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2016 HTC Nexus news and rumors

HTC-built Nexus 'Marlin' specs spotted in AnTuTu log point to flagship quality

Last year, Google chose LG and Huawei to make the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, respectively, 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. We now have leaked specs for both devices, and here’s what we think we know about the 2016 Nexus smartphones.

Rumored specs

When it comes to the first HTC Nexus device, code-named Marlin, the phone’s specs were recently spotted in an AnTuTu log, showing some very flagship-quality specs. According to the log, the phone will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, which powers most flagship phones for this year. The log also shows a 5.5-inch QHD display, and a 13MP rear-facing camera — not a 12MP camera as previously thought. Finally, the leak shows an 8MP front-facing camera, 4GB of RAM, an option for 32GB of storage, and Android 7.0.

Previously, WinFuture.de blogger Roland Quandt spotted some benchmark results that hinted that the Marlin 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.

The M1, or Marlin, is presumed to be the bigger device between the two and a likely successor to the Nexus 6P. It has a higher bar to hit, considering the 6P’s acclaim and success.

Before the AnTuTu leak, Android Police unveiled specifications for the device, but take those with a grain of salt as we are unable to verify the information or source. Interestingly enough, the report suggested that the device would come with a 12MP rear-facing camera instead of a 13MP one. Most recent reports suggest the camera will be 13MP.

Rumor has it the fingerprint sensors are a bit more capable than the run-of-the-mill models found on smartphones like the Galaxy S7 and Nexus 6P. Like some handsets by Chinese company Huawei, they reportedly support gestures — according to Android Police, and one gesture, a downward swipe, expands the notification shade.

Related: The first Google Phone could arrive at the end of 2016

Strangely, the leak suggests that Google will only be offering a 32GB model and a 128GB model, with nothing in between. Let’s hope the prices don’t make a hefty jump for the latter variant.

The S1, also known as Sailfish, looks to be the direct successor to the Nexus 5X.

Android Police writer David Ruddock has tweeted a screenshot that mentions “Qualcomm Technologies, Inc MSM8996pro” with 4 cores. That’s the Snapdragon 821, Qualcomm’s upcoming processor that reportedly offers a 10 percent boost in performance over the Snapdragon 820. In the tweet, Ruddock says Sailfish will use the Snapdragon 821. We cannot verify this, so take it with a grain of salt.

Previously, specs for Sailfish were spotted by a Weibo user on AnTuTu, pretty much confirming already leaked specs. According to the leak, the device will include a display with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution. On top of that, the leak suggests the device will have a 13MP rear-facing camera — not a 12MP camera as previously thought — and an 8MP front-facing camera. In addition, 4GB of RAM will be included. The version in the leak had 32GB of storage, however it’s likely more options will be available.

The leak also mentioned a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, but based on Ruddock’s Snapdragon 821 claim it’s hard to believe what’s accurate. Qualcomm did say we can expect to see 821-powered devices in the fall, so the Nexus lineup could be the first devices to offer them. 

In late July, Evan Blass, a source who’s proven reliable in the past, released a screenshot of a reported system file from the Sailfish S1. It showed evidence in code of a 5.2-inch display with an HD (1,920 × 1,080 pixels) resolution paired with a Snapdragon 820. And it pointed to the presence of onboard biometrics, presumably in the form of a fingerprint sensor.

The new details corroborate an earlier report from Android Police. According to that leak, the Sailfish will pack a 5-inch, 1,920 × 1,080 resolution AMOLED screen with an 8-megapixel selfie shooter above it and a 12MP camera on the back. The Sailfish will reportedly be powered by a quad-core 2GHz 64-bit processor and 4GB RAM, with a 2,770mAh battery keeping the lights on. You’ll get 32GB of native storage, though it is unknown whether there will be multiple models that offer either more or less.

If these reports are true, then it would seem that the only difference between the two devices are the display, resolution, and battery. Last year’s Nexus devices had different processors that easily put the Nexus 6P in the lead. That could mean higher prices for the smaller model, rather than Nexus 5X pricing.

Elsewhere, the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner will reportedly sit below the camera, with a top-mounted headphone jack and a bottom-mounted USB Type-C port. The Sailfish will allegedly feature either a single bottom-firing speaker or speakers, though it is unknown whether the latter would be dual stereo speakers or not. Finally, the Sailfish will reportedly not feature the recently announced Bluetooth 5 standard, and instead go with Bluetooth 4.2.

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