Google Nexus 2016

Marie Brewis rounds up the lat­est Nexus ru­mours

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Google un­veils a new Nexus smart­phone ev­ery year (in 2015 it an­nounced two), which it uses as the launch ve­hi­cle for its an­nual An­droid up­date. In 2016 we will see An­droid Nougat. Tra­di­tion sees the new op­er­at­ing sys­tem De­vel­oper Pre­view an­nounced at Google I/O in early sum­mer, and then re­leased on the new Nexus

5 and/or new Nexus 6 phone around Oc­to­ber time. (The Nexus 5X, pic­tured op­po­site, and 6P were an­nounced at the end of Septem­ber 2015, and the Nexus 6 be­fore it in Oc­to­ber 2014.)

How­ever, the An­droid Nougat De­vel­oper Pre­view was re­leased a cou­ple of months early this year, ahead of Google I/O. In July we saw the re­lease of the fi­nal De­vel­oper Pre­view, which means it is pos­si­ble that we’ll see an ear­lier re­lease for the new An­droid OS than in pre­vi­ous years – most likely Septem­ber.

There have been plenty of ru­mours sug­gest­ing an Au­gust re­lease date for the new Nexus phones, but with lit­tle logic be­hind them. For in­stance, we’ve seen many sites re­port­ing that the new Nexus 6 will be re­leased in Au­gust be­cause in mid-June the price of the two-year-old (re­fur­bished) Nexus 6 dropped to $180. It is not un­com­mon for man­u­fac­tur­ers to drop the price of or dis­con­tinue an older-gen­er­a­tion smart­phone as they ap­proach the re­lease date of a newer model. But (a very big but), eBay is an on­line auc­tion site and not Google, and the phone had al­ready been re­moved from the Google Play Store. And the jump from a price drop in June to a re­lease date in Au­gust is noth­ing more than spec­u­la­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to re­spected tipster Evan Blass the fi­nal ver­sion of An­droid Nougat will be rolled out in Au­gust and will in­clude the Au­gust se­cu­rity up­date. His tweet caused spec­u­la­tion that the phones could launch with the up­date, but he meant only that the se­cu­rity up­date will be in­cluded in Nougat and not that the new op­er­at­ing sys­tem would be rolled out with the patch on 5 Au­gust.

Price

Noth­ing has been con­firmed about the price, but given that the Nexus 5X now costs from at £299 and the Nexus 6P from £449, we’d be very sur­prised if they were any more ex­pen­sive.

Who will make the new Nexus phones?

Ru­mours that HTC is work­ing on two new Nexus phones for 2016 went into over­drive at the end of April 2016 fol­low­ing a tip from se­rial leaker @evleaks on Twitter.

How­ever, Huawei’s PR told us that: “We don’t com­ment on fu­ture prod­ucts, as a mat­ter of pol­icy. Huawei is com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing the world’s most com­pelling and in­no­va­tive de­vices, of­fer­ing an ex­cep­tional per­for­mance and out­stand­ing user ex­pe­ri­ence. We are proud to have worked with Google, which is strong in in­no­va­tion, on the Nexus 6P and will con­tinue to col­lab­o­rate in the fu­ture, such as our sup­port for Day­dream, the re­cently-an­nounced plat­form for high per­for­mance mo­bile VR.”

New fea­tures

Again, we have to make it clear that every­thing you read here is merely ru­mours and spec­u­la­tion. As we’ve learned in the past, how­ever, there is usu­ally some truth be­hind the leaks. Here’s what we’ve heard on the ru­mour mill so far:

Google has con­firmed that it will not be build­ing the new Nexus phones it­self, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai says it will be more opin­ion­ated in the de­sign. That’s not as ex­treme as the ru­mour

ear­lier re­ported by Droid Life, which sug­gested that Google in­tended to ap­ply “Ap­ple-like con­trol” over its new Nexus de­vices for 2016, and would be in­volved at ev­ery step of the de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing process, no longer re­quir­ing a sec­ond man­u­fac­turer such as LG, Huawei or HTC to build the de­vice for it, nor add its name to it.

Pan Ji­u­tang has sug­gested that the new Nexus 6 2016 will be a high-per­for­mance hand­set run­ning the Qual­comm Snap­dragon 820 pro­ces­sor. This seems like a log­i­cal move, given that the Nexus 6P runs 2015’s top Snap­dragon chip, the 810. The Snap­dragon 820 has an Adreno 530 GPU (with 40 per­cent bet­ter per­for­mance and

ef­fi­ciency than pre­vi­ous chips), the X12 LTE mo­dem (which pro­vides 33 per­cent bet­ter per­for­mance and 15 per­cent bet­ter power ef­fi­ciency), the Hexagon 680 DPS (dig­i­tal sig­nal pro­ces­sor) and a quad-core Kryo CPU that will bring up to dou­ble the per­for­mance and power ef­fi­ciency when com­pared to pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions.

The specs of the Sail­fish Nexus phone have leaked via the GFXBench graph­ics test­ing bench­mark database. It’s ex­pected to fea­ture a 5in Full-HD screen, a 2.1GHz Qual­comm Snap­dragon 820 quad-core pro­ces­sor, Adreno 530 graph­ics, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of stor­age, and 12- rear and 8Mp front cam­eras with sup­port for 4K video. An AnTuTu list­ing also re­port­edly show­ing the Nexus Sail­fish con­firms the Snap­dragon 820 pro­ces­sor, Adreno 530 graph­ics and Full-HD screen, but sug­gests it will have 13- and 8Mp cam­eras.

The HTC-made Nexus 2016 phone co­de­named Mar­lin has been spot­ted in the Geek­bench database. It is shown to be run­ning An­droid 7.0, with a quad-core pro­ces­sor (which could be the new Qual­comm Snap­dragon 821) and 4GB of RAM. It scored 4969 points multi-core, mak­ing it faster that the iPhone 6s Plus but a lit­tle be­hind the Sam­sung Galaxy S7 and OnePlus 3.

Pre­vi­ously, the num­ber in each phone’s name has been re­lated to its screen size, with the Nexus 5 a stan­dard smart­phone and the Nexus 6 a ph­ablet. Ac­cord­ing to Mocha RQ, HTC will build smaller Nexus phones, with 5- and 5.5in screens

rather than the 5.2- and 5.7in dis­plays we saw in 2015. The cur­rent 6P has a 5.7in Quad-HD dis­play, and it’s likely we’ll see this again given that Sony has failed to wow crit­ics with its first 4K smart­phone screen. The new Nexus 5 may stick with a Full-HD dis­play.

Twitter tipster LlabTooFeR claims the co­de­names for the new Nexus 5 2016 and new Nexus 6 2016 are T50 and T55 – both of which hint to­wards the ru­moured 5- and 5.5in screen sizes. They’ve also be­come known via co­de­names Sail­fish (de­spite the ex­ist­ing mo­bile OS of the same name) and Mar­lin, with the lat­ter re­cently been spot­ted on Google’s Source site in a list that men­tions three ma­jor de­vices. The other two are An­gler and Bull­head.

Re­gard­less of the in­ter­nal stor­age ca­pac­i­ties, the new Nexus phones are ex­pected to re­ceive un­lim­ited on­line photo- and video stor­age via Google Pho­tos without hav­ing to re­duce their file sizes. Ac­cord­ing to An­droid Po­lice the lat­est Pho­tos up­date in­cludes text that de­scribes a spe­cific ben­e­fit for Nexus cus­tomers: “free un­lim­ited stor­age for orig­i­nal qual­ity pho­tos and videos up­loaded from their Nexus de­vices”.

Mar­lin is ex­pected to be a metal de­vice, while Sail­fish will be built from plas­tic.

We also know the new Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 2016 will be run­ning a brand-new op­er­at­ing sys­tem, An­droid 7.0 Nougat. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to An­droid Po­lice, the Home screens will be up­dated to fea­ture a new app drawer, Now pane and Search wid­get.

With An­droid Marsh­mal­low build­ing in sup­port for USB-C, it’s a given that the new Nexus 2016 phones will fea­ture USB-C for data trans­fer and charg­ing. The Snap­dragon 820 also sup­ports Qual­comm Quick Charge 3.0, for su­per-fast charg­ing with a com­pat­i­ble mains adap­tor.

An­droid Po­lice has pub­lished ren­ders of the new Nexus 2016, although it ac­knowl­edges they are not fi­nal and the of­fi­cial press ren­ders may dif­fer.

A sup­posed pic­ture has emerged (right), via Tech Droi­der, of the screen of the so called HTC-made Mar­lin Nexus phone. Here’s the screen­shot, cov­ered by a case, pre­sum­ably to avoid any fur­ther de­sign leaks. You can clearly see the ‘Model num­ber’ listed as ‘mar­lin’, though as with ev­ery leak we aren’t sure if this is to­tally gen­uine. How­ever, the de­vice seems to be run­ning An­droid Nougat, hint­ing at an up­com­ing model.

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