Nexus season is almost upon us, with Google usually announcing its latest smartphones in October or November (though the Huawei Nexus 6P started a new trend with its September announcement last year), and with just a few weeks short of September, the rumors about the 2016 Nexus devices have already started picking up the pace. The current situation behind the excitement is tied to the fact that HTC is making 2016 Nexus devices (plural, not singular), and yet, Chinese manufacturer Huawei says that it will make another Nexus this year — which leads us to believe that there will be 3 2016 Nexus devices to choose from. One of the HTC 2016 Nexus devices could feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor chip, which has yet to appear in any smartphone (the current crop of high-end smartphones have the Snapdragon 820 chip housed within them). We know nothing about the Huawei device, though we assume it’ll be the high-end device that follows in the trail of its highly successful Nexus 6P from 2015.
Well, the folks over at Android Police have received a set of phone specs from an anonymous source and the specs themselves show a more budget-friendly device that will replace the LG Nexus 5X from 2015. LG has said that it won’t make any Nexus devices this year, so it’s highly probable that HTC with its two smartphones (codenamed T50 and T55) will gladly take LG’s place. What are the specs of this phone? First, the phone is codenamed “Sailfish,” which hints that this is indeed a Nexus phone and not some other phone of Google’s own doing. After all, Google codenamed devices such as its Nexus 5 back in 2013 after fish in the sea (“Hammerhead,” for example).
Now, let’s visit the specs of the Sailfish phone. First, AP says that HTC will manufacture the device, which means that HTC will definitely make one of the 2016 Nexus budget-friendly offerings because the specs themselves aren’t that high-end. We’re looking at a 5-inch, Full HD (1080p) display, with a 2Ghz, quad-core processor (Snapdragon processor likely, though unknown at this point), with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, USB Type-C charging, an 8MP front camera, 12MP back camera, 2,770mAh battery, bottom speakers, Bluetooth 4.2, a back cover fingerprint scanner, and 3.5mm headphone jack.
From these specs alone, we can see that the 5-inch 1080p display matches that of the LG Nexus 5X from 2015 (which tells you that HTC has been hired to replace LG in this year’s Nexus offerings). Next, the 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, alongside of USB Type-C charging, seems to match expected standard specs in the industry for 2016. Bluetooth 4.2 will give the 2016 Nexus “Sailfish” device the most updated Bluetooth performance in the industry as well.
The 2,770mAh battery seems to be a disappointment, though keep in mind that the Full HD display should help this battery last long. At least on WiFi, many 2016 Nexus “Sailfish” users won’t have too many worries (though I wouldn’t recommend using the device on cellular data all that much). The back fingerprint scanner repeats LG’s implementation in the Nexus 5X and reminds me that for some odd reason, HTC is joining that hardware design. It seems weird for HTC to continue this trend, particularly when HTC has a front fingerprint scanner embedded in its home button on its flagship device, the HTC 10. Of course, it could be that Google employs a front-facing fingerprint scanner on its flagship Nexus device in order to encourage consumers to purchase the higher-end model.
There’s no word right now on whether this 2016 Nexus device will be Daydream VR-compatible (work with Google’s upcoming VR platform and subsequent Daydream VR headsets), though we assume so. At this point, things are starting to take shape for where HTC will fit into the Nexus team. The Taiwanese smartphone maker will be in charge of making budget-friendly devices and, with the company’s HTC 10 design, it’s not hard to see why Google believes HTC is a viable replacement to LG. It also confirms that LG is really taking a break from the Nexus program this year – which may not prove helpful for Korean manufacturer LG in the long run (especially since the LG G5 hasn’t been all that successful).