Google launched its mobile operating system in October 2008, with T-Mobile G1 (also known as HTC Dream) being the first-ever smartphone to run on Android OS. With a full touchscreen display and slide out physical keyboard, the smartphone was shipped with Android 1.6 Donut OS. Soon after that, manufacturers stepped in to bring Android smartphones to the mass audience. However, it was only in January 2010 when Google partnered with HTC to launch the first Google Nexus-branded smartphone, the Nexus One. Also Read - Here's how US based Google Pay users can send money to IndiaAlso Read - Google starts showing COVID-19 vaccine information in Search app
Unlike other Android smartphones, the Google-Nexus branded handset are affordable and come with Pure Stock Android OS, without any customizations on top. As these devices are free of heavy customizations and unnecessary bloatware, it allows Google to update them first to newer Android versions. From January 2010 till date, Google has launched six Nexus devices, with the latest Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P set to launch tomorrow. Let s dive right in to take a closer look at how Nexus smartphones have evolved over the years. Also Read - Facebook Messenger becomes third non-Google app to garner five billion downloads on Play Store
Nexus One: Launched in January 2010, the Nexus One was Google s first Nexus handset. Made by HTC, the smartphone was initially meant for developers but it was also released for commercial users. Back then, the smartphone was equipped with top-of-the-line hardware. One of the main highlights was its touch-sensitive trackball that was placed just below the capacitive touch buttons. The design of Nexus One had a metal frame panel on the sides and plastic back.
In terms of specifications, the smartphone featured a 3.7-inch WVGA (800×480 pixels) AMOLED display and Qualcomm s QSD8250 Snapdragon S1 single-core processor clocked at 1GHz. It also featured 512MB of RAM, Adreno 200GPU, 512MB of onboard storage and microSD card slot for further expansion up to 32GB. For photography lovers, the Nexus One included a 5-megapixel rear snapper with LED flash, and also packed a 1,400mAh battery. On the software front, it ran on Android 2.1 clair OS.
Nexus S: The Nexus S was the second smartphone in the lineup that was launched in December 2010. Developed in conjunction with Samsung, the Nexus One successor brought some nifty new features and hardware upgrades. The Nexus S comes with a slightly curved screen, called Contour Display and the body is made from durable plastic. The bottom side of the back panel had a slightly protruding curve, to fit its curved design.
On the specifications front, the Nexus S brought some inviting changes in terms of front-facing camera and NFC connectivity. It featured a 4-inch WVGA (800×480 pixels) Super AMOLED display and was powered by a 1GHz Hummingbird Cortex-A8 processor paired with PowerVR SGX540 GPU and 512MB of RAM.
The smartphone also featured 16GB of onboard storage, 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, VGA front-facing camera for selfies, and a 1,500mAh battery. Connectivity options included Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and A-GPS, and it was also the first phone to ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS out-of-the-box.
Galaxy Nexus: The third Nexus handset, the Galaxy Nexus was also made by Samsung and was a step-up from its predecessors. It was launched in October 2011 with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which brought in some major design changes and under-the-hood OS customizations too. Design wise, it was similar to the Nexus S but the body was made from metal, whereas the back had a dotted finish that offered a good grip for holding the handset.
Coming to specifications, the Galaxy Nexus came with a slightly larger 4.65-inch HD display was also the first Nexus device to come with a dual-core TI OMAP 4460 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 processor. Paired with PowerVR SGX540 GPU, the RAM was also bumped up to 1GB. While the internal storage remained at 16GB, it too didn t have a microSD card slot.
The Galaxy Nexus also featured a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 1.3-megapixel front facing camera, 1,750mAh battery and connectivity options like 3G support, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.
Nexus 4: The Nexus 4 was made by LG and was launched in November 2012. The smartphone brought some interesting design changes like a metal frame on the side and a clear glass back panel with piano finish.
On the specifications front, the smartphone came with amped up hardware compared to its predecessor. It featured a 4.7-inch HD IPS display, and a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz processor paired with Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The smartphone came with 8GB and 16GB onboard storage options, but still, there was no microSD card slot.
The smartphone also featured an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 1.3-megapixel front facing camera, and a 2,100mAh battery with Qi-Enabled wireless charging feature. Connectivity options included 3G support, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11n, NFC and A-GPS. It shipped with Android 4.2 JellyBean and is upgradable to Android 5.1 Lollipop OS.
It featured a 4.95-inch 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, and was powered by Qualcomm s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz and paired with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. On the storage front, it came with 16GB and 32GB storage options.
It also featured an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash with Optical Image Stabilization, 1.3-megapixel front facing camera, 2,300mAh non-removable battery and support for wireless charging. Connectivity options included 4G LTE support, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS with GLONASS. It ran on Android 4.4 KitKat out-of-the-box and is also set to get an upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS soon.
Nexus 6: The Nexus 6 is the latest Nexus smartphone made by Motorola, and was launched in November 2014. It is one of the most expensive Nexus smartphones with specifications on par with other flagship smartphones. It ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop OS out-of-the-box, which brought some major visual changes in terms of Material Design interface.
On the specifications front, the Nexus 6 flaunts a 5.96-inch QHD display, and is powered by Qualcomm s Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7GHz processor paired with Adreno 420 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Internal storage capacities have also been bumped to 32GB and 64GB.
For photography lovers, the Nexus 6 comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization and dual-LED flash. On the front, you get a 2-megapixel selfie camera.
The Nexus 6 also comes with a massive 3,220mAh battery with support for Qi wireless charging and connectivity features such as Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC. The smartphone also comes with stereo speakers, certification for water and dust resistance.
These are the Google Nexus smartphones launched till date, and tomorrow the search giant is all set to expand the lineup with two new smartphones. One if the mid-range LG-developed Nexus 5X, and the other is a high-end Huawei-made Nexus 6P.