Nexus 4 Spotted Running Official Developer Preview Android L

My Google Nexus 4 is easily one of my favourite 'phones. It was released just under two years ago and although the on-box specification was quickly surpassed, the Google Nexus 4 has a beautiful glass design and is fast and responsive, even two years on. From my personal perspective, I especially enjoy the Nexus 4's great sound quality on a call but I'm less enthusiastic by battery life, which isn't as strong as later devices. However, with Google saying that manufacturers should support Android devices for eighteen months, it seemed less likely that the Nexus 4 would benefit from the next major version of Android; Android L. Then back in June at the Google I/O conference, Google released a beta version of Android L for the 2013 Nexus 7 and the Nexus 5. The original 2012 Nexus 7, the Nexus 10 and the Nexus 4 didn't get a look in. Things were not looking so great for the Nexus 4 and perhaps the device would be stuck at Android 4.4.4 Kit Kat.

Just as with the Galaxy Nexus being officially stuck on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean despite appearing to be capable of running 4.4 Kit Kat, the Nexus 4 looks perfectly capable of running Android L. It has a 1.5 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdrapon S4 Pro processor backed up by 2 GB of memory and either 8 GB or 16 GB of internal space. The Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch, 720p resolution display. On paper, the 2013 Nexus is only a slight upgrade to the Nexus 4 as it has a quad core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor (Google call it the S4 Pro) but it does have a storage advantage; it was available with either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage. This may be a clue as to why Google didn't release the beta version of Android L: perhaps the installation requires a lot of internal storage and Google thought it improper to release it for the Nexus 4 because it would use up too much space?

Android Police have found threads on the board claiming to be from Google employees using Android L on a Nexus 4 device. The build mentioned in these posts is LRW52G, compared with LRW66E for the official Nexus 5 Developer Preview version. Now before we get too excited, just because users with a email address claim to be running Android L with a Nexus 4, this doesn't mean that it will be released. If the most significant factor in if the Nexus 4 is getting Android L is that the 8 GB model will run low in internal space, then there's every chance that LRW52G won't see the light of day. All the same, it would be an unusual decision as Android One devices are already committed to getting Android L onto their devices. And if Android L does arrive, it should help polish battery life, which would be very welcome. But back to my users: what do you think? If the Nexus 4 gets Android L, would this still matter or has the Nexus 4 had it's day? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.