It’s Nexus time!… or is it?

Hello, friends. It’s been a while since the Nexus were the buzz of the hour, but it’s that time of the year again, and here I am, to sum up everything that’s been going on in the rumor mill in a single, [possibly] short post.

So, if you remember, last year Google announced two different Nexus phones: one “smaller” version — if you can call a 5.2" phone “small” in any sense — called Nexus 5X, and its big brother, the 5.7" Nexus 6P, much like Apple did with the iPhone 6/6 Plus line-up. By the way: iPhone [6 P]lus; happy accident?

Anyhow, it seems that Google has learned (though a bit later than it should have) that the smartphone market isn’t moving so linearly as it did back in the day, and that now there’re people who think phones are getting too big, and there’re people who think phones still aren’t big enough. So, in order to satisfy both crowds, they announced two different sizes of phones last year, and apparently, that’s what they’re gonna do again this year.

Enter, the Nexus 2016 models. Oh, but wait. First we probably should clarify something about the Nexus brand:

It’s gone.

1. The Nexus brand

Yeah, you heard me. This year, Google has decided to go full-Apple regarding their phones, and now decided that they want to be more in control of hardware too. They want to design the phone from the inside-out, meaning that manufacturers, which in the past versions of Nexus phones had a say on how the handset would be designed and had the right to sport their logos on the chassis won’t have such luxury anymore, and will be “demoted” to mere contractors, responsible only for making sure that Google’s dream phone becomes a reality, the way the Mountain View company wanted it to.

That said, Google decided to change the Nexus brand to Pixel. You might not remember (because there isn’t much hype about these items) but Google already has two products with its Pixel brand: one of them is the Chromebook Pixel, and the other one is the Pixel C tablet. This could mean that the Nexus line is about to get even better, now that Google is in plain and full control of EVERYTHING.

Google’s plan with this change is a paradigm shift: forget Nexus; Pixel is the true Android experience.

Mockup based on leaked photographs of the actual phone.

2. The phones

So, Google is supposedly gonna launch two Pixel smartphones this year, much like they did last year with the Nexus 5X and 6P, but HTC is rumored to be the manufacturer responsible for crafting the handsets this year. The model numbers are supposedly S1 and M1, and they’re being internally called by their codenames: Sailfish and Marlin, respectively.

If you like a little bit of biology trivia, you should know that sailfish and marlins are both fish belonging to the istiophoridae family, but marlins are significantly larger than sailfish, so, you might infer from this which of those two phones will be the bigger.

This maintains a long-living tradition from Google to give their phones codenames related to marine life: Nexus 6P is Angler, 5X is Bullhead, 6 was Shamu, 5 was Hammerhead, and so on, so forth.

But, I’m guessing you don’t care very much about fish, and would rather focus on the actual rumors and specs of our phones here, wouldn’t you? So let’s get to it.

The Pixel S1

The S1 is the smaller of the two brothers. It will feature a 5" FHD AMOLED display, which is a reduction when compared to the 5X’s 5.2", but the shift on the size will contribute to an increase on the pixel density of the screen: a minor bump from the current 423ppi to 440ppi.

On the inside, the S1 brings an unknown quad-core 2.0GHz 64-bit processor (most likely to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, featured on the Nexus 6P), 4GB of RAM, a 2770mAh battery and 32GB of storage. Other storage options are currently unknown, but if the present serves as any indicator, the 5X sells in versions with 16GB and 32GB of storage. Since the industry has now realized that 16GB is barely usable anymore, we might see a step forward regarding the storage options, and see 32GB/64GB models instead.

As for the eyes of the phone, the Pixel S1 sports a 12MP sensor on the back, and an 8MP camera on the front. While the front-facing camera has received a much welcome upgrade from the previous 5MP, the image size on the rear camera is still the same, so let’s hope Google has packed some changes into the camera so as to further improve the [finally] great camera on the Nexus 5X.

Other minor information:
- Fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone
- USB-C port
- Speakers on the bottom (yeah, it sucks)
- Bluetooth 4.2

The Pixel M1

The M1, the analogous to the Nexus 6P for this generation of Google phones, is even more powerful than its predecessor and than its smaller brother (as it should).

On the exterior, the Pixel M1 boasts a 5.5" QHD AMOLED display — again, slightly smaller than the previous generation, but since the screen resolution is still the same, we should see (but will not, because such pixel density is indiscernible to the naked eye) an increase in pixel density: 518ppi to 534ppi.

This beautiful display guards the powerful machine that runs underneath: a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor — rumored to be either the 820 or the 821 — paired to 4GB of RAM, a 3450mAh battery and 32/128GB of storage as options.

The front and rear camera should keep the current image size: 12MP on the rear and 8MP on the front. But, once again, let’s hope Google has something in store for us to make the Pixel camera even better than the Nexus’ already is.

Other minor details regarding the M1 include a USB-C port, a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, speakers on the bottom (once again) and Bluetooth 4.2.

3. The launch

So, when are these phones expected to hit us? Fortunately, it appears it’s really close. Like, less-than-a-month close.

That’s because the word on the street is that Google is intending to make an event on October 4th, and such event would most likely be the keynote in which Google would announce the Pixel phones — alongside other things, like the Chromecast 4K, Google Home (Mountain View’s bet to rival Amazon’s Echo) and Daydream VR.

Most of this information, even though only rumored, comes from certified, reliable sources. That means this is the real deal: it’s what we’re gonna see if Google doesn’t change anything until the launch date.

Stay tuned.

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