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What we'd like from the Google Nexus 4G

Rumors suggest that a new member of the Google Nexus family will arrive later this year. Here are the features that we'd like to see.

One of Android's most notable franchises got new life last week after rumors predicted the launch of a new Nexus smartphone. Pegged (for now) as the Google Nexus 4G, the "absolute beast" device would continue the stock Android tradition of the original HTC Nexus One and the more recent Samsung Nexus S. Carrier and manufacturer details are still a mystery (though AT&T is a likely contender), but Thanksgiving has surfaced as a likely release date.

Rumored features on the Google Nexus 4G include a dual-core 1.2GHz or 1.5GHz CPU, a 720-pixel high-definition screen, 1GB of RAM, 1080p video capture and playback, 4G support (of course), a 1-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 5-megapixel shooter around back. Those are welcome specs, to be sure, but we have a wish list of our own. And if we're lucky we'll get all these features when the handset hits stores.

Ice Cream Sandwich
Support for the next version of the Android OS is a strong possibility, but we'll press the case and say it's absolutely necessary. Gingerbread is now getting up in age, so we're due for a change soon. And, more importantly, the previous Nexus phones each served as the debut device for an Android OS version (2.1 on the Nexus One and 2.3 on the Nexus S). This handset needs to do the same.

HTC Nexus One James Martin/CNET

4G connectivity
Support for a 4G network is great, but that's only part of it. The 4G also needs to be fast, strong, and reliable.

External memory slot
Please bring back the microSD card, a feature that was sorely missed on the Nexus S. Just because we can live in the cloud doesn't mean we have to!

More internal memory
We don't mean to sound greedy, but while we're talking memory, why not throw in more than 16GB of internal storage as well?

Fast performance
The promise of a dual-core processor is good news. Early reports indicated an Nvidia Kal-El processor, but now it may be a Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 or a low-power 28nm Krait-based Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. In any case, we'll need a zippy device that can handle multiple tasks efficiently and quickly.

Stellar battery life
Equally important is battery life. Indeed, powerful smartphones with brilliant displays haven't always meant great things for battery life. Yet, the HTC made great strides with its recent Sensation 4G for T-Mobile. That handset has a 1,520mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 8.3 hours and up to 12 days of standby time. We'd need the same or better with the Nexus 4G.

The Samsung Nexus S 4G was the last Nexus offering. Josh Miller/CNET

LED notifications
Yes, you can just look at the display to see if you have a new message or a missed call, but if the backlighting is off you have to wake up the phone and enter your unlock code to see it. An LED notification would save you that trouble.

Better camera
The rumored 5-megapixel camera would be nice, but we'd like to see an 8-megapixel model at least. What's more, we'd also appreciate sharper photo quality, better low-light performance, and a decent image editor. And for the front camera, we're asking for a resolution of 3 megapixels for higher-quality self-portraits and video chat.

The Super AMOLED display on the Nexus S 4G was stunning, so we'd enjoy a screen just as good or better. Specifically, it should stand up well in bright sunlight and show colors that really pop.

Though the first Nexus One had a premium feel, the Nexus S was fragile and too slick. So for the family's third iteration we'd suggest either a soft-touch finish on the back cover or brushed metal accents.

What else would you like to see on the Google Nexus 4G? Let use know in the comments.

CNET Reviews editors Jessica Dolcourt, Bonnie Cha, and Nicole Lee contributed to this report.