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5/3/2013
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LG On Deck For Next Nexus

Google may go with LG rather than its own Motorola unit to make the next Nexus smartphone.

Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect
Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect
(click image for slideshow)
Google must be pleased with the performance of the Nexus 4, which is made by LG, because it appears as though Google will ask LG to make the next-generation Nexus. Google CEO Larry Page recently met with LG in Korea. Though the meetings were privately held, Page was there to talk hardware.

Sources familiar with the discussions said, "Larry Page invited [LG Electronics CEO Koo Bon-joon] for a meeting while he stayed in Seoul last week," reported The Korea Times. "They discussed ways to improve their business partnership. The meeting lasted for more than an hour. They exchanged views about the latest mega trend in the global information technology industry. They also discussed how to form an alliance in futuristic projects as part of the big picture."

About once per year, Google debuts a new smartphone that is meant to be a test bed for its Android operating system. The Nexus line of smartphones run a clean version of Android, meaning there are no manufacturer or carrier applications on board. The stock version of Android appears as Google wants it to on Nexus phones.

HTC made the first Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 1, and Samsung made the following two, the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus 4 is the first such device made by LG. It went on sale in November of last year, and immediately sold out. It can be purchased directly from Google for $299 (8 GB) to $349 (16 GB) without a carrier contract. The next Nexus device isn't expected to arrive until October or November of this year.

[ In the market for a smartphone? Learn why Samsung should be near the top of your list. See Samsung Galaxy S 4: 11 Clever Tricks. ]

Sticking with LG as the hardware maker of the Nexus smartphone is an interesting choice, if true. Google closed its purchase of Motorola, a smartphone and tablet maker, a year ago. Motorola was expected to be the supplier of the next Nexus smartphone. That appears not to be the case.

There have been plenty of reports about Motorola's next moves, but the company has been very quiet the last seven months. It hasn't released any new smartphones this year. Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Larry Page have both teased good things to come from Motorola, but neither offered any specifics.

Google's decision to use LG could simply be a matter of timing. Perhaps LG has a good Nexus candidate ready to go for the fall, and Motorola doesn't. Given Samsung's incredible rise through sales of Android-based smartphones -- and its near overshadowing of Google -- it won't be surprising if the company doesn't get another shot at the Nexus line.

LG and Google talked more than phones. LG is working with Google to make a Google TV with an OLED display. LG is also working on its own version of Google Glass.

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