New Nexus 2016 release date, news and rumors

New Nexus 2016 release date, news and rumors

Update: Another benchmarking result suggests the Nexus Marlin will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 2K display, 8MP selfie camera and 13MP rear shooter.

Google’s Nexus line is still going strong. There was a time when things looked to be on the rocks for the search giant’s own-brand handsets, but it’s navigated through the treacherous waters, and come out stronger on the other side.

2015 gave us the excellent Nexus 6P, plus the more affordable (and palm-friendly) Nexus 5X, but with the recent arrivals of the Samsung Galaxy S7, HTC 10, LG G5 and Huawei P9, both those phones are suddenly looking a little long in the tooth.

It’s time then, to look at what Google has up its sleeve for its next Nexus smartphones. Bigger screens? New Android? More power? Some actual innovation?

One thing we know for sure is Google will continue to leave Nexus manufacturing to established names in the market. CEO, Sundar Pichai has said Google will instead focus on the design and software, hinting that the search giant will be more involved than ever in future Nexus devices.

Could these be the most ‘Googly’ Nexus devices to date? Quite possibly. Let’s see what the rumor mill has churned up so far for the new Nexus handsets…

Cut to the chase

  • What are they? Google’s next own-brand smartphones
  • When are they out? September/October 2016
  • What will they cost? Traditionally the Nexus line is slightly cheaper than flagship rivals

Say my name(s)!

Singular or plural? That’s the first question we need to tackle when talking about new Nexus phones.

2015 was the first time Google launched two Nexus smartphones side by side, the 5X and 6P. Arguably the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 were also a pair, but there was a year between their releases and they were rarely marketed together.

A duo of handsets felt right, and we expect Google to repeat the trick this time around. Two new Nexus phones have already supposedly been spotted online – dubbed the Nexus M1 and Nexus S1 – adding more fuel to this particular fire. ‘M’ apparently stands for Marlin, while ‘S’ is allegedly Sailfish.

They’ve also been touted as T50 and T55, with those numbers relating to the screen sizes: 5-inch and 5.5-inch. Those are all said to just be development codenames – so what will Google opt for in the end?

The simplest answer would be the Nexus 6X and Nexus 7P, but those make even less sense than the phones they’re set to replace.

There’s always the chance Google just sticks with the code names M1 and S1, but how about something a little more straightforward? Nexus 7 and Nexus 7 Plus would be nice – but the former has already been used for the firm’s 7-inch slate.

Who’s the daddy?

While Nexus devices are routinely referred to as Google’s handsets, the search giant doesn’t actually make the hardware. That task is shipped out to established handset manufacturers, and in the past HTC, Samsung, LG, Asus, Motorola and Huawei have all been called upon to do the honors.

LG is the company behind the 5X and Nexus 5, while Huawei’s first ever Nexus device came in the form of the 6P.

Several rumors, however, suggest it’ll be HTC that gets the nod for both handsets in 2016 – which could see the HTC 10 and One A9 as strong foundations for whatever Google has up its sleeve.

That said, Google is apparently also pretty pleased with the job Huawei did on the 6P, and alternative rumors point towards the Chinese manufacturer getting a second shot at making the higher-end Nexus.

New Nexus release date

Google launched the Nexus 6P and 5X in September 2015, with both devices going on sale the following month, so it stands to reason that it’ll follow a similar release schedule with the new Nexus phones.

That’s also the time of year we see Google’s next Android iteration begin to roll out, and the new Nexus devices tend to be the standard-bearers for the shiny new software.

More specifically the Nexus Sailfish and Nexus Marlin could be arriving on October 4, or at least that’s what one source reckons.

Android Nougat

Google’s next iteration of Android has already been announced, and those rocking current Nexus devices (or the Sony Xperia Z3) can download Android Nougat beta right now.

Android N

Google’s Nexus launches tend to coincide with the official rollout of the next version of its mobile platform, with the new handset(s) championing the new software.

That means you’re basically guaranteed to see Android on whatever Google decides to launch, whether that’s the Nexus 7P, Nexus 6X or both.

Android Nougat doesn’t exactly reinvent the operating system, but new Nexus owners will benefit from a more accessible (and editable) quick settings toolbar, side-by-side app display, fast app switching, an improved Doze mode and a “Clear All” button in the Recents menu.

Check out what Android Nougat has to offer in our beta walkthrough


Google Daydream

Something the new Nexus devices are likely to feature heavily is virtual reality (VR). Google announced its Daydream VR platform at its IO conference in May, and you can expect the new service to feature heavily on its new Nexus handsets.

It even teased its own VR headset with controller – and we could well see the hardware launch alongside the new phones later this year. It would make sense, as the headset will be dependent on a smartphone to function – and what better device to use than a shiny new Nexus?

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a “free VR headset when you pre-order a new Nexus” offer come September.

New Nexus design and screen

With the appearance of those T50 and T55 codenames, it looks like we’ll be getting a 5-inch handset and a larger 5.5-inch device.

That would be a downsizing for the larger device, following the 5.95-inch Nexus 6 and 5.7-inch Nexus 6P, and would see the new Nexus slide in comfortably alongside the iPhone 6S Plus (although the iPhone 7 Plus could be out by then) and LG G5.

A leaked build.prop file for the Nexus Sailfish suggests the smaller phone might be slightly bigger than 5 inches though, with a roughly 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen, which would be a match for the Nexus 5X.

One benchmarking result also suggests the Nexus Marlin device will come with a 2K display, but the size of the screen is currently unclear. Upping the resolution to 2K would be a first for the Nexus range.

A leaked render posted online by Android Police seems to suggest a svelte looking aluminum uni-body and a rear facing fingerprint scanner – just like on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The source who provided the image also claims the new Nexus phones will be available in silver, black, and “electric blue”.

New Nexus 2016 - LEAK - Android Police

New Nexus specs

In terms of power, we’ve seen leaked benchmark tests suggesting both handsets will be sporting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip, which has already found its way into the G5 and HTC 10. A build.prop file for the Nexus Sailfish suggests the same.

However Qualcomm has launched the shiny new Snapdragon 821, which boosts power up even more and it’s certainly not out of the question that the new Nexus smartphones could benefit from the additional oomph. But don’t hold your breath – the benchmarks suggest it’ll be the 820.

The chip will likely be backed up by 4GB of RAM, which would give you plenty of grunt under the hood for all the latest Android Nougat has to throw at you, although 6GB of RAM is also possible with the OnePlus 3 sporting it along with a low price tag.

Nexus scanner

We also expect the fingerprint scanners to return and based on a leaked image it looks like they’ll be on the back of the phones once again, but complete with a new feature, allowing you to reveal your notifications by sliding a digit across it.

New Nexus camera

Camera specs are few and far between for both Nexus phones. GFXBench details suggest it’ll have a 7MP selfie shooter and an 11MP rear facing camera. That’s a strange set up that we haven’t seen before so it may turn out these details are a little bit off.

The back camera is said to have all the features you’d expect such as 4K video recording as well as a flash LED, face detection software and autofocus tech. As for the larger Nexus phone, we’re going to have to wait for more details.

New Nexus price

In the past Nexus smartphones have been cheaper than the flagship devices they tend to be put up against, but that distinction become blurred in 2015, with the Nexus 6P sporting a lofty price tag of its own.

The hope is that the smaller of the two new Nexus phones will at least come with a reasonably affordable price tag, much like the Nexus 5X, while the larger, more premium offering is likely to pitch itself closer to Apple, Samsung and co.


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  1. Reply Peggie Schinner August 17, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    In a car, it takes one hand to set my phone into the Qi charger I built into my dash. That's a safety consideration.

    At the office, the angled Qi charger also serves to hold the phone like a dock, handy for TED talks and the like – and allowing a quick single-hand grab to answer calls or texts without needing to use the other hand to unplug the phone.

    And that's without the unsightly appearance of cables. With a stationary dock you can route cables out of sight.

    Your argument is equivalent to "Why wear a shirt and tie? Sweatpants are totally fine."
    They aren't.

  2. Reply Lucienne Prohaska August 17, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Unless there's a T65 or T70 (7P), looks like I'll be sticking with my Moto Nexus 6 for another year.

  3. Reply Gunner Tillman August 17, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Every time TechRadar talk about Nexus names it's as though they have no idea what the naming convention relates to. It's bizarre.

  4. Reply Lera Breitenberg III August 17, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I am hoping they will not do like everyone else and make a metal phone more glass etc, for those that buy them they slap a case on anyways so you never see the supposed beauty of the phone anyways. I prefer very light weight and grippy phone durable plastic, carbon fiber with a durable screen and lip around it so would not have to use a case, debating using case with current 5x because it is slippery bigtime! Make the back rubbery matte white and other colors to improve grip!! If it is all metal and heavy will have to resort to a moto or other lighter phone

  5. Reply Dr. Marcelina McClure August 17, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    recycled rumors and innuendo about once a week. would be more honest if they just said "we don't know…stay tuned"

  6. Reply Richard Botsford August 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I agree on all but the wireless charging. I've tried it on a few phones and it just doesn't do anything for me, but I get there's a group that needs it. I personally like the feel of aluminum more and my job keeps me moving around more than my knees like so Qi charging would boost my phone maybe 5-10% a day, if I remember to use it and then find the "sweet spot".

    Biggest one for me is the SD capability. If Nexus prices stayed reasonable and they finally added an SD slot, I feel like they'd multiply customers. Come oooon Google!!

  7. Reply Vivienne Abshire August 17, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    I'm interested in three things:

    The sizes.
    5" is the sweet spot for people who carry their phones in their pocket (men). I want a 5" phone with flagship specs! Motorcycle, bicycle, car, desk compatible size.
    Those who like larger phones, I feel like they want a 6" phone or even bigger – but I suppose this time around, they can be the ones to be disappointed.

    Qi wireless charging.
    I'm ready to rampage if we get Google themselves building a metal-bodied (read: signal blocking, wireless-charge-preventing, good for nothing) phone for the 5" size that I want. Wireless charging – the zen of no cords snaking around my car and desk is something I had achieved with my Galaxy S5. And since the 5X was plastic, it could at least be added as a hardware hack. Might as well buy an iPhone if it doesn't have it. Live like a college student with spaghetti wires running everywhere. Ugh.

    Micro SD slot.
    If you read between the lines, Android N has "Adaptive Storage" – you therefore might expect it to have a MicroSD slot. That would be nice. It's yet ANOTHER thing I gave up coming from a Galaxy S5. Fingers crossed.

  8. Reply Micheal Dooley I August 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    It's not a "need" for sure – but consider this:

    Scenario A: Office desk / nightstand / car with Qi charger [essentially] "permanently" installed, with wires neatly routed/hidden from view.
    Scenario B: Office desk / nightstand / car with 3 foot long Micro USB charging cables strewn about them.

    I feel like scenario B is appropriate for a college dorm room, or a child's bedroom who refuses to keep things straight, but is downright embarrassing for any adult professional. Attempts to disconnect and store USB cables when not in use only add to the inconvenience, and is a partly futile effort because they have to be out when you are charging the device, at minimum.

    Even the need that you specify – you imply that you need to top your phone off, plugging it in periodically to charge during the day. That, first of all, is terrible. It should be unacceptable to all of us.

    But it's also the reason that I say a permanent, built-in battery is something that professionals shouldn't accept. And it's not just the "planned obsolescence" argument. A professional who catches an early flight out, rents a car and navigates it to client location(s), uses his phone for entertainment, for heavy on-road or in-client-office communications back to the base office, as well as to navigate and read at restaurants – it's nice to simply have an extra charged battery in your pocket, and whenever you reach near-zero… just slip it in and be at 100% again.

    These aren't way-out, geeky needs by any stretch.

    For the SD card slot – Samsung brought it back, and Google just incorporated a new SD feature into Android – so I'm optimistic that this next-gen phone will have a slot, to help showcase it.
    I've even heard rumors that the smaller 5" phone won't be penalized this time on power or memory, so men with front pockets who don't carry purses can have a full-strength phone in a reasonable package.

  9. Reply Jan Bauch August 17, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Sorry but you dont have any info that they will be relased on sept. Most of rumors point August like android police, and compared to this site their rumors are mostly correct and on the other hands your alwasy was flawed.

  10. Reply Jovan Glover August 18, 2016 at 1:41 am

    When I charge a phone I charge it, I get phones with good battery life, so they will more than last a day and then get plugged in over night. I don't run into any safety consideration because I don't use my phone when driving. And I rarely need to charge my phone during the day because it stays in my pockets and I am on the go, I don't need to have it sit on a holder. I have a "wireless" phone, not a phone that need to hover around a charge pad because it take forever to charge. I have no need to route the cable out of sight because I don't have cables on my desk, charge and cable sit in my drawer and only need to be plugged in at home or temporarily in the office at a socket. And I am completely fine with sweatpants if I am sitting on my couch hanging out and no one sees me. You argument is like "hey I need to be in a suit and tie even when I am sleeping because you never know who's going to see me, even though no one will and even if they do, they don't give a crap". Paying more for a slower charging mechanism that still need to be plugged in regardless makes little sense, especially when you get a charger that comes with your phone in the box anyway.
    I am a man, I don't need to impress someone because my desk needs to have a Qi Pad instead of free from clutter, I will let me secretary worry about impressing the clients and have a nice looking desk, I like fast charging and not overpaying and look like a sucker.

  11. Reply Ms. Violet Ankunding August 18, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Your analysis of the naming of the new phones seems to ignore that Nexus devices are usually named for their screen size, not their version number. I'd say it's more likely that they'd call the new phone a Nexus 5x (2016) than calling it a Nexus 6x.

  12. Reply Isabell Smith August 18, 2016 at 5:05 am

    Hope it's not HTC. Their handsets have stupid curved backs which means you can't use them properly on a flat surface.

  13. Reply Alisa Tremblay August 18, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Please nothing more than 5 inches, men don't carry purses!

  14. Reply Prof. Pierce Casper August 18, 2016 at 7:06 am

    For the cabled charger, you can always put away the charger when you're not using them what's so inconvenient about it, most desks have drawers. It's not like Qi Charger are free from any wires, so it's more professional to have something permanently sitting on your desk than to have your desk clean from clutter when not charging your phone? I guess to each his own. The energy efficiency on wireless charging is far below a wired charger, and forget about fast charge, I can have a charger plugged in for 30 min to get 70-80% battery back, or pay through my nose for a charger that take 3-4x time and energy to charge the same phone and could not be easily put away from my desktop when not used. On top of that, a usb charging cable + charger = ~$20 that doubles as a connection to a PC for quick SD and internal memory access, how much is that Qi charger?

  15. Reply Dr. Evelyn Hayes Sr. August 18, 2016 at 7:35 am

    I prefer huawei and LG as the Nexus manufactures I hateHTC they're too expensive

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