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Android watchers all a-quiver over the Nexus 5

Anticipation for the Nexus 5 smartphone has reached a fever pitch, as a rapid succession of leaks detailed possible specs and pricing, and indicated that an official roll-out may be near.

Much of the hubbub this week focused on the leak of a service manual to Android Police from manufacturer LG, which outlined a device with a 5-inch, 1080p screen, Snapdragon 800 SoC, 32GB storage and an 8MP camera featuring optical image stabilization. (Handy if, like me, you're a little unsteady when it comes to smartphone snaps.)

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Overall, though, those specs would make the Nexus 5 a fairly standard high-end Android device. The price, however, is what could be the interesting part, according to a report from Phone Arena, which says that the Nexus 5 could go for as little as $300, unsubsidized.

That's the same price as the last-gen Nexus 4, which was generally well-received, but made important design compromises to achieve that low price, including the omission of LTE capability. An out-and-out flagship at the same price could prove highly attractive.That said, Phone Arena's report is a little thin anonymous source, uncorroborated elsewhere, with a weird detail (the battery will actually be bigger on 32GB models than on 16GB) thrown in to induce doubts. Season well with salt.

Speaking of anonymous sources, CNET UK is the first to take a definitive stab at a release date, citing "whispers around the campfire" at Google Launchpad, and also informing me that there are campfires at Google Launchpad. Fun! Both the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 "KitKat" will be released on Oct. 15.  

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Qualcomm has walked back its executives' latest round of mouthing off about competitors, this time issuing a statement saying that comments by chief marketing officer Anand Chandrasekher describing Apple's 64-bit A7 processor as a "gimmick" were, in fact, "inaccurate."

"The mobile hardware and software ecosystem is already moving in the direction of 64-bit; and, the evolution to 64-bit brings desktop class capabilities and user experiences to mobile, as well as enabling mobile processors and software to run new classes of computing devices," a Qualcomm spokesperson told IDG News Service in an email.

The company earlier this year said that CEO Paul Jacobs had been misquoted when Chinese media reported that he'd called Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor "misleading" and a "publicity stunt."

I can only imagine what Qualcomm would be like if they were in some other business, like selling razors: "Our competitor's 18-blade system is a misleading gimmick. Clearly, our own 10-blade Shavedragon is the sensible option."

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OK, OK, let's talk about the Samsung Galaxy Round, the world's first curved display smartphone. This is clearly a massively important design that will open a major new field of functionality for users and not even remotely a gimcrack novelty that Samsung released so that it can say it was "first."

Maybe that's a bit harsh, but I'm far from alone in having a lot of difficulty seeing what the actual value of the Galaxy Round is. It's a Galaxy Note 3 with a sort of curve in the middle.

I can see the value in the flexible plastic screens the company's planning to come out with those could prove a lot more damage-resistant than the usual glass. But this? Feel free to enlighten me, if you've got a guess.

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt made more than a few headlines this week by declaring Android more secure than That Other Operating System, what with the frequent reports of yet another unpleasant malware milestone or creative new threat. But OK, then, whatever you say, Eric!

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I normally consider rants about relatively minor build deficiencies in Android devices pretty tiresome, but Artem Russakovskii over at Android Police has a point when he hammers the Galaxy Note 3's home button for its shoddy construction. Really, if you're going to insist on a physical home button, that's a pretty poor showing, Samsung.

Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.


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