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, even if they didn't mention any devices in the pipeline, or whether the ''Nexus line'' would consist of smartphones and tablets or just the Nexus 9/HTC Volantis we've been seeing leaks of. This article will be updated as new information comes to light, but here's what we know right now. Update: We now have two possible launch dates for the Nexus 6, a possible price and a name change to Nexus X.
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: PhoneArena is stating that the Nexus X will be released at Halloween, as the Nexus 5 was last year. However, TK Tech News is claiming the device will be launched on September 17th at a special launch event. The site also has a screen grab from an online retailing website, FNAC from Portugal, that seems to show the Nexus X will be priced at 419.99 EUR, although we cannot say if the source or screen grab is authentic.
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 possibly ship with a quad-core Snapdragon 805 SoC clocked at 2.7 GHz, like the recently announced LG G3 Cat.6. The device will also likely ship with at least 3 GB of RAM and Adreno 420 GPU. Recent rumors have claimed a 5.9-inch display. 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 the latest version of Android.
Update: If the FNAC screen grab above can be believed, the Nexus X will be a 5.3-inch device, not a 5.2-inch or 5.9-inch bohemoth. The others specs listed for the XT1100 go along with what we've already seen, but the listing does mention the operating system will be called Android 5.0 Lemon Meringue Pie, which goes hand in hand with information uncovered by Android Police recently. Of course, as we saw with Android KitKat, an internal codename can be changed at the last minute, so don't consider this to be final either.
- 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 not really considered feasible for some time. Recent rumors have been pointing to a phablet-sized 5.9-inch display with Full HD resolution. 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?