Google is the one behind the Android mobile operating system, which is now in the Android 7.0 Nougat iteration. Hence, it is far from surprising to hear that there will be new Android smartphones that are in the pipeline for 2016 -- under the Nexus initiative. Each Nexus handset released so far has been a pure Android smartphone, meaning that it will not arrive with the encumbrances of bloatware or additional software from the hardware manufacturer or mobile carrier. In other words, a Nexus handset in the current generation is the epitome of what Android is, if that were possible.
It seems that the Nexus initiative might arrive at the end of the road, as Google could replace it with the Pixel programme instead. The reason behind this? The upcoming Nexus handset would most probably be a Pixel smartphone. At this point in time, there are two Nexus smartphones on the market, with LG providing the hardware for the Nexus 5X, while Huawei is the one behind the larger sized Nexus 6P. Needless to say, the Nexus 5X is more affordable and smaller in size, while the Huawei-backed Nexus 6P is the more expensive model.
With whispers going around that HTC will be the one behind the upcoming Nexus device (which should be known as the Pixel if the Pixel programme takes over the Nexus initiative), it would be interesting to see what is in store. MyDrivers laid claim that HTC has inked a deal with Alphabet for the upcoming handsets. Even leaker extraordinary Evan Blass has backed the idea, citing that HTC will be the one manufacturing Google's future Nexus devices, with the internal codenames of M1 and S1. The folks over at Android Police have also jived with such codenames, citing the M1 to be the Marlin, with the S1 being known as Sailfish.
The Pixel and Pixel XL monikers should stick with our consciousness from now on, and there are also indications that Google would like to have a bigger say in how the hardware is going to work out in addition to its software. If that is the direction that Google is heading toward, then HTC would be more of a contractor as opposed to being a partner as LG and Huawei were before.
The Sailfish, or the Pixel, might arrive with plenty of metal all over, although there should be a glass panel at the top behind. As for the Marlin, much less is known about it -- if at all. It could jolly well be the larger of the two handsets, and might have the HTC 10 as its reference model. If that is the case, then expect to see HTC install speakers at the bottom of the Pixel XL, while placing the fingerprint sensor at the back -- a move that is different from what the mainstream manufacturers have done. Will HTC throw in its dual camera setup into the Pixel and Pixel XL as well? That should happen if Google would like to have their flagship go toe-to-toe against the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual camera setup.
In terms of hardware, the Marlin should arrive with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chipset, while we would not be surprised to see specifications like a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM and 32GB all the way to 128GB of internal memory, with USB Type-C charging in tow.
The Sailfish or Pixel via an AnTuTu Benchmark leak points to the tried and tested Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal memory, with USB Type-C charging in tow as well, accompanied by a 5-inch Full HD display. Either way, Android 7.0 Nougat should be the accompanying operating system for both the Pixel and Pixel XL. October 4 should see a massive Google event happening that might just mark the announcement of the Pixel and Pixel XL, but until then, we will have to take what we hear with a grain of salt.