Sprint is getting some significant updates to its smartphone lineup today: two high-end phones from LG and two mid-range phones from Samsung, in a variety of sizes from petite to freakin' huge, man. The Nexus 5 and G2 from LG, as well as the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega (6.3) from Samsung, are all available on the online store now. They should be in most retail stores soon (with a possible exception in the midwest and southeast), though the Nexus 5 will probably be scarce as usual.
The Nexus 5 is a ground-breaking device. For Android fans, this is the first high-end handset that customers can buy unsubsidized and activate on all but one of the major American carriers. This isn't a big deal with AT&T and T-Mobile, as Nexus 4 buyers could already use their networks last year, but the addition of Sprint is reason to take notice. If they can do it, it stands to reason that so could Verizon.
One of the more drool-worthy aspects of the software from the Nexus 5 (and not necessarily Android 4.4) is the homescreen and launcher, which includes a ton of new features tied directly into Google Now and Google Search. But you might want to curb your enthusiasm: according to a report from The Verge, Google isn't interested in expanding that launcher to other devices at the moment.
When LG announced the G Pad 8.3, I was really excited. Finally, another entry into the eight-inch tablet market! Couldn't wait to get my hands on it and really dig in. Sadly, throughout my use of the tablet, my excitement slowly dwindled – when I opened the box and saw the device itself, I was more eager than ever to turn it on, but as time went on, the user interface just killed the experience for me.
It was understandable when early pre-release specs listed the Nexus 5 as having a fictional 802.11nc (as opposed to 802.11ac) Wi-Fi, which many definitely noticed at the time. After all, the Nexus 5 wasn't official yet, and something like that could have been a typo made by a PR person or an intern.
When the latest version of Android starts rolling out, it's well-known that the vast majority of devices out there will never get updated. It's not the best situation, but it's one that at this point in time, many of us go into knowingly. So you LG Intuition owners out there, you already know you're not going to see KitKat come to your device, but at least you will finally now be able to leave Ice Cream Sandwich behind.
The first batch of Nexus 5 phones reached many early customers yesterday, but many of those taking advantage of the phone's compatibility with the Sprint network are having serious issues getting the device connected. According to several tips, this XDA thread, and this Google Groups thread, incompatible IMEI/MEID numbers on the phones are causing the activation process to fail, and giving major headaches all around.
Update: Sprint reached out to us with word that this is no longer an issue.
It seems there has been a bit of confusion about the latest Nexus phone's carrier compatibility here in the good ol' US of A, and I'm here to settle one of the questions asked by a number of our readers: does the Nexus 5 fully work on AT&T's network?
The short, simple answer: Yes. The Nexus 5 is fully compatible with all of AT&T's existing 2G, HSPA+ (3G / Faux 4G), and LTE infrastructure.
Assuming you don't live under a rock, you probably know the Nexus 5 launched on the Play Store last Thursday. In the US, Google's newest handset will cost you $350 for the 16GB model, and $400 for the more capacious 32GB variant. The launch went relatively smoothly, though stock of the 16GB Nexus 5 quickly evaporated - for the black version, within minutes - and latent purchasers of the 32GB version are now in for a weeks-long wait before enjoying the sweet embrace of KitKat.