The Nexus 5 arrived in the second half of 2013, continuing the brand’s mantra of high specs, low cost and a pure version of Android. We’re now well into 2014, so our thoughts are turning towards Google’s next iteration of Nexus device, although the chance of the Nexus 6 actually appearing isn’t guaranteed.
There has been talk about Google’s new Android Silver program, where the search engine is apparently turning to key smartphone manufacturers and offering resources to make high-end devices in collaboration with Google. Some are suggesting that this could be the death of the Nexus line, with @evleaks claiming: “There is no Nexus 6. Farewell, Nexus. Don’t worry, there’s a silver lining to this cloud… Android Silver, circa February 2015.” But don’t worry Nexus fans, as Android’s head of engineering Dave Burke has confirmed the brand is still ‘invested in Nexus’.
Mentions of the Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 8 tablet have also been spied by eagle eyed devs who have been sifting through code for Google’s Chromium browser – giving us hope the Nexus 6 is still on the cards. More recently, mobile carrier T-Mobile dropped a hint that it was working on bringing Wi-Fi calling, a feature available in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the Nexus 6. For now though nothing is confirmed and the Nexus 6 could still arrive this year.
What is it? Google’s sixth iteration of its affordable Nexus line
When is it out? Going on the Nexus 5, probably October or November
What will it cost? It’s likely to start around $349, £300
The Nexus 5 was announced on October 31 2013, hitting stores in November of the same year. In terms of the Nexus 6 release date we’re expecting the handset to arrive around the same time in 2014. Considering the Nexus 5 launched at $349, £299 for the 16GB model we’d expect the Nexus 6 to inherit a similar pricing structure, although if it’s rocking some serious tech it may come in slightly more expensive.
The Nexus 6 could be the first device to run the next version of Google’s operating system, which we now know to be Android L, after it was announced at Google I/O earlier this year. When Google launches a new major version of its software it usually offers up some hardware too. The Nexus 5 ushered in the arrival of Android KitKat and the Nexus 6 seems the sensible option for the next installment, although there’s always a chance that’ll we’ll see the Google Nexus 10 (2014) or an updated Nexus 7 slate instead.
Korean manufacturer LG was being hotly tipped for a third term as Google’s Nexus smartphone producer, and while the Nexus 5 bore resemblances to last year’s LG G2, some sources reckon the Nexus 6 will apparently be based on the LG G3. That’s all been called into question though as LG has now denied any involvement in the Nexus 6. That begs the question of who then will be making it in LG’s place, but it also kills most of the theories that had been circulating.
They may have a point though, as Motorola is another manufacturer being linked to the Nexus 6, with reports of a handset codenamed “Shamu” doing the rounds. We may have now caught our first glimpse of the Nexus 6, as the Android Twitter account tweeted a photo featuring an unidentified Nexus handset. The phone wasn’t the focus of the photo, so it’s possible that it’s just a generic mock-up, but that then begs the question of why they wouldn’t just use a Nexus 5 for it.
Either way there’s not much to take away from it, all we can tell is that it’s a black rectangle with curved corners, large bezels above and below the screen and small ones at the side. There’s no sign of any buttons on it, which could mean they’ve been moved to the back, on the other hand they could just be flush with the edges or hidden by the fingers.
The thin side bezels could mean that it’s taking a similar approach to the LG G3, by packing a larger screen into a similar sized chassis, though again it doesn’t look like LG itself has anything to do with the phone. Beating the LG drum again, and one rumour pegs the Nexus 6’s screen size at 5.5 inches, which is the same as the LG G3, but with LG seemingly not involved that’s presumably just a coincidence if it’s even true.
Going back to the Motorola leak, and the “Shamu” handset apparently sports a sizeable 5.9-inch display which would push the device firmly into phablet territory. We reckon it’s highly unlikely that the Nexus 6 will be a phablet offering, so unless Shamu arrives alongside a more conventional handset (around 5-inches in size), it probably won’t see the light of day.
We’ve also now seen another leak, this time on GFXBench, which lists a 5.2-inch 2560 x 1440 QHD display. That’s big and high resolution but seems more likely than 5.9 inches.
It looks like the Nexus 6 might be a real beast. The Motorola Shamu, which is believed to be the Nexus 6, appeared on GFXBench. It has so far only completed a single test but alongside the results you can see that it has a 2.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM, which would make it a match for any other smartphone out there. A similar listing has also popped up on AnTuTu, revealing an Adreno 420 GPU.
Not much is known about the camera yet, but a leak on GFXBench for the Shamu lists a 12MP snapper with UHD video recording, which would be a step up from the lacklustre 8MP camera on the Nexus 5. It may even be slightly better still, as according to a similar listing on AnTuTu it will actually have a 13MP main camera, plus a 2.1MP front-facing one.
With the iPhone 5S, HTC One Max and Samsung Galaxy S5 all sporting fingerprint scanners it’s no surprise that other top-end handsets are being linked to the biometric tech. The Nexus 6 is no exception, with Android Geeks citing a “trusted source” who claims the handset will indeed come with a fingerprint scanner.