Unlike the Motorola-made super-big Nexus 6, the most recent Nexus phones — the Nexus 6P, and its brother the Nexus 5X — have embraced the traditional unlocked Nexus way of life and have been unavailable to purchase through carriers. That’s seemingly going to change again with the 2016 “Nexus” phones, which according to both a leaked system image and the famed leakster Evan Blass, are going to once again be available locked via carriers such as AT&T and Verizon…
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Both of our sources of information are reliable-but-imperfect predictors of what will actually happen when the phone launches in the next couple of months. The first is Nate Benis, who has been digging through the “Marlin” system image, and found references to carriers and carrier features. According to Benis, the phone sports Verizon visual voicemail, AT&T/Verizon WiFi calling, Verizon Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service, and more.
He also found the following string, which suggests the phones will ship locked on some carriers:
[code]<stringname="oem_unlock_enable_disabled_summary_sim_locked_device">Unavailable on carrier-locked devices</string>[/code]
The second source of information is Evan Blass, who we all know has a pretty good track record with Android leaks. According to a tweet he recently posted, the phones will indeed be carried by Verizon. He also goes out of his way to put the “Nexus” name in quotes, suggesting the phones could end up with a different name. And it’s safe to say that if Google is launching the phones on Verizon, they’ll be available through other carriers as well (like AT&T, which we see evidence for above).
In terms of specs, the Marlin has been leaked to have a larger 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 screen and 3450 mAh battery, a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM, a 12MP rear camera and a 8MP front facer. A recent Sailfish benchmark suggests that it will have a smaller 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display, but otherwise the same processor, RAM, and camera.
According to reports, both phones will sport a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor with a new gesture that can be used to pull down the notification shade. It’s also likely that these two handsets will forgo the Google Now Launcher, and instead ship a new “Nexus Launcher” that redesigns the homescreen and app drawer. Both devices are expected to launch this Fall.