Google (GOOG) just launched its new LG Nexus 5 Android smartphone and its newest operating system update, called KitKat.
The Nexus 5 will ship with 16 GB of memory for $349 from the Play Store today, unlocked (you can shell out $399 for 32 GB). It will be available soon from Amazon (AMZN), Best Buy (BBY), and RadioShack (RSH), and through Sprint (S), and T-Mobile (TMUS).
Sprint will sell the phone for $150 with a contract. T-Mobile will sell the phone at a discount too, but hasn’t said how much it will be.
The Nexus 5 has a 5″ HD screen and a 8 MP camera (the same high-quality as the latest iPhone) with burst mode, which means that it can snap a rapid sucession of photos and then combine them to give you the best single picture. The front-facing camera is 1.3 MP. The phone boasts up to 7 hours of battery life with standard use.
KitKat comes with some exciting new features as well. When on your home screen or in Google Now, you can simply say “Okay Google” to launch voice search, send texts, and more. The new Hangouts app bundles together text messages and multimedia messages in one place (and now allows users to send GIFs).
Plus, Android has finally joined the emoji party, making a standard variety available on Google Keyboard (previously, it used its own little Android-robots).
Google also slimmed down Android memory footprint (by removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of Google apps) so that users with older phones with less memory can still use the update.