Rumors are gathering that Google is working hard on its 2015 Nexus plans, and the exciting news is, Google may bring two models out this year. Nexus phones by both LG and Huawei may arrive as early as the fall of 2015. Here’s what we know about the next Google Nexus phones.
Updated on 09-29-2015 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Added hands-on video with the new Nexus 6P.
LG Nexus 5X and Huawei Nexus tipped for Sept. 29 launch
In early September, a leak hinted that Google will hold a Nexus launch event on Sept. 29, and now a new report from Android Authority claims that the LG Nexus 5X will arrive on that date for $400. The site’s sources also say that the Huawei Nexus 6P will arrive on the same date. Apparently, the entry-level Nexus 5X from LG will come with 16GB of storage and cost $400. A 32GB version will be available for $450
A South Korean report also claims the LG-made Nexus will launch in October with Android M. This coincides with past practice as Google generally launches Nexus phones in either October or November, along with the official release of a new version of Android.
Contrarily, Korean publication mkPost, citing an anonymous source “who [provided] accurate information” about 2013’s Nexus 5, is reporting Sept. 29 as the release date.
Android M was already announced last month, but it’s only available as a developer preview. Last year, Google announced Android L in June, also as a developer preview, then officially released it as Android Lollipop alongside the Nexus 6 in October. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that LG is making a Nexus phone. A report from March connects LG with Google on the project. An Android Police report also talks about an LG-produced Nexus phone, codenamed Angler, which may be a more reasonably priced follow-up to the brilliant Nexus 5.
The Nexus 6P may be Huawei’s first Nexus phone
Huawei has been linked with Google’s next Nexus phone project, taking over from Motorola. This isn’t the first time Huawei’s name has been attached to producing a Nexus smartphone, and it was connected to the Nexus 6 for a short while prior to its release.
According to a report from Android Authority in June 2015, sources working on the project tell the Information (subscription only) that Huawei will make the next Google Nexus phone. The report neglected to mention any details on the device itself, but did suggest a fall launch date. The name of this device could be the Nexus 6P based on information that Droid-Life obtained in mid-September from a reliable source.
If Google does tap Huawei to build the next Nexus, it’ll reportedly lend a hand in marketing the device stateside, and The Information reports the partnership could mark the beginning of a closer working relationship between the two companies. Google is said to have discussed making Huawei’s upcoming Huawei Watch work on iOS devices, and Huawei’s apparently in talks to help Google bring a mobile app store to China.
What will it look like?
The week before we expect to officially see the new Nexus devices, Android Police published a set of images which may show the Huawei Nexus 6P, along with its packaging. The phone looks very similar to previous leaks, with Nexus and Huawei branding on the rear panel, a large, curved section across the top of the body that contains the camera lens and flash, plus a thin bezel around the screen.
Shortly after, Android Police leaked a press render revealing all four color options. We presume these colors will have fancy names when the phone is released, but for now it looks like the Nexus 6P will be offered in black, white, gold, and silver.
Although the front of the devices aren’t shown in this photo, we presume that all four versions will have a black front, similarly to the white press render image shown above.
Android Police also leaked images of what could be the retail boxes for both the Huawei and LG Nexus phones. They feature unusual designs highlighting the X and P suffixes we’re expecting on the Nexus 5 and 6 names respectively, and show both devices may have 32GB of internal memory.
Back in mid-August, well-known leaker @OnLeaks worked with uSwitchTech to produce a video showing renders of the Huawei Nexus 6 at various angles. These renders were based on leaked factory schematics from “faithful sources.” The overall look of the device resembles the iPhone 6, but with one major exception: the fingerprint scanner appears to be on the back of the device.
Based on the leaked schematics, the dimensions of the Huawei Nexus 6 are expected to be approximately 159.4mm high x 78.3mm wide. It will be 6.6mm thick for the most part, but the bump at the top of the device will bring it to 8.5mm. Lastly, sources say the Huawei Nexus 6 may be made from metal.
Shortly after the video was released, Nowhereelse.fr published an image that appears to show a real Huawei Nexus phone, that very closely resembles the device created from the schematics. Both Huawei and Nexus branding can be seen, and there’s a pronounced camera bump that runs all the way across the top of the phone. It’s filled with plastic, which matches the design on the Huawei P8. A circular fingerprint sensor appears to be placed in a very similar position to the one seen on leaked photos of LG’s Nexus phone.
At the beginning of August, a very short video was published by Nowhereelese.fr, which it claimed showed a phone that could be the Huawei Nexus. However, it does urge caution not to take the leak as actual evidence. In fact, it could be any old smartphone, because there is no branding, and we don’t see the device switched on, so it’s not even clear whether it’s a fully working prototype or not.
However, working on the basis it is a future Nexus phone, the rear panel is where all the action is. A top center camera lens is flanked by a flash unit, and fitted above a square sensor, which could be a fingerprint scanner. Huawei has a history of making its sensors square, as seen on the Mate 7. Interestingly, there are design similarities with the case previously leaked and linked to the rumored LG Nexus phone. Does that make this an LG prototype, or the case a Huawei case? The mystery won’t be solved just yet.
Highly desirable specs leaked
Last minute rumors ahead of the reported September 29 launch suggest the Nexus 6P will use Qualcomm’s version 2.1 Snapdragon 810 processor and have 3GB of RAM inside. Android Police published an image gallery apparently taken from Google HQ, showing over a dozen slides of the Nexus 6P, revealing considerable detail.
The image presentation appears to be intended for reviewers and Google presenters. It details all of the functionality expected on Android Marshmallow, Google’s latest update to its mobile operating system, and also has quotations from customers about what smartphone they want next.
Wireless charging seems unlikely with the all-metal design on the Nexus 6P, but Qualcomm’s fast charging will be available to hopefully keep battery fanatics calm. Gorilla Glass 4 should make the display much more resistant to damage and the dual-stereo speakers promise an upgrade over the audio offerings on previous Nexus phones.
The presentation touts the abilities of the Nexus 6P’s camera as well, claiming it will work well in low-light conditions. Android Police reported the Nexus 6P will have up to 128GB of internal storage. This would mark the first time that a Nexus phone would be offered with so much capacity. Both 32GB and 64GB versions will possibly join the 128GB model.
Tweets from from @evleaks and @OnLeaks in July 2015 stated the Huawei Nexus phone will come with a narrow (78.3mm) metal body, a 5.7-inch screen with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, a fingerprint scanner, a USB type-C port, and Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 820 processor. Both project a release in the final three months of 2015.
The details fit in with many of the previous rumors, although it’s the first time the Snapdragon 820 has been linked with the Huawei phone. Combining a metal body with this very desirable spec list, including the latest (and hopefully cooler) chip from Qualcomm, would make the Huawei phone one of the most powerful on sale.
Before sources on Twitter chimed in, there were other reports regarding the Huawei Nexus phone’s possible specification. According to a post made on the Weibo social network by an apparently noted Chinese mobile industry analyst, it may feature the aforementioned 5.7-inch touchscreen with s resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 pixels, but could be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. The analyst noted Huawei would be the first Chinese smartphone manufacturer tasked with creating one of Google’s flagship smartphones, with previous models built by HTC, Samsung, LG, and Motorola.
Huawei’s name also came up in a post on Weibo by the director of research at iSuppli, a mobile market research firm. He said Google had chosen Huawei to build the new Nexus phone. Before this in late May, Android Police published a post revealing the handset’s codename — Bullhead — and reiterated rumors of a 5.7-inch display and Snapdragon 810 processor. A 3,500mAh battery may end up powering the phone.
If Huawei is to make a Nexus for Google in 2015, the above specs are likely to be Google’s preference rather than its own. Huawei doesn’t care much for high-res 2,560 × 1,440 pixel screens, and has gone on record saying people can’t tell the difference between them and a high quality 1080p display. The Snapdragon 810 chip hasn’t been its choice recently either, and for the new P8 or P8 Max, the company went with its own Kirin chips.