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No Nexus 5 yet, but new rumors continue to fly

Tuesday was one of the rumored reveal dates for a new Google Nexus phone, but the Google Play store remains unchanged and a fresh batch of rumors is circulating.

Was the Nexus 5 launch shut down by the shutdown?

We don't yet have an official Nexus 5 smartphone, but there's all kinds of new gossip about the next pure Android phone from Google to speculate about.

Tuesday had been one of the most widely circulated potential reveal dates for the Nexus 5, but as I write this it's past noon on the West Coast and Google is still mum about any new hardware (in truth, if we were going to see something Tuesday, invites or some other event details would have gone out days ago).

Instead, a whole new crop of rumors have sprung forth in the absence of any hard news, as if compelled to fill the vacuum that apparently both nature and technology abhor.

Most interesting, but least believable in my mind, is the suggestion that Google plans to introduce not only a Nexus 5 in the coming weeks, but also a new LTE-enabled Nexus 4. According to a Romanian Android blog that I'd never heard of before, the Nexus 5 will launch at $399 for 16GB and $449 for 32GB, and an LTE Nexus 4 will start at $299 for 16GB or $349 for 32GB.

Previously, the price of the Nexus 5 was rumored to be $299. $399 might be a more likely price point, but I do have one question about releasing a Nexus 5 at the same time as a new Nexus 4: why?

Why would Google do that? The very idea seems completely counter-intuitive to the point of the whole Nexus program, which is to offer leading-edge Android reference designs that showcase Google's vision for the direction of the mobile OS. Google slashed the price of the Nexus 4 to clear out its stock and focus on the next generation of Android. Why would it bring the phone back just to fragment things and distract from that goal?

Nexus 5 shut down by the shutdown?
What fascinates me more than rumors of a Nexus 4 encore is some of the speculation over why the Nexus 5 hasn't emerged from the shadows yet. It could be that a launch closer to Halloween was always the plan -- I still think that could tie in nicely with the Android 4.4 KitKatlaunch -- or it could be that massive furloughs at the FCC and numerous other federal agencies could be to blame.

You might remember that we saw some FCC certification docs for what appear to be the Nexus 5 last month, but what if Google wasn't able to get everything it needed to get past the federal bureaucracy before it shut down two weeks ago?

That leads us to another rumor that's been getting fresh attention this week -- the notion that Google could launch the "Nexus Gem" smartwatch alongside the Nexus 5 and Android KitKat. Could it be that such a device is currently stuck in the same bureaucratic limbo as countless passport renewals and well... almost all of NASA?

Presumably Google wants to release the Nexus 5 within the next four weeks at the latest to make sure it's available before Black Friday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. If there have been delays tied to the shutdown, the company is going to need to figure out some kind of workaround, if possible. If Google and the U.S. Congress cant sort themselves out in time, I'll plan a massive Crave road trip to Tim Hornyak's house in Canada to check out the new Nexus gear.

Meanwhile, we can just continue to hope that Google has been planning to release its new schwag at the end of this month all along.