Nexus 6 release date, news and rumors
14th Aug 2014 | 10:07
The Nexus 5 was really rather good... so how can Google improve?
Nexus 6 release date, news and rumors
The Nexus 5 arrived in the second half of 2013, continuing the brand's mantra of high specs, low cost and a pure version of Android.
We're now well into 2014, so our thoughts are turning towards Google's next iteration of Nexus device, although the chance of the Nexus 6 actually appearing isn't guaranteed.
There has been talk about Google's new Android Silver program, where the search engine is apparently turning to key smartphone manufacturers and offering resources to make high-end devices in collaboration with Google.
Some are suggesting that this could be the death of the Nexus line, with @evleaks claiming: "There is no Nexus 6. Farewell, Nexus. Don't worry, there's a silver lining to this cloud... Android Silver, circa February 2015."
But don't worry Nexus fans, as Android's head of engineering Dave Burke has confirmed the brand is still 'invested in Nexus'.
Mentions of the Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 8 tablet have also been spied by eagle eyed devs who have been sifting through code for Google's Chromium browser - giving us hope the Nexus 6 is still on the cards.
For now though nothing is confirmed and the Nexus 6 could still arrive this year.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Google's sixth iteration of its affordable Nexus line
- When is it out? Going on the Nexus 5, probably October or November
- What will it cost? It's likely to start around $349, £300
Nexus 6 release date and price
The Nexus 5 was announced on October 31 2013, hitting stores in November of the same year.
In terms of the Nexus 6 release date we're expecting the handset to arrive around the same time in 2014.
Considering the Nexus 5 launched at $349, £299 for the 16GB model we'd expect the Nexus 6 to inherit a similar pricing structure, although if it's rocking some serious tech it may come in slightly more expensive.
Nexus 6 operating system
When Google launches a new major version of its software it usually offers up some hardware too.
The Nexus 5 ushered in the arrival of Android KitKat and the Nexus 6 seems the sensible option for the next installment, although there's always a chance that'll we'll see the Google Nexus 10 (2014) or an updated Nexus 7 slate instead.
Nexus 6 design
Korean manufacturer LG was being hotly tipped for a third term as Google's Nexus smartphone producer, and while the Nexus 5 bore resemblances to last year's LG G2, some sources reckon the Nexus 6 will apparently be based on the LG G3.
That's all been called into question though as LG has now denied any involvement in the Nexus 6. That begs the question of who then will be making it in LG's place, but it also kills most of the theories that had been circulating.
They may have a point though, as Motorola is another manufacturer being linked to the Nexus 6, with reports of a handset codenamed "Shamu" doing the rounds.
We may have now caught our first glimpse of the Nexus 6, as the Android Twitter account tweeted a photo featuring an unidentified Nexus handset.
The phone wasn't the focus of the photo, so it's possible that it's just a generic mock-up, but that then begs the question of why they wouldn't just use a Nexus 5 for it.
Either way there's not much to take away from it, all we can tell is that it's a black rectangle with curved corners, large bezels above and below the screen and small ones at the side. There's no sign of any buttons on it, which could mean they've been moved to the back, on the other hand they could just be flush with the edges or hidden by the fingers.
The thin side bezels could mean that it's taking a similar approach to the LG G3, by packing a larger screen into a similar sized chassis, though again it doesn't look like LG itself has anything to do with the phone.
Nexus 6 display
Beating the LG drum again, and one rumour pegs the Nexus 6's screen size at 5.5 inches, which is the same as the LG G3, but with LG seemingly not involved that's presumably just a coincidence if it's even true.
Going back to the Motorola leak, and the "Shamu" handset apparently sports a sizeable 5.9-inch display which would push the device firmly into phablet territory.
We reckon it's highly unlikely that the Nexus 6 will be a phablet offering, so unless Shamu arrives alongside a more conventional handset (around 5-inches in size), it probably won't see the light of day.
We've also now seen another leak, this time on GFXBench, which lists a 5.2-inch 2560 x 1440 QHD display. That's big and high resolution but seems more likely than 5.9 inches.
Nexus 6 power
It looks like the Nexus 6 might be a real beast. The Motorola Shamu, which is believed to be the Nexus 6, appeared on GFXBench. It has so far only completed a single test but alongside the results you can see that it has a 2.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor and 3GB of RAM, which would make it a match for any other smartphone out there. A similar listing has also popped up on AnTuTu, revealing an Adreno 420 GPU.
Nexus 6 camera
It may even be slightly better still, as according to a similar listing on AnTuTu it will actually have a 13MP main camera, plus a 2.1MP front-facing one.
Nexus 6 fingerprint scanner
The Nexus 6 is no exception, with Android Geeks citing a "trusted source" who claims the handset will indeed come with a fingerprint scanner.
- Read our in depth Google Nexus 5 review
The key features the Nexus 6 needs
Here's what our friendly neighbourhood search giant could do to get us excited about the Nexus 6.
A bigger battery
Battery life has bossed the chart of complaints in the smartphone market for years now and last year's Nexus was a major offender, with a constantly weird amount of power suckage.
Scraping through a day simply isn't good enough. If you're going to pack more and more irresistible features into a device with a gorgeous hypnotizing display, then please give it enough juice to fulfil our obsessive usage.
A better camera
Google made some swift adjustments to roll out an update that fixed up the Nexus 5 camera, but it's still an obvious candidate for improvement. A new version of Android should handle the software side, but the Nexus 6 is going to need to pack some decent hardware.
Nokia is the current gold standard with the 41MP-toting Lumia 1020, but the Android pack is pushing 13MP and upwards now. Of course there's more to a camera than the megapixel count, but there's a lot more than can be done here.
We want great quality shots, but also fast performance to help us capture those precious, spontaneous moments as they happen.
A slightly bigger screen
With some clever engineering and some ruthless bezel slicing we're getting bigger displays without smartphones growing to ridiculous proportions, although phablets are now a thing. Perhaps the 6 will refer to the screen size.
Realistically 6 inches might be pushing things too far, but we could always use more screen real estate.
We'd like to see the Nexus 6 creep up a touch past 5 inches without becoming unwieldy. A slight increase in screen size without additional bulk would hit the spot nicely. An edge-to-edge display has long been a dream for smartphone fans.
A 64-bit processor
Since Apple made the jump to a 64-bit processor in the iPhone 5S it's inevitable that other manufacturers will want to follow suit. It doesn't matter if there isn't much obvious short term advantage.
App developers and manufacturers will be able to realize the potential of this in years to come, but perception is important and that's reason enough for the Nexus 6 to need a 64-bit processor.
The front-facing dual-speaker setup on the HTC One M8 is undeniably nice and the more we consume media on our smartphones the more important it becomes to get decent sound.
The Nexus 5 had one speaker at the bottom and it was less than stellar. It's another obvious target for a spot of improvement on the Nexus 6 and it would be nice if headphones weren't a requirement for enjoying music on your phone.
A new form
The LG G Flex and the Samsung Galaxy Round have begun the transition to flexible displays which will enable new form factors.
A gentle curve is not much to get excited about, and it's still probably too early for the full potential of flexible displays to be realized, but anything that takes smartphones away from the black rectangle convention could be good.
A Nexus 6 with a really interesting design and some software innovation from Google could point the way for the evolution of the smartphone.
At the very least a kind of secondary display portion on the edge for at-a-glance functionality and controls. Maybe even a dual-screen set-up with a low energy secondary display for notifications.
The big USP for the Moto X was the voice recognition, allowing you to issue commands to Google Now without using your hands. The idea of hands-free operation has always been hampered by the need to press something first.
If the Nexus 6 was always listening for its master's voice, we might be tempted to make better use of Google's fortune-telling digital butler.
A 2K display
Full HD with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution is still the standard for top-end Android smartphones, but QHD 2560 x 1440 displays are just around the corner.
It wouldn't be a shock if the Nexus 6 brought us a new level of pixel density. It's probably too soon for 4K displays, but we're heading in that direction, and this would at least give a Nexus the headline grabbing features we love.
Of course, only if it can be done cheaply. We don't want to lose the low prices we've become accustomed to.
Face Unlock was a gimmicky feature that arrived in Android Ice Cream Sandwich. It didn't always work and it was easy to spoof with a photo but finding new ways to effortlessly, but securely, unlock your smartphone is still on the agenda.
Apple's Touch ID uses your fingerprints and there's a digit scanner in the Galaxy S5 too. If this kind of security is set to become a new standard, then the Nexus 6 needs to jump on board.
We've seen Kevlar coating from Motorola and waterproofing from Sony and Samsung, and there's no doubt the Nexus line could stand to toughen up.
You only need to glance at any Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 forum to find tales of woe from hapless owners with shattered screens.
Flexible display technology could put an end to cracked and broken screens. Waterproofing has left the rugged category behind and broken into the mainstream. A Nexus 6 that can survive a dunk and doesn't need a polycarbonate overcoat is surely on the cards.