ... the "cheapest" way to improve performance without employing newer hardware.

        • Mkvarner

          I want a larger bezel on the sides so it will be easier to swipe from left to right with a case.

          • Kenton Douglas

            for me that depends on how the top glass is cut/shaped. Rounded (curved) glass is fine.

  • Tony Byatt

    Yes...

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    This. Sounds. Amazing.

  • Humberto Hernandez

    40$ each....

  • Cwoffee

    They will be so expensive.

    • Mlibbey

      No, they will be SO expensive

    • http://techanalyzer.net/ http://techanalyzer.net/

      What from Google is expensive?

      • Sergio Solorzano

        any case?

    • Bruno

      Why would it be expensive? It's only printing !

  • https://google.com/+LateefAlabiOki Lateef Alabi-Oki

    So much for the death of the Nexus program.

    • Humberto Hernandez

      old busted rumor is old... and busted.

      • Mayoo

        and rumor

  • NinoBr0wn

    So now those over priced cases will come out to a car note.

  • Sir Quacks Alot

    Yes PLEASE!

  • Kyle Owens

    Oh Snap....this is awesome.

  • black

    This is pretty cool.

  • Arthur

    I guess this is cool but the Nexus line is still not advertised in any actual stores. Yes Sprint and T-Mobile sell it in stores but when was the last time a sales rep ever recommended one over an HTC One or Galaxy Phone? The average person still doesn't know what the Nexus is or it's benefits over the rest. Until the Nexus line branches out and regular folk take notice, attempts like this will still be very niche.

    • FritoDorito

      Just because Nexus phones aren't popular among casual consumers at the same scale as the iPhone or the Galaxy S series doesn't mean that it is completely insignificant. Many people who buy Nexus phones are more avid users, but there are a lot of regular people who own Nexus phones. My sister's boyfriend exclusively uses Nexus phones, but he definitely doesn't check phone news or track phone launches. He's just a regular phone user. My friend's entire family uses Nexus devices because they were far cheaper due to them being on Straight Talk. I've never even mentioned anything about smartphones to him; his family bought them on their own initiative. Nexus 7's are decently widespread. The name may not be universally know, but the tablet itself is almost iconic. There are commercials where Nexus devices are used as representative phones/tablets. They're no iPhones, but they're far from irrelevant.

  • Travis Jennings

    Is this for a replacement back panel or just a case.

    They've been doing this with cases for years. What I need is a customizable replacement back panel. Or just the STL file so I can print one myself.

  • Greyhame

    Hate to be a negative nancy on this glorious Friday in Wisco, but ... I'll believe it when I see it. With all of Google's supply chain issues, I have a hard time believing they'll be able to pull this off smoothly.

    • Dominic Powell

      Just a thought, A lot of these cases can be designed and implemented with the technology going on / behind ARA's modular cases. This could be a product of 3D systems - who are making massive scale and ability for 3D printers in a commercial aspect.

      • Greyhame

        Let's hope. I don't use a case now, but if I could customize one...

  • Godspoken

    I can go Redbubble and make a custom for my iPhone case any time, but it's nice to have the option for a less popular device like the Nexus. I've always been a fan of the iPhone's bevy of accessory options.

    EDIT: Also, the map ones pretty cool, but at the same time, I can't picture anyone actually buying one.

    • XerBlade

      Nexus is not a popular device? But just about everyone I come into contact with seems to be sporting a Nexus 5... Granted, the vast majority of people I ever deal with are software developers.

      • Godspoken

        I've seen exactly two Nexus 5's in the wild. Granted, NO device or phone brand is as popular as the iPhone, which is why so many third-party options are available for it and why I appreciate Google stepping up a bit to counter that.

        • XerBlade

          iPhones are only phenomenally popular in some areas, you know. In many others, Samsung phones absolutely murder them in sales.

          • primalxconvoy

            Which, far flung corner of the galaxy is that, then?

          • XerBlade

            Earth. Most places outside of the English-the-official-language world, to be more specific. And yes, those places do matter.

            Global market share:
            Samsung phones (not Android total, just Samsung alone): 25.2
            iPhones: 11.9

            Last year at this time (so you can see this is not a recent magical fluke):
            Samsung: 32.3
            iPhone: 13.0

          • Truth Hurtsington

            Finland for one (though we are slowly shifting to Huawei phones for some reason..)

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        You're in a specialized field, which explains that. In the actual wild, I get a nice thrill out of the rare Nexus 5. I've seen, maybe, 5 in the wild, total. I can't spit without hitting an iPhone.

        • XerBlade

          I know. I was being ironic. Which that field description was supposed to make clear.

      • primalxconvoy

        Go into a shop selling mobile phone cases. Count how many different styles and options, and indeed the total amount, of cases out for Android.

        Now do the same in the iPhone section (that's the MASSIVE one with all of the cool cases that aren't out for Android).

        Understand now?

        • XerBlade

          Your response has very little to do with my comment.

    • Neo

      I can go to any Android OEM's out of the god-knows-how-many and get a device that is to my liking and after that root the hell out of it and install any ROM out of the hundreds if not thousands of ROM's (better yet I can create one myself) to my liking. I have always and will always be a fan of Android , Nexus in particular , I have a 1st Gen Nex 7 and recently swapped my Nex4 for a Nex5.

      EDIT: Also, the iFruit looks pretty lame but at the same time, I can see a lot of sheep's lining up because they like to drink cool aid make fun of others who don't

      :)

      • Godspoken

        What does any of what you just said have to do with my post? I, too, am a huge fan of Android. I, too, think Nexus devices are the bomb diggity! However, save for popular brands like Otterbox making cases for Samsung flagships, you'd be hardpressed to find a good variety of cases that allow for a ranging expression of style on any Android device, simply because no one device has the market share that any given iPhone does to make it worth it to create a case specifically for that phone.

        If you don't care how your phone looks, that's fine. But a lot of people do like to have a plethora of options to express themselves with their phone and that's a legitimate pro of iPhones. Nothing I said has anything to do with software.

        • primalxconvoy

          THIS.

  • CasperTFG

    "(remember that Nexus 10 dock?)" Yes. And that $90 Samsung toro GNex pogo docking station that went out of stock after a week.

  • rasty++

    o.t. anyone with new google play service apk? tnx

  • hgfh
  • rulor

    Another service requiring Google + to use it.

    Sure.. not.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      As I mentioned in the article, you can upload photos right from your computer, OR choose from G+ albums.

      • karue

        Sure, until they force it to Google + like everything else

        • Luxferro

          At least you don't have to install a program that takes over your PC like iTunes.

          • primalxconvoy

            No. Just one that takes over your entire online history and future on EVERY device you use.

        • Thomas’

          Sure. If you completely missed the ongoing degoogle+ process of the last months.

  • http://sp4rkr4t.me.uk/ Michael Sheils

    Please let this be a series of launch options for the Nexus 6.

  • needcoffee

    this looks like they have copied (or licensed?) http://www.tuataracovers.com

    • primalxconvoy

      Sorry, I got confused after reading something about an ancient animal, or something, at that site. Where is the product info? All I was an iPhone case?

  • Cael

    Nexus 5 (2014) lol

  • Dpat09

    Android 12.06 confirmed!!

    12/2=6 ; 6/2=3
    Half Life 3 confirmed!

  • whispy_snippet

    And people said the Nexus line was dead. Long live Nexus!

  • Steffen Laursen

    Actually... that made me want the N5.

  • whispy_snippet

    This is rad. Love it.

  • Andrea Bittau

    FAP FAP FAP FAP FAP

  • soilent

    That's lame. I was hoping for real custom cases where I can realize my ideas like a table stand or additional rugging against dropping.

  • Elbram

    Japanese will love this. Need a matching Nexus case for my Saber Lily body pillow..

  • Tony

    Could be a print of a horoscope too.