It has been a while since Google came out with new Nexus-branded smartphones so naturally the world is looking forward to the new handsets. There have already been all sorts of rumors and leaks concerning the new devices even though nothing has been officially confirmed as yet. Google hasn’t even confirmed which manufacturer it’s going to select to build the new Nexus smartphones, it has worked with the likes of LG, Samsung, and even Huawei in the past, so it will be interesting to see who the company selects for the 2016 Nexus lineup. In this post, we look at all of the information that’s available for the 2016 Nexus smartphones so far to determine what the release date, specs and features the new handsets will tout.
Google came out with the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P in October last year, with the latter being the flagship device. It collaborated with LG on the 5X and Huawei got the honor of making its first Nexus device with the 6P. One would assume that Google is going to work with at least one of those manufacturers again, but the rumor mill believes that this time around both new Nexus smartphones will be made by HTC. This possibility was first rumored back in January this year.
There’s not a lot of confirmed information available as yet about these two new Nexus smartphones, but a well known HTC insider leaked alleged codenames of the two new HTC Nexus devices earlier this year, hinting that the Taiwanese company just might have been tapped by Google to make the 2016 Nexus smartphones.
The display is one of the first things that potential customers look at when they’re in the market for a new phone, the size of the display matters as much as the quality to many customers, and it appears that the company will stick to the current trend of larger displays by offering 5 inch and 5.5 inch displays in the two new Nexus smartphones slated to arrive at some point later this year. The resolution of these displays is not known for sure but considering that the Nexus 5X had a Full HD display and the Nexus 6P had a Quad HD display, it’s likely that these resolutions will be retained.
Native Pressure Sensing Technology
It was revealed last month that Google is working on native pressure sensing technology for Android, enabling Android-powered devices to effectively incorporate pressure-sensitive displays. Google is expected to introduce this feature with Android N, the next major Android update that’s due to be unveiled later this month at the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California. At least one of the 2016 Nexus models is expected to have full support for this technology.
The existing Nexus handsets feature a Snapdragon 810 processor on the flagship model and a Snapdragon 808 on the LG-made Nexus so we can expect a similar setup for the upcoming handsets. The flagship Nexus may very well have the Snapdragon 820 processor by Qualcomm with 4GB RAM while the other one might have a slightly less powerful chip with 3GB RAM running the show.
Google has always strived to offer a good camera experience with Nexus smartphones and the new devices will not be any different. Even though there aren’t many rumors about the cameras as yet, it’s likely that we might see the same 12-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front camera combination that we saw on HTC’s current flagship smartphone, the HTC 10. It’s interesting to note here that both the cameras on the HTC 10 feature Optical Image Stabilization, something that sets the handset apart from the competition. It stands to reason that Google will work with HTC to ensure that it brings the best in camera technology to the 2016 Nexus smartphones.
For the past few years, HTC has exclusively been fashioning its flagship handsets out of metal, so we can expect that at least the new flagship Nexus smartphone is going to have a full metal body, not unlike that of the HTC 10. It will no doubt add an overall premium look and feel to the device, notwithstanding the fact that most flagships available in the market today offer a metal body, so it’s also essential for the device if it wants to hold its own against the competition.
We can expect the 2016 Nexus smartphones to come with additional features that make them a compelling choice for potential customers, features including but not limited to fingerprint sensors for access control to the device, as well as an enhanced audio experience to boost the handsets’ multimedia credentials. We may also find several device-specific software features that HTC and Google bake into the new Nexus smartphones, though unless new information emerges, we’ll have to wait to find out precisely what the companies are cooking up for us.
Since Nexus smartphones have a history of coming with the latest version of Android, it’s quite likely that these might be the first handsets to come with the next major update of Android straight out of the box. Google is still calling it Android N but it will confirm its dessert moniker at the I/O 2016 developers conference later this month, aside from confirming when the update will be released.
Nexus smartphones tend to be competitively priced when compared to their rivals and we can expect that the tradition will continue with the upcoming Nexus handsets. The Nexus 5X and 6P were priced at $379 and $499 for the base models and it’s likely that the 2016 Nexus smartphones will be priced in the same range as these handsets. These prices are for unlocked and off-contract units which can be purchased directly from Google.
The Google-HTC Love Affair
Google has never really stuck to just one manufacturing partner for its Nexus devices which is why it’s not surprising to see the manufacturing partners change every year. If recent rumors are to be believed, Google and HTC appear to be involved in a love affair because it’s said that they’ve inked a deal which lets HTC make Nexus smartphones for the next three years. Google hasn’t really signed such long-term deals with Nexus manufacturers in the past so it’s a bit hard to believe that it has decided to opt for HTC for the next three Nexus cycles, regardless of the fact that the Taiwanese manufacturer isn’t really having the best of times in the mobile market.
Will Google Pull An Apple On The Nexus Lineup?
Despite its history of collaborating with companies like LG, HTC, Samsung and Huawei on Nexus devices, recent rumors suggest that Google is interested in pulling an Apple on its Nexus lineup, which means that it wants to make both the hardware and the software. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is believed to have taken up this matter with colleagues, hinting that the tech giant might be looking to ease off of third-party manufacturers and start making its own Nexus devices. There has obviously been no confirmation of any of this from Google.
There’s no precise information available as yet but it’s likely that the new Nexus smartphones will arrive at some point in the fall this year, sticking to the previous tradition of releasing Nexus handsets late in the year. Existing Nexus handsets were released in October last year and it wouldn’t be surprising if the same timeline is followed this year as well.