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2016 HTC Nexus news and rumors

HTC's 2016 Nexus phones may be code-named Marlin and Sailfish

Last year, Google chose LG and Huawei to make the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, moving away from only having one new Nexus phone in the range. This year, it may repeat the same strategy, but HTC might be in charge of the entire production. Here’s what we think we know about the 2016 Nexus smartphones.

Nexus code names

New code names have been leaked for the two alleged Nexus devices HTC is rumored to build — the M1 and the S1. The names, leaked by Evan Blass, better known as @evleaks, seem to match with HTC’s typical naming strategy. We can’t confirm this information, and it’s still just a leak, so we advise you to take it with a grain of salt.

Android Police followed up with more information saying that according to their source, M1 and S1 accurately match the code names they received — Marlin and Sailfish.  Google typically uses code names for its Nexus devices based on aquatic life — the 5X was Bullhead, and the 6P was Angler. The use of Marlin and Sailfish gives more credence to reports that HTC is indeed the company behind both of these Nexus devices.

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Android Police also pointed to the Android Open Source Project’s Gerrit,  a code review tool, which shows a Qualcomm engineer directly mentioning Marlin.

Previously, reliable HTC leaker @LlabTooFeR said the internal code names for the two devices are T50 and T55, which may refer to the rumored 5-inch and 5.5-inch display sizes for the two Nexus devices. HTC has used similar names before. The 5.9-inch HTC One Max was code-named T6, for example.

Sadly, that leak doesn’t provide any further information on the two devices. It’s also unknown whether these phones are destined for production, or are simply test devices.


There isn’t much known about the two devices’ specifications, but Roland Quandt, WinFuture.de blogger, spotted some benchmark results, which also hinted that one of the devices is a Nexus 6P refresh with 4GB of RAM. You can check out the benchmark results here. We can’t verify if this information is accurate, so be wary.

Pressure-sensitive display

Apple may have been first to make a big deal over a pressure-sensitive touchscreen, but the tech had already been — and continues to be  — demonstrated on Android devices, though its usefulness has yet to be realized. A rumor found on the Weibo social network says HTC is working with Google to add a pressure-sensitive screen to the next Nexus phones, and that the feature may become standard in Android. Nexus phones herald the arrival of new Android software, so pressure sensitivity may be part of Android N. This would help developers adopt and build apps that utilize the feature.

Related: Set the date! Google I/O runs from May 18-20 in Mountain View, California

Is Google definitely going with HTC for its Nexus contract?

News that HTC had won the contract to manufacture two Nexus devices for Google came from a 2015 rumor. If it’s correct, it wouldn’t be HTC’s first time in the Nexus program. The company last worked with Google on the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and even though it was well-received by reviewers, it failed to reach the same sales figures as previous Nexus tablets.

HTC earlier worked on the original Google Nexus One, the first mobile in the Nexus program, launched six years ago. It’s been claimed that Huawei was also in the running for the 2016 Nexus contract, but Google decided to work with HTC instead. This is surprising, considering Huawei’s meteoric rise in the sales charts over the past 12 months, compared to HTC’s downfall over the same time period.

The Weibo poster who made these claims is @Mocha RQ, an avid commenter on all mobile rumors in China. This is one of the few times he has posted a rumor on a company outside of China, after apparently receiving the information from contacts in Hong Kong. The post said there could be two devices coming, with smaller 5-inch and 5.5-inch displays, compared to the 5.2-inch and 5.7-inch displays on the Nexus 5X and 6P.

Again, like all rumors, we should take this news with a large pinch of salt. There’s a long time before the new Nexus phones will be officially revealed, and we could see drastic alterations to HTC over the coming months, so plenty could change. However, we’ll keep you up to date with any more on HTC’s possible Nexus device plans right here.

Updated on 04-27-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added in new codenames for the Nexus devices.

Previous updates:

Updated on 03-04-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in rumors the HTC Nexus phone will have a pressure sensitive display

Updated on 01-20-2016 by David Curry: Added in news of the alleged HTC Nexus codenames.