While Apple gets the foreign factories to do most of its leaking, Google is happy to do the work itself, with a brief appearance on the Google Play store of a Nexus 5 offering.

The page has vanished now, but with a starting price of $349 -- if the price holds for the official release -- puts top-notch smartphones within easy reach, without the need for a long-term contract with a mobile network provider.

The phone will also be the first device to ship with Android 4.4 KitKat, making it a must-have for those who crave the latest in operating systems and chocolate-covered biscuits. 

Getting Into the New Nexus

With Amazon seemingly keeping its smartphone powder dry for another year -- and Apple focused on the new iPad release -- Google has yet another great chance to win direct sales through its own store thanks to the increasingly successful Nexus program. With a device picked from the top tier of Android smartphones, the fifth model should be available before the end of the month, packing the latest version of the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system.

As is increasingly the case, we know all about this model long before the official unveiling, with various partners leaking specifications and images. Now Google has briefly joined in the fun, adding the Nexus 5 product to its Play Store page, leaking the price at a pretty competitive $349. That's hot on the heels of the new $280 Chromebook 11, suggesting Google is driving hardware efforts to the mass market.

The Nexus 5 will sport a 1080p full-HD 5-inch display, the increasingly mandatory Snapdragon 800 CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, a 4G LTE radio and will likely offer 16 and 32GB models. That pretty much tallies with the LG G2 model it is supposed to be based on. But the star of the show is likely the KitKat OS. 

Unwrapping the KitKat

Some of KitKat's features will make what were traditionally phone features part of Google's own experience. So, we expect to see sending text SMS messages folded into the Hangouts app, while payments -- through NFC or other means -- are more likely to be handled through your own Google account.


All pointers suggest an October 28 release date for both the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat. With Google trying to limit further fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, expect KitKat to be compatible with a wider range of devices than previous updates. Also, the new Google Experience layer should play a part in choosing the right apps for a particular device.