- Google's (GOOG +0.7%) much-hyped Nexus 5 phone, developed with LG, has been officially launched. As rumored, the 5 has a 5" 1080p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, and an 8MP camera with optical image stabilization.
- In-line with expectations, the 5 will sell for an unsubsidized $349 - an aggressive price point in light of its high-end specs, and one that could worry high-end Android leader Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY). Unlike the Nexus 4, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (but not Verizon) plan to broadly carry the 5 in their stores.
- More importantly, Google has also taken the wraps off Android 4.4 (KitKat). The latest version of Google's mobile OS adds a dialer with integrated search - The Verge declares Google has "essentially built the Yellow Pages into its dialer app" - more pervasive Google Now push notifications, a revamped Hangouts app (previous) that acts as a unified voice/video/text hub, and integrated Web/local app search.
- KitKat has also been optimized to run well on cheap Android phones with only 512MB of RAM, of which there are plenty in emerging markets. Thanks to Android's low-end/emerging markets boom, Strategy Analytics recently estimated Q3 smartphone shipments rose 45% Y/Y to 251M, and IDC has forecast full-year shipments will hit 1B.