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Google has quietly begun selling its hot new Nexus 5 smartphone; the first device to feature Android 4.4 KitKat.

The Nexus 5, manufactured by LG but branded as a pure Google handset, went on sale this morning and is set to rival Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Apple's new iPhones for stocking real estate this Christmas.

The launch coincides with the release of much-awaited Android update 4.4 KitKat, which boasts faster multitasking and full voice control, alongside a smarter caller ID system that means if the number dialing in isn't on your contacts list then Android will guess at who it is using businesses listed on Google Maps.

As part of the update Google has also added the ability to jump to Google Now by saying “OK Google", though only for the Nexus 5, which features an advanced Snapdragon 800 processor that other Android handsets lack.

KitKat devices can also now send documents to printers directly using Google Cloud Print or HP's ePrint system, while the Quickoffice software has been redesigned to make finding files easier and editing documents and spreadsheets more simple. The email application has also had a facelift, as has the download function.

Google has said will soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks, and hopefully other smartphones down the track.

As for the Nexus 5, it features a five-inch 1920-by-1080-pixel display (445 pixel per inch) and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor runs at 2.3GHz. with 2GB of RAM.

The phone also features LTE and dual-aerial Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) and the usual two cameras – a 1.3MP front facer for videoconferencing and an 8Mp rear camera. For auteurs, there's also a new HDR+ mode that takes multiple shots quickly and combines them into a single photo that takes the best features from each image.

The new Nexus is the slimmest yet at 69.17 x 137.84 x 8.59mm and weighs in at 130g.

The Nexus 5 costs $349 for the 16GB version and $399 for 32GB of storage. There's no slot to fit any removable media, so choose wisely!

More info can be found at the Nexus 5 page here.


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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun. He also writes for Junkee and Fasterlouder. You can email him at david.swan@itwire.com or follow him at twitter.com/mrdavidswan