The past few days have been interesting in the way of Nexus 5 (or Nexus 4 2013) rumors. After a few grumblings that seemed to confirm that LG would once again be responsible for the smartphone Nexus slot, there was silence, an FCC approval disclosure and then retraction, and then purported spotting of the Nexus 5 in Google's KitKat announcement video.

Today the FCC re-posted the approval documentation for ZNFD820, or the LG-D820 model, a device which is steadily gaining traction as potential candidate for the Nexus 5. Although as usual LG has requested confidentiality on the internal, external, and test setup photos, what's particularly interesting is that the wireless charging disclosure includes some shots of the device's battery cover and its inductive charging and NFC coils. In addition the back is not designed to be user replaceable, and there's no microSD card slot. The backside appearance seems to line up with the visual appearance of the Nexus device from the video as well, with similar shape and oddly oversized cover glass for the camera aperture. Keep in mind the photo is of the inside of the battery cover. 

Video appearance of purported Nexus device (above), LG-D820 rear cover rotated and scaled (below)

What's interesting about the LG-D820 approval is that it includes almost all of the bands you'd want for a North American SKU that covers LTE, CDMA, and HSPA+ for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. There's no Verizon LTE (Band 13) in this band coverage. Non inclusion of Verizon LTE banding in an upcoming Nexus isn't much of a surprise after relationship issues following Galaxy Nexus (CDMA/LTE), inclusion of Sprint is a bit of one, but not as much (Google Voice, Google Wallet).

The breakdown is LTE on bands: 2, 4, 5, 17, 25, 26, 41 (1 and 7 are probable as well, FCC only lists what's relevant inside the USA), WCDMA on bands: 2, 4, 5, and CDMA2000 1x/EVDO on band classes 0, 1, and 10 (800, 1900, 900 MHz). There's also 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (the screenshot above doesn't call out 802.11ac but it is explicitly mentioned and tested in the appropriate sections of the test reports) as well as BT 4.0 LE (Bluetooth smart ready). Inclusion of CDMA2000 1x/EVDO in and of itself is surprising, and the device includes the necessary LTE banding for Sprint, of course CDMA2000 is also relevant in a few other markets in combination with LTE. 

Update: Another thing that caught my eye was inclusion of mention that the LG-D820 uses variable antenna matching (antenna tuning) which would be necessary if it's going to accommodate a lot of different bands on just one transmit antenna. This could end up being a Qualcomm tunable frontend part. Display diagonal is also listed as 126.0mm which works out to 4.96-inches diagonal for display, enough to warrant a Nexus 5 name, and a length and width of 131.9 mm x 68.2 mm. 

Update: Brad Molen from Engadget caught a reference to MSM8974, aosp_hammerhead and KyeLimePie[sic] inside the disclosure as well. There are two references to MSM8974 (Snapdragon 800) which would to validate that as being the SoC platform and this as a Nexus device running 4.4 which was codenamed Key Lime Pie up until its recent rebranding to KitKat.

It's too early to know for sure if this is the real deal or not, but both rumblings that I've heard and external factors are starting to point in this direction, and inclusion of both AOSP, MSM8974, and Key Lime Pie (now KitKat) references make it hard to refute. S4GRU (Sprint 4G Rollout Updates) was one of the sites tracking LG-D820 on its forums for some time, I've been paying close attention to that situation as well since I heard about that device model and saw the band combinations onboard. Recent attention just intensifies suspicions. The inclusion of LTE in the next Nexus smartphone is an obvious and welcome upgrade, and Google has been indeed pushing for more impressive banding in its devices, which we saw through the Nexus 7 (3G/4G LTE) band combination. 

Source: S4GRU, Engadget

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  • BoneAT - Friday, September 6, 2013 - link

    Sounds awesome! Hoping for Nexus 4 price match. Hoping for that big time, $350 or $400 would make me consider the Mi-3, also a spectacular device.
  • code65536 - Friday, September 6, 2013 - link

    So the Nexus 4 was "Mako", and the new Nexus is "Hammerhead", huh? There are lots of other shark species that they could've chosen; perhaps they were fans of a certain video game franchise? ;)
  • dbann - Monday, September 9, 2013 - link

    I will be eager to see what the "Tiger", "Great White" and the "Megalodon" would be like! :D
  • willis936 - Friday, September 6, 2013 - link

    Verizon customers are really feeling the pain here. It's just blow after blow in terms horribly delayed updates, flagship handsets being months late or passed up entirely, and it all culminates in being the only carrier that doesn't have a nexus option. There is no decent off contract choice for Verizon at all. I think VZW likes it that way but I now have little option to but to sit on three year old hardware and pray that google eventually uses it's motorola/VZW diplomacy to nudge through a device that would redefine "hero".
  • DParadoxx - Friday, September 6, 2013 - link

    I left Verizon for T-Mobile after they ruined the Galaxy Nexus. I couldn't be happier.
  • willis936 - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    Well I'm in the interesting position of having an LTE phone with an unlimited data plan: something that isn't offered anywhere period. Upgrading means losing that which I'm not super keen on as it's quite useful with WiFi hotspots and there's no guarantee it will be coming back anytime soon for any reasonable price.
  • thesavvymage - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    T-Mobile has LTE with fully unlimited data, so it is still offered. Their plans also include tethering. I cant name any markets off the top of my head with LTE other than Austin and Seattle though...
  • Ed T Duck - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    No. T-mobile has 'unlimited'. Verizon has UNLIMITED!
  • Impulses - Sunday, September 8, 2013 - link

    T-Mobile does have a fully unlimited option with no throttling, as does Sprint.
  • dyc4ha - Saturday, September 7, 2013 - link

    So is it reasonable to assume they are only gong to have 1 model across the board? I always thought they would make several variations for different markets needing different LTE bands, but seeing how they are trying to fit even CDMA into one model, I guess they truly want a world-wide phone like the Nexus 4 but with LTE.

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