Why Is Google Quiet about Nexus 5 Hardware Changes

Is Google trying to avoid a Nexus 5 civil suit?

Apparently, the Nexus 5 wasn’t the perfect high end smartphone at an entry level price.

According to multiple sources, Google and LG have made some physical changes to the new Nexus 5 models being purchased and shipped in order to fix some previously talked about flaws in the phone design and build quality.

Initial Changes Noted with Replacement Nexus 5s

The changes were first noticed when people receiving replacement Nexus 5s on Google’s dime receives phones that were slightly different from the phones that they had replaced.

Nexus 4 and nexus 5 grills

Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 Grills by Janitors

While Google issued a software update for Android last week to fix the camera issues users were complaining about, and which we talked about here, Google has added to the changes by fixing some of the hardware issues as well.

Android XDA Forum users first recognized the changes when they noticed the packaging was different.

Specifically, the new packaging containing the replacement phones had a different batch number, with the new batch number being 311K. The previous batch from which all users who reported changes was batch number 310K.

According to these users, the changes they noticed included:

  • The speaker and microphone grill that caused audio problems now has larger speaker and grill holes for better audio
  • The power button problem that caused the rattling was fixed, and the button no longer rattles
  • The display bezel was apparently fixed
  • The SIM card wasn’t seating properly in the tray, but it is now

Could the changes be part of improved quality control, or indeed an upgrade in the nexus 5’s physical design?

While some of the changes may be the result of improved quality control, you can clearly see that the power button and speaker grill are physically different from the previous batch.

New Grill

New Grill on Top vs. Old Grill via XDA Developers

You can also clearly see the changes in the side buttons. They appear to fit into the Nexus body snugger, whcih should mean the power button won’t rattle any more.

New on Top vs. Old Power Button via XDA Developers

New on Top vs. Old Power Button via XDA Developers

While you might be thinking that there could not have been a hardware update already, especially since Google hasn’t announced it, this wouldn’t be the first time Google has issued an update without notice.

Are the Silent Updates to Prevent a Civil Suit?

Google’s silent updates could be the result of not wanting to deal with potential liabilities that could cause the company to have to pay back all the users who paid out of pocket to fix their displays already, as we mentioned in a previous post.

Because one of the changes reported by the forum was the display, we have to wonder how many of the hundreds and possibly thousands of cracked, shattered, or otherwise broken Nexus 5 displays were the result of the display problem that Google fixed ever so quietly.

Nexus 5 Cracked Display demonstration

Nexus 5 Cracked Display Demonstration screenshot via YouTube

That Google happily returned the money paid by any user with the display problem who asked for it, we have to wonder whether Google knew the display was faulty or not, and that the knowledge caused the fix.

Considering the above, we also wonder if Google kept the fix quiet to avoid a potential civil suit from affected users who haven’t gotten their money back. Some posts were bandied around the Product Forums suggesting a civil suit, so we’ll have to wait and see what develops, and whether Google will make other changes, and continue to keep quiet.

Have you received a different Nexus 5 phone design? Let us know in the comments!

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