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Thursday, October 31, 2013, 11:55 am PT (02:55 pm ET)

Google unveils new Nexus 5 with M7-like motion tracker, Android 4.4 KitKat

At a Friday event in San Francisco, Google took the covers off their newest Nexus-series handset and unwrapped the next version of Android, version 4.4, or "KitKat."

Nexus 5


The Nexus 5's announced specifications line up with previous leaks, and it appears Google has packed nearly every available technology into the device. A 2.2-gigahertz Qualcomm processor with 2 gigabytes of RAM drives a 4.95-inch 1080p display, while support for 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, and inductive charging can be found on board, reports Engadget. Like the Nexus 4, Google partnered with South Korean manufacturer LG for the handset.

Android's newest flagship also includes what appears to be a response to Apple's M7 motion coprocessor, adding "two new composite sensors — step detector and step counter — that...track steps when the user is walking, running, or climbing stairs." Google notes that the "new sensors are implemented in hardware for low power consumption," though KitKat is also required.

Google says the Nexus 5 will ship today in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea. An unlocked, off-contract 16-gigabyte model will retail for $349, while bumping the onboard memory to 32 gigabytes will raise the price to $399.

KitKat, meanwhile, is said to sport several user interface and app updates that Google promises will make using KitKat devices easier than those running older versions of the operating system. Google Now features prominently, with the Nexus 5 gaining the now-famous "OK, Google" wake-up feature.

Google also slimmed KitKat down, according to the release, allowing it to run on devices with as little as 512 megabytes of RAM. The Mountain View company says the efficiency effort was designed to broaden support for low-powered Android devices which are popular in the developing world.

Behind the scenes, in addition to the new step detection features, KitKat gives developers native APIs for printing, new NFC capabilities, a standardized method for interacting with SMS and MMS messages, and support for building full-screen applications.