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HTC Nexus phones leak in design photo

The HTC Nexus phone specs (yes, there’ll be two phones, codenamed T50 and T55, later re-codenamed Marlin and Sailfish) have already leaked, with the Sailfish Nexus replacing the budget-friendly LG Nexus 5X of yesteryear and the Marlin Nexus becoming Google’s flagship device with its AMOLED display, 1440p screen resolution, 3,450mAh battery, and more juicy specs (including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820). With that said, as always, nothing official has been confirmed from Google or from HTC, but a credible source has been able to construct something akin to a faithful replica of the upcoming phones’ design language.

Android Police has been a reliable source when it comes to the Marlin and Sailfish HTC Nexus specs, so we don’t expect anything different to change when it comes to the scoop on the design of these upcoming smartphones. From what AP has constructed, there are some worthwhile observations to make. First, there is a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. This isn’t surprising, considering that Google has been implementing rear-mounted sensors since last year’s Huawei Nexus 6P and LG Nexus 5X. To continue the trend this year is disappointing when you consider that more intuitive fingerprint sensors are on the front of the phone underneath the display, but I digress.

Next, the HTC Nexus features a common vanilla Android UI that is unmistakably Google. The wallpaper and background are reminiscent of the 2012 Asus-Google Nexus 7 tablet as well as the LG Nexus 5 released in 2013 — so don’t assume this will be the wallpaper for the new phone; it won’t. In addition to the wallpaper, though, there is the “G” at the bottom of the back cover. AP says that this design feature may stay or go with the final design (they can’t say for certain, and neither can we). It would be interesting to see Google get rid of the “NEXUS” branding on the back of the 2016 HTC Nexus devices, though I still prefer the old branding to the new branding that only leaves a small “G” on the back.

As for the back of the HTC Nexus Marlin and Sailfish, we can see that this one design for both phones will be far better executed and elegant than the Huawei Nexus 6P’s back cover/camera design from last year — as well as the LG Nexus 5X. The Nexus 5X looks as if it has a pig’s snout on the back cover (which has put me off from investing in it), and the Nexus 6P has the ugly black bar across the top that, while housing so many necessary components in the smartphone experience such as the IR blaster, among other things, seems to indicate that Huawei didn’t think through all of the design process: when you design a phone as beautiful as the Nexus 6P, adding a black bar to house small, tiny components only highlights the afterthought in the design process.

The antenna lines at the top and bottom are characteristic of HTC phones including the HTC 10, and HTC will bring these to the HTC Nexus lineup, though we’re still waiting to see if the 3D Touch-like functionality rumored some time ago will come to these two new Nexii (3D Touch will be baked into the newly-announced Android OS update, we can only presume).

Finally, in what will be nothing more than a sigh of relief for diehard Nexus fans, the HTC Nexus Marlin and HTC Nexus Sailfish will run Android 7.0 Nougat (otherwise known as Android Nougat).

What do you think of this new design? Can you see yourself picking up a 2016 Nexus?

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