Nexus Droid Prime

Perusers of our Rumored Devices Forum were the first to learn weeks ago that the Nexus Prime is (a) coming to Verizon and (b) we should expect it in October. But what if it's a Droid-branded device? BGR brings that bit of unofficial info this morning, adding that it'll be the SCH-i515, and it's an interesting idea, spawning several possibilities.

First, remember that we're all expecting the Nexus Prime (or Droid Prime, perhaps) to be the first running Ice Cream Sandwich, the version of Android that brings the Honeycomb tablet-style OS back to the smartphone. The previous two Nexus devices -- Google's de facto developer phones -- have largely gone unbranded. Verizon attaching its excellent "Droid" branding would be unprecedented for the Nexus line.

We've long been of the opinion that Verizon never got the Nexus One (though it was originally supposed to) or Nexus S because there really wasn't  anything in it for them. No carrier-branded apps, with which it makes money, no control over the update process, etc. And aside from Sprint's Wimax version of the Nexus S (appended as the Nexus S 4G), there's been no individual naming. The Nexus One was the Nexus One, the Nexus S was the Nexus S. (Hell, neither one had any branding at all on the front -- Google and manufacturer logos were relegated to the rear.) We never saw an "EVO Nexus" on Sprint or "myTouch Nexus" on T-Mobile (and just as well -- those would be terrible names). Perhaps a Droid branding is the trade-off for finally getting the Nexus line on Big Red.

It's a slippery slope, right? Say the Droid Prime really is a Nexus device. Does that mean Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T -- which for some reason has always been late to the Nexus party -- will each get individualized versions, even if it's name only? We kind of hope not. One of the stronger features of the Nexus line has been its unification. One device, one experience, one name. That's why it's also been the developer line of devices, as well as being popular with those who want a "Pure Google" experience.

The next thing to ponder is that maybe the Droid Prime is completely separate from the Nexus line.  The unconfirmed rumor suggests it's a Verizon exclusive, but we do have a hard time believing the next Nexus phone would launch on a device that's really only usable in the United States, seeing as how Verizon's CDMA network is only good here, and LTE's not exactly built out anywhere else yet (and likely will use different frequencies anyway).

There are lots of questions remaining on this one. But we're expecting to get answers soon enough. One way other another, things are heating up, folks.

Update: Oh, and one more thing. Any phone branded as "DROID" by definition is a Verizon exclusive. It's the only carrier to have licensed the name for a line of phones. Food for thought.

Source: BGR;
More: Nexus Prime forum; rumored devices forum


Reader comments

How might a Droid Prime affect the future of Android's Nexus line?


No, he's right. Verizon has not had a great track record since the original Droid. I am not filled with confidence.

What is the point of a Nexus Phone if I have to root it... What happens to the vanilla experience... hello Moto? (maybe)

That's just it - it won't be a Nexus Prime; it'll be a Droid Prime. I just hope they don't lock the bootloader...

this could be the "true" successor to the Motorola Droid. The original Droid was the first phone to have Android 2.0, I believe, which changed the landscape for the Android OS. The Droid was also the best selling android phone at the time, and is one of the most iconic still. Verizon and Google launched a "Android Experience" phone 2 years ago with the launch of Android 2.0. What better way to bring in Android 4.0, which is also set to change the Android Experience, with another stock android phone on the best network? This is probably not the next Nexus device, but a precursor to it. Just like how the Motorola Droid was the precursor to the Nexus 1, which was released a few months after it.

i hope the next NEXUS line goes to Motorola. giving the 3 top Android manufacturers the chance to make 1 Nexus phone, but thats just me.

Moto's qhd display has issues. I have a DX2 and its painful to use every day. I would like Moto if they could spec a good display.

And I ask you sir, whats in a name? I would prefer they keep it a "nexus" device but honestly I dint think its going to matter one damn bit when the thing hits the shelves. As long as verizon stays true to the nexus experience and leaves the phone itself alone they can call destitute for all I care.

This is exactly how I feel. I don't care what it's named as long as it comes to Verizon & is pure Android.

I would also prefer a Motorola Nexus, even HTC would be ok, but I just don't know if I could choose Samsung. They make great phones & have the best screens, but I hate how they leave out a LED notification light & didn't put in a Micro SD card slot on the Nexus S.

I will still check it out with an open mind when it is released though.

The name implies a lot. It implies its from Verizon, and that it probably won't have Bing, as all Verizon Android phones that are not droid branded have Bing locked in as their default search engine. Meanwhile all Droid devices are usually their high end and un-Binged devices.

I welcome the Nexus line to Verizon, but I'm just cautious of what will happen to a pure Android device on a carrier that is infamous for bloatware.

You are actually wrong. I have the thunderbolt which is not under the droid label and it does not come with Bing.

What happens when you try connecting your DOLT to your computer. I've had the experience trying to transfer information from my computer to a Verizon smart phone and it is the most annoying thing possible

great read Phil. I can't see this the Nexus Prime and only being on Verizon. They just hasn't been enough Information on the Prime itself.
GT-I9250 is rumored to be the NP,SCH-i515 is the so called DP for Verizon. The Fascinate i500. I'm going to guess and it's just IMO that there claim of not carrying the GSII 3G is true and there getting this witch will be the GSII4G. I don't see Google going the multiple name route or releasing the Nexus without the Nexus branding... I could be dead wrong but i just can't see it

Wasn't there just a story that showed a leaked C&D from Samsung lawyers stating that the name of the device is the Nexus Prime?

As long as they leave the UI alone and keep it a "Pure Google Experience" phone they can name it whatever they want - I just want the option on Verizon.

But this strikes me as smart - none of the Nexus phones have sold particularly well, and I'm sure much of that is simply a lack of marketing push by the carriers. Now Verizon may have a very specific self-interest to promote it, as they don't want to see Apple get any more leverage over them (think of the total lack of bloatware on iPhones, and now Apple's surprise assault on SMS). I think the carriers (or at least Verizon) honestly fear Apple more than Google and its team of Android OEMs (and well they should - Apple could buy one of the smaller ones on a lark if it wanted to). So if pushing a Droid branded premium Android device, even without crapware, is the cost of establishing the strength of the Droid brand on Verizon, and making sure it competes head on with the iPhone, I bet the head honchos at VZW are willing to make that concession.

If this phone comes with stock ICS, I will be a first day buyer for sure.

Edit: I wonder if this will lead to a larger variety of Nexus phones (i.e. AT&T might get a 4.5" version branded as a Nexus, etc.). While that would certainly undermine the uniformity of previous Nexus phones, it might also make them more prominent (and therefore profitable), which would make winning the Nexus bid more valuable in future release cycles. That can only be a good thing for Android and for end users.

Does the naming really matter? I mean all the players are in it to make money and individualize themselves in a segment (Android) that can be difficult to do at some times. As long as it remains stock Android, who cares what they call it? The name is just marketing fluff.

Um,the article is about the naming issue. So yes that is the matter being discusses here and about the articles Nexus or Droid line of phones. Its rumor and speculative and the naming brand is "important" as to find out what this phone is about.

Not if the buttons are part of the screen (i.e. if the screen is more tall and narrow, and when using the screen in portrait the bottom part creates the navigation buttons). If ICS sees phones adopt the button-less navigation of Honeycomb then I expect we'll see several phones where the screen size is larger than were used to on the same size phones to account for the virtual "buttons". This will also make them superior devices for watching movies on when held in landscape position.

that's the size of the display. For all we know, they might have gotten rid of the capacitive buttons, extended the screen and kept the size of the device itself the same or made it even smaller.

Plus there's something to be said for the physical size of a phone and how large it feels. The Samsung Infuse has a 4.5 inch display but feels suprisingly good in the hand due to it's light build materials and super thin build. So the Nexus Prime might have a larger screen but feel smaller or better than the previous ones based on it's design.

I presume that if this is a Droid-branded phone that the bootloader will be locked...but since both Google and Verizon have talked about making developer phones available at least once a year on all of the major networks, I wonder if it won't have an official unlock webpage (or app) that will essentially change it to a Nexus Prime (at the cost of forfeiting your warranty). That would probably make the most sense given Verizon's aversion to letting people play with their phones.

Right, but if the phone ships as the Droid Prime then I doubt that Verizon would leave it that open. At best we'll probably have to do a web-based unlocking that would mark the phone as warranty-voided. I'm not saying I like the idea, I'm just trying to be realistic about what Verizon is likely to allow with a branded device.

If Verizon goes through with it, I'd be a little mad if I were Moto since they have made all the "Droid's" so far.

Really? Even the HTC DROID Eris? HTC DROID Incredible/2? The SAMSUNG DROID Charge? Nice information, pal.

not if you count the Droid Incredible from HTC or the Droid Charge from Samsung. I'm sure there's a couple others as well.

edit: looks like I was a little late to the party, curse you split seconds!

Ok. I'll bite. I need a mobile phone that is mobile. It has to work all over the US and overseas. That means GSM and not locked to a carrier. I ditched a jailbroken iPhone for a Nexus One and couldn't be happier. Looking forward a decision to stay with Android on my next device is unclear. iPhone is now finally available in the US in an unlocked, unaffiliated configuration. If the Nexus line isn't then it won't meet my needs any longer. Yes, I can root and ROM most Android phones (and I can jailbreak and unlock the iPhone), but I kind of appreciate a warranty and the easy availability of OS updates, both of which I lose with the hacker's approach. So, if the next Nexus phone is on Verizon exclusively or is carrier-branded and locked, then what's the point?

t-mobile late? they've always been the first, and anyways remember that BGR stated(from a source) that there might be no Nexus just stock ice-cream from different OEM's to carriers

I've been hoping that Verizon would give us a true Nexus phone. I understand their need to make money on installed apps - I just wish they could give us one option without the bloatware.

I just hope and pray the Verizon developers aren't working on getting CityID working on Ice Cream Sandwich!

Thanks, Phil. Great post.

I think that there will be a new Nexus devices on other carriers with similar specs. I just like the fact that there is a new device that really pushes the envelope in terms of specs and capabilities. The Droid Prime will be a great device, probably the best in 2011, but it will have the compromises of being a carrier specific phone, which other people here have commented on already.

I bet this is a similar deal as with the nexus one. The nexus one was always supposed to hit Verizon, then eventually it did, but in the form of the incredible and sense. I hope it wouldn't have a custom skin like that, but that's what this situation reminds me of.

It's a great app, but why pay a monthly fee when a similar app can be found in the market for a 1 time fee? I personally despise the cityid developer for trying so hard to bully and run off anyone who creates a similar app (a relative of Steve Jobs maybe?)

this is stupid speculation with no basis of fact. Google won't let it be a Droid anything, won't let VZW shove disgusting proprietary apps down it's throat, and won't let VZW be the only carrier. They will say "Here is the Nexus Prime. It comes in CDMA and GSM (Possibly WiMax/LTE). If you want it, take it. If not, get the fuck out of here."

If the Droid Prime is pure Google experience, has a 4.3" or better SAMOLED HD screen and is LTE then I will run everyone over on my way to the store on day 1 to get it and happily toss my iPhone 4 into the trash bin.

I could see if in some communication it was called a "Droid" by accident. I know a lot of people that think all Android phones are "Droids".

If not then I fear that the Prime is NOT the next Nexus device and then we have o idea what it is.

If it is a name, then yes it is stupid, but If I buy the thing then I can call it what ever I damn well please so as long as ONLY the name printed on the case is the only VZW branding then I am fine.

Locking up a Nexus device is kind of an oxymoron right?

I think it would be much easier for us consumers, if the carriers would give us a download site. We could login and download the bloatware as we see fit. Leaving it off the phone might encourage certain users to buy, rather than pass up, a certain phone.

I don't see Google changing the Nexus program, due to a carrier. This was always a developers phone. Play nice with the Devs, and they will build better apps, thus increasing Androids popularity. I think Google gets that, It's the Carriers and Manufactures that are struggling with this concept.

All nexus devices have been pure Google. No carrier bloatware. So I doubt that Verizon will get a Nexus device branded as droid with stamp on it. My current device is the Nexus One, and if i were to upgrade to the Prime, I don't want to see any Verizon branding.

Ding-ding-ding. We have a winner. There will be no Verizon Nexus. No money in it for those money-grubbers. They gotta have their bloatware and their droid branding. Can't have that on Nexus.

I imagine this is going to be a situation similar to the Rumored Verizon Nexus / Droid Incredible situation

I agree with coopere and cubfan on this one. I don't believe that the Nexus Prime is going to Verizon. Verizon is terrible for putting so much bloatware and Droid Branding on there Android phones. This will never happen to a Nexus Prime. The Nexus line is a pure Google developer phone and I couldn't see them putting the Nexus on Verizon. Verizon sucks!!!!!

I can you guarantee this is not the new "Nexus Prime". Samsung already has a page on their website in the process with the model's number as proof:

Now that's not saying there isn't a "Droid Prime" in the process or anything, but it wouldn't make sense since Samsung is the one making the next device. Maybe I am not understanding the topic correctly.

Also, it is getting pretty annoying with everyone making the Nexus Prime on Verizon sound so negative. Just because it is coming out on Verizon, that DOES NOT mean it won't be on any other carrier, and I'm positive Sprint or AT&T or whatever will carry the phone at some point. Google is smart; they want their google experience to be broadened for a bunch of consumers, not just the ones at Verizon.

Maybe in the future it will be called the "Droid Something"; if that does become the case, then it would be very stupid of Google because then they would have to call it multiple names for different carriers and that doesn't seem necessary. I honestly don't think Google would ever brand their Nexus into a Droid simply because it's always been the Nexus and it's Google who owns Motorola, not the other way around. I do believe Motorola will make a Nexus device, but not until next year, and that's not saying other companies won't be another Nexus device as well.

WOW, you guys are really making this more complicated than it has to be. The phone can be the Droid Prime on Verizon and Nexus Prime on everything else and perhaps launched at a little later date (at least in the US) as part of some exclusive agreement. Google can still control the updates. People can say what they want about the iPhone (and I usually do) but it did do one good thing, it set the president for a non carrier branded/controlled phone on Verizon.

Oh and as for your quip about Verizon's network not working oversea: ever hear of a World Phone (i.e. The DInc2, The D2G, and D3)?

There's no reason why Verizon can't have their own unique pure google phone. I'm on T-mobile, and I crave the consitent data signal that Verizon has. So, I'm looking for the best device that will work on Verizon. If it is pure google and can get system updates quickly, great. But, I just can't live without a consistent data signal, Nexus or no Nexus. My choices will be between the HTC Incredible HD (aka Vigor) or the Samsung Droid Prime.