In the first half of the year, we’ve seen numerous Nexus 6 rumors tempt and tease consumers in the market for a new smartphone. And while Google isn’t talking about the Nexus 6 or the Nexus program, we’ve seen some huge developments take place in recent days. With details swirling, we want to take a look at the most important things smartphone shoppers need to know.
All the way back in 2009, Google confirmed that it was working on a brand new smartphone called the Nexus One. The Nexus One, the first Nexus smartphone and one developed by Google and HTC, first hit shelves in January of 2010. The Nexus One is now well over four years old but its name has been kept alive by subsequent Nexus smartphone releases.
After the Nexus One it was the Nexus S from Samsung. Next in line was the LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Nexus. After the Galaxy Nexus was the Nexus 4, a device that emerged onto the Google Play Store with an extremely unlocked price tag in addition to high end specifications. And finally last year, we saw the Nexus 5, an LG-made flagship, emerge at the end of the year touting a cheap price tag and premium features.
These Nexus smartphones have consistently been at the top of the Android heap thanks to their prices, their hardware and their software. Nexus smartphones get extremely fast updates from Google, come with stock Android software, and boast unlocked bootloaders that allow for easy customization. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to hear Nexus 6 rumors emerge at the beginning of the year.
In the first five months of the year, we’ve seen a number of Nexus 6 rumors emerge. Even Google’s Android head Sundar Pichai got in on the action when he offered specifics about a potential Nexus smartphone release. The Nexus 6 appeared to be in cruise control until a series of leaks emerged over the weekend.
With the Nexus 6 release now in doubt, we want to take a look at the five most important things we think prospective buyers need to know about Google’s plans for the future.
Nexus 6 Appears Dead
Earlier in the year, it looked like the Nexus 6 was on the same path as the Nexus 5. Nexus 5 rumors began swirling in the beginning of 2013 and even correctly pointed to LG as the device’s manufacturer. Nexus 6 rumors also emerged in the weeks after the Nexus 5 launch and they also pointed in LG’s direction.
In fact, several reports suggested that the Nexus 6 would be based on the LG G3, LG’s upcoming flagship. The rumors, coincidentally or not, emerged during Mobile World Congress, the same conference where Google’s Sundar Pichai told the media that a Nexus smartphone launch would not take place during the first half of the year.
Earlier this month, the Nexus 6 name was spotted next to the rumored name of Google’s next tablet, the Nexus 8. This fueled rumors but didn’t confirm anything. Then, last weekend happened.
Over the weekend, the well-sourced Evan “evleaks” Blass announced that the Nexus 6 was dead and that the company would instead be shifting to its rumored Android Silver program. This is not the first time that we’ve heard rumors point to the Nexus programs demise.
Earlier this year, Mobile-Review blogger Eldar Murtazin suggested that the Nexus line would not be around in 2015, something that was echoed by a report from The Information. So while signs pointed to the end of the Nexus program, they did not, until this past weekend, point to the end coming in 2014.
evleaks’ track record is solid and at this point, those hoping to buy a Nexus 6 this year should temper their expectations going forward. While nothing is confirmed, it appears that Google may have simply decided to kill off the Nexus smartphone brand ahead of schedule and prepare for battle in 2015.
Here’s what we know so far about Android Silver. Android Silver will reportedly be aimed at the high-end market, targeting Apple’s iPhone. It will evidently be open to several manufacturers which means that we could see several different devices on shelves at once. LG, unsurprisingly, is rumored to be one of the companies involved. So is Motorola.
Intel suggests that devices that fall under the Android Silver umbrella will get quick software updates, will offer high-end hardware, and will launch in the United States, Germany and Japan. The report also suggests that Google will pump in its own money to market these devices and ensure that they get the attention they need. In other words, while they may not carry the Nexus name, they will apparently be very similar to Google’s previous Nexus devices.
Release Pegged for February
All of the information thus far puts the first Android Silver device, or devices, in the first part of 2015 not 2014. evleaks claims that the first devices will arrive in February of next year, or shortly after the Nexus 5 turns a year old. This represents a wide gap and it’s not clear if Google intends to plug it up with other devices.
The company does host a number of Google Play Edition devices on its Play Store so it could be that the company relies on these devices to ward off competition from devices like the iPhone 6. Perhaps it will simply keep the Nexus 5 on shelves. The Nexus 5 is still an extremely solid smartphone option and it’s one of the best unlocked smartphone options on the market.
First Android Silver Devices
While LG may not be making a Nexus 6, it does appear as though it will be producing a smartphone for the Android Silver line. evleaks claims that the company is working on a device running a next-gen Qualcomm MSM8994 processor. It’s expected to be among the first Android Silver devices and it’s expected to land for Sprint, at the very least.
LG handset, running a Qualcomm MSM8994, to be among first Silver devices. Successor to the Nexus 6 initiative, expected on Sprint in the US.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) May 17, 2014
Motorola has been mentioned as another possible manufacturer involved in the Android Silver program and given the close relationships that companies like HTC and Sony have forged with Google, we could perhaps see them join the likes of LG and Motorola in the first part of the new year.
Plenty of Other Options
If a Nexus 6 fails to arrive in 2014, and signs are pointing in that direction, those who are in the market for a new smartphone later this year won’t have a shortage of options to choose from.
Those who are willing to wait should be able to choose from a collection of Android Silver devices in early 2014. Those that aren’t willing to wait will likely be able to get their hands on the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, or the HTC One M8 Prime, all of which are rumored to be arriving later on this year to compete. Those just scratch the surface too.
We should see the LG G3 emerge in just a few short days and Samsung is expected to flood the market with new Galaxy S5 branded devices later on this year. We’re also expecting Motorola to deliver a Moto X successor in the form of the Moto X+1, a device that could certainly be an attractive option to prospective Nexus 6 buyers thanks to its customization, software and fast updates.