With new Nexus rumors continuing to swirl after Google I/O, we want to take a look at the Nexus 6, a device that was once considered one of the top rumored smartphones of 2014.
Earlier this week, Google took the stage at Google I/O and announced a slew of new Android products including Android TV, new smartwatches, and the new Android L update.
Android L is expected to replace Android 4.4 KitKat as the company’s latest and greatest Android update and it’s expected to do so with a number of new features including changes to the user interface, improvements to battery life and notifications, tweaks to the camera application, support for 64-bit processors and more.
Google did not, however, announce any new Nexus products at Google I/O. Fortunately, new Android software is always accompanied by new Nexus hardware so there is a good chance that the Android L update will arrive with a new Nexus device when it touches down sometime later on this year.
Earlier this year we heard about two Nexus devices, a Nexus 6 smartphone and a Nexus 8 tablet. Nexus 8 rumors continue to swirl. The device is apparently going to be made by HTC and come with a number of high-end specifications aimed at pulling consumers away from the iPad mini, iPad Air and other high-end slates. Rumors suggest that it, like Android L, will be out later this year in Q3 or Q4.
The Nexus 6’s story is far murkier than the Nexus 8’s. While the device seemed destined for launch earlier this year, more recent rumors suggested that the Nexus 6 was dead and that LG would be moving on. Yesterday though, we saw some signs of life though it’s difficult to tell how loud the pulse is.
Yesterday, David Burke, head of Android engineering and the Nexus program told ReadWrite that reports of the Nexus program’s demise were greatly exaggerated and that the Nexus program would live on. While this doesn’t necessarily confirm anything beyond the obvious, the obvious being the Nexus 8, we want to revisit the Nexus 6 situation and take a look at everything we think we know about a device that still might never make it onto shelves.
Nexus 6 Rumors
In the beginning of the year, it looked like a Nexus 6 would be coming to replace the Nexus 5. Rumors suggested that the device would be built by LG and that it would be modeled after the LG G3, the company’s current flagship and a device that is expected to compete against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6.
Then, evleaks rained on the parade. According to the well sourced Evan Blass, Google canned the Nexus 6 in favor of its upcoming Android Silver program. Android Silver is expected to feature several manufacturer and a massive marketing campaign but also offer many of the perks that come with Google’s Nexus program.
For instance, devices are thought to have high-end hardware. They’re also expected to get quick updates from Google, a hallmark of Google’s stable of Nexus devices. The first Android Silver devices are expected to be released in February of 2014, long after the Android L release and the usual Nexus smartphone release window.
Maybe people believed that the arrival of the Android Silver program, a premier Android experience, would kill off the Nexus program. Well, according to Burke, this isn’t the case.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance…
Burke claims that Google is still invested in Nexus and that reports of its death are simply untrue. He says that his team develops Android updates alongside new Nexus hardware that is supposed to highlight the software’s functionality. This seems to hint at the arrival of a new Nexus device sometime later this year. It also leaves the door open for future Nexus devices which means that there is still a chance that we could see a Nexus 6 arrive in 2014.
LG Nexus 6
If Google does release a new Nexus smartphone this year, it may not be made by Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 maker LG. In comments made to Android Police and DraadBreuk, LG’s director of communications Ken Hong claims that the company does not have any Nexus devices, Nexus 6 or otherwise, in the immediate pipeline.
He also says that he’s heard nothing about Google’s plans for the Nexus program when typically, the company is informed. This seems to rule out an LG Nexus 6 or any other LG Nexus release in 2014. Remember though, this isn’t the first time that an LG executive has dismissed a Nexus product ahead of time.
Last year, ahead of the Nexus 5 launch, LG’s Won Kim told the media that the company was not working with Google on the Nexus 5. Several months later, Google announced the LG-made Nexus 5 on stage next to the Android 4.4 KitKat update. So while Hong might be telling the truth, there’s always a chance that plans could change.
What You Need to Know
With all that in mind, here is what consumers need to know. For the first time in awhile, a Nexus smartphone release isn’t a given. Burke’s comments, while encouraging, don’t confirm anything. It also doesn’t help that evleaks, a trusted insider, believes that a Nexus 6 is dead in the water and that Google will instead shift to Android Silver.
At this point, rumors reveal an extremely murky situation and one that may not clear up until we push deeper into the year towards the Android L release. If Google is planning another Nexus smartphone before the arrival of Android Silver, we’ll certainly hear a ton about it before it lands on shelves.
For now, at the very least, consumers can expect at least one more Nexus device from Google in the form of the Nexus 8. Burke’s comments point to its arrival and so does the rumor mill. Whether or not it’s the last of its kind remains to be seen.