Google has big doin’s a-transpirin’ on Tuesday – it’s planning to launch its first new Nexus phones in almost a year at an event in San Francisco, along with a new version of the Android operating system.
The last Nexus was the Motorola Nexus 6, launched in October 2014, which was a powerful device that also managed the rare feat of making even the gadget press take a step back and say “OK, this might actually be too big.”
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This year, however, the manufacturers are Huawei, a first-time Nexus partner, and LG, who’s been here before. There are a lot of details about what Google’s going to do floating around on the Internet, and the general consensus is that there will be three main highlights of the event:
- The LG Nexus 5X, a fairly standard high-end Android phone.
- The Huawei Nexus 6P, a big whopper of a device more along the lines of the Nexus 6.
- Android 6.0, named Marshmallow.
LG’s playing its cards a bit closer to its chest than Huawei, but some of the smarter money is on the 5X having a Snapdragon 808 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 5.2-inch screen, two-tone build materials and svelte construction, marred only slightly by a camera bump. The core hardware is something of a surprise – PhoneArena wrote that the benchmark results that gave the 5X (apparently codenamed “Bullhead”) away were relatively anemic. But the publication also noted that the 5X might have been hamstrung slightly by its work-in-progress Android 6.0 build, and that optimizations are possible.
Further rumors have suggested a USB type C connector – finally, the frustration of the upside-down charger cable will be a thing of the past – and 1080p screen resolution. The price will be relatively reasonable – Android Pit, the source of the above picture, estimates that it’ll go for less than $400 – which makes sense, given that people will be buying the 5X off-contract.
Oh, and even more rumors say that it’ll have a fingerprint sensor, a feature that’s rapidly becoming standard. The 5X is the Nexus line’s return to the realm of comparatively normal-sized phones, though what it’ll bring to the table besides the pure Android 6.0 experience isn’t totally clear.
For those who want a big phone, Huawei’s Nexus 6P is going to the best choice. The China-based company has been kind enough to leak oodles of info about its first Nexus device, along with plentiful images, like these press renders that were obtained by Android Police.
In brief, it’ll be bigger and more powerful than the Nexus 5X: Screen size is said to be 5.7 inches, with 1440p resolution. It’ll be powered by either a Snapdragon 810 or 820, pack a fingerprint scanner, and have 32GB, 64GB or even, possibly, 128GB of onboard storage.
There are a couple interesting points here - the function of the back bar across the top of the back of the device, visible in the above render, isn’t known. It may not even have a function, for that matter, and instead be simply a flourish of industrial design, but it’s got the gadget blogs curious. The second point is that the price is likely to be a bit higher than that of the 5X – the one area in which Huawei’s device is under tighter wraps is the price tag, and that’s not yet known either, but speculation is that the price will be up there.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Google teased the press in the launch event invitation – “Join us for some tasty new treats and much s’more,” which seems like a not-particularly-subtle hint that it will also feature the official launch of Android 6.0, or Android M, or Marshmallow, or whatever else you want to call it.
Marshmallow was confirmed in August. It’s a less splashy release than Android 5.0 Lollipop, with fewer visible changes in the end-user experience, but there’s different stuff going on under the hood. It’ll still feature several noticeable updates – including an expanded Google Now and voice assistant feature and Android Pay, the company’s next attempt at an NFC mobile payment system after Google Wallet.
Coincidentally, Android 6.0 will also have native support for two features rumored to be present in both new Nexus phones – fingerprint readers and USB type C.