Google unveiled its latest flagship Android smartphone, the Nexus 5, as a bargain for no-contract phone junkies. The phone, which bears a 5-inch screen, will retail for $349 in its 16GB configuration, or $399 for a 32GB model.
Those prices are in line with the phone's predecessor, the Nexus 4, which sold for $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB). Those are all no-contract prices, meaning they aren't reduced by carrier subsidies. Buyers also aren't locked into standard two-year cellular service arrangements and their high monthly fees.
Manufactured by LG, the Nexus 5 is available today in 10 countries including the U.S., Canada, most of Western Europe, Australia, Japan and Korea. The Nexus 5 will be available in the U.S. from Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.
The smartphone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM, a 2300 mAh battery and an 8-megapixel back camera (1.3 MP front). The Nexus 5 is an unlocked smartphone that will work on just about any carrier's cellular bands across the world—with the big exception of Verizon Wireless in the U.S.
Along with the Nexus 5, Google has launched Android version 4.4 KitKat. The new flavor of Android offers a new launcher for the operating system that integrates Google Now and the company's advanced search technology into the operating system. Google has improved its voice activated search with KitKat to include the ability to index and open apps with voice controls and search.
For instance, if you're looking for a restaurant reservation you can search for the location and Android will give you the option to use the OpenTable app straight from the search results. Users can activate voice search on the Nexus 5 by saying, "OK Google" and asking a question.
The Nexus 5 offers an improved camera option that Google calls HDR+. The feature allows the Nexus 5 to automatically snap a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best shot possible. Google processes the burst of shots in its cloud with a custom photography algorithm and delivers an improved picture for different light settings.