The Nexus 6, aka Nexus X, is a slippery little beastie. Long rumored, Google's refresh of the Nexus 5 was supposedly ditched along with the updated Nexus 10 but then Google confirmed that the Nexus line would indeed continue. This article will be updated as new information comes to light, but here's what we know right now. Update: We've added some more details on what to expect from the Nexus 6/Nexus X as well as some good news for fans of the Nexus 5.
Nexus 6 / Nexus X release date and price
The Nexus 5 was unveiled on October 31st last year and we know that the next iteration of Android, quite likely Android 5.0 Lollipop, is only a few months away. So it stands to reason that the Nexus 6, if and when we see it made official, will appear around the same time of year along with a new Android version to show off on it.
Last year's Nexus 5 saw a minor increase in price because the two models offered had higher internal memory than the Nexus 4. If the Nexus 6 arrives with 16 GB and 32 GB of storage then we may see the 349/399 USD price point of the Nexus 5, or if the Nexus 6 is offered in 32 GB/64 GB versions, then we can probably expect a 399/449 USD price tag. See below for more leaked details on pricing.
Update: Fans of the Nexus 5 should keep an eye on the Google Play Store because we're predicting in the weeks to come that the existing Nexus 5, which is apparently no longer being produced for Google, will go on sale to clear up some space over at the Play Store for all the new Nexus 6 boxes that can't be far away.
Nexus 6: rumors evaluated [video]
Nexus 6 / Nexus X specs
The Nexus 6 will, of course, run Android 5.0, and be the first device to receive Android updates for the next 18 months. Considering Google's recipe of cramming the best possible specs into their reference device, the Nexus 6 will most likely ship with a quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC clocked at 2.7 GHz, like the recently announced LG G3 Cat.6. The Nexus 6 will also likely ship with 3 GB of RAM and Adreno 420 GPU.
Considering Android L is the showcase for Android 64-bit chips and the Snapdragon 805 is not a 64-bit chip, we're interested to see how Google handles having a reference device that can't act like a reference device for the platform. No matter what else happens, we know the Nexus 6 will be running on the Android Runtime (ART), which pre-compiles apps for faster launches and better responsiveness and will make full use of Project Volta's battery enhancements to hopefully make up for the always unimpressive Nexus batery.
Update: After seeing the new Moto X and getting some weird answers from Motorola at IFA 2014, we're increasingly thinking the Nexus 6 will be based on the 2014 Moto X with a 2K display and much better specs sheet than that of the Moto X. Again though, the lack of a 64-bit chip has us thinking: has Google magically got its hands on enough Snapdragon 808's to supply its Nexus 6 stocks with? We'll just have to wait and see, but our fingers are crossed.
- Check out more details of what to expect in Android 5.0 Lollipop and Material Design.
Benchmarks on both AnTuTu and GFXBench are both showing Nexus 6 specs that seem to confirm what we've been predicting for a while: a quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC clocked at 2.65 GHz with 3 GB of RAM, Adreno 420 GPU and Android L (until Android 5.0 appears). The interesting part of the benchmarks are that they show a 5.2-inch QHD screen: a display diagonal and definition we had been hoping for the whole time the 5.9-inch rumors were circulating.
A 2K display with Adreno 420 GPU is good news for the animations in Android 5.0, but the Snapdragon 805 is not 64-bit capable, which is one of the key features of Android 5.0. Other details in the benchmarks show a minor discrepancy in camera resolution: AnTuTu shows a 13 MP main camera with 2.1 MP front camera, and GFXBench shows a 12 MP main cam with 2 MP front-facing shooter. We'll have to wait and see which one proves to be true.
Nexus 6 rumors: Android Silver
Where do we start? First the Nexus 6 was meant to be based on the HTC One (M8), then @evleaks claimed the Nexus wasn't being made at all – along with all other Nexus devices – to make way for the arrival of Google's new Android Silver project. The Silver Project is basically meant to be kind of like a combined Google Play edition/Nexus program, where major manufacturers build a device to Google's specifications and then slap stock Android on it. It will be like getting half a dozen Nexus devices per year, but the price will be that of Google Play edition devices. So while we get more choices, we'll also lose the beautiful low price point of the traditional Nexus. That is, unless the Nexus continues in the form of the Nexus 6.
Nexus 6 rumors: manufacturer
There's also a rumor that the Nexus 6 will come with a fingerprint scanner, which seems like an unnecessary cost to add to a pared-back Android tool, but you never know. Motorola has recently been pegged as the most likely manufacturer for this year's Nexus smartphone, with details of a device codenamed Shamu emerging, including a fingerprint scanner. These rumors seem to be firming up, as The Information recently reported three independant sources confirming that Motorola will indeed be the maker of the Nexus 6.
Nexus 6 rumors: Google Gem smartwatch
Remember the Google smartwatch, supposedly codenamed Gem? We do. While the LG G Watch was tighly controlled by Google and the Gear Live looks pretty much exactly like the Gear 2 with Android Wear, the Google Gem rumors persist. Google now has the wearable operating system in full flight, but would they really now need to push their own smartwatch? While the Nexus program says yes, the amount of control - and relative lack of variability in smartwatches running the same OS - makes me think if Google did indeed have a smartwatch planned that they would have canned it when they took the reigns on everyone else's Android Wear offerings. Still, the rumors are there, and if a Google smartwatch appears this year it will be alongside the Nexus 6.
Let us know in the comments below who you think will be making the Nexus this year. Would you buy a Nexus 6?