Rumors surrounding Google’s yet-to-be-announced 2016 Nexus phones have been pretty all over the place. We’ve heard a lot, but not all of it has made sense. One early rumor though was that Google was actually planning to drop the Nexus brand on these devices, instead releasing a Pixel device. Since the original report we haven’t heard a ton regarding the use of that name, but tonight Android Police has dropped a bomb on us; Google’s upcoming smartphones will be called the Pixel and the Pixel XL.
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This latest report states the 5-inch smartphone, previously known as “Sailfish,” will be called Pixel. Meanwhile the larger 5.5-inch smartphone, previously known as “Marlin”, will actually be called Pixel XL. Android Police says that this information is coming from two independent sources, one of which has been particularly reliable in the past. This also matches up well with other recent reports that Google would be dropping the Nexus brand from these upcoming devices.
The report further explains that Google may be branding these devices as “the first phones built by Google”, which, assuming that HTC is indeed manufacturing the devices, is just a bit misleading even though Google did design the phones entirely on its own.
So if Google does end up going with this new Pixel branding, what will it mean for the Nexus program? Well, we don’t know. At this point the future of Google’s Android hardware is confusing, but seeing that these new phones might drop the brand and that the current Google tablet is Pixel-branded, we might be seeing the end of the Nexus brand. We know that Google hired former Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh earlier this year to help unify its hardware efforts, so it’s entirely possible that this change is part of his work. To make matters even more confusing, Evan Blass is being quite cryptic, so I’ll let you speculate on that one…
Whatever Google has going on behind the scenes, it’s going to be interesting. We should learn more about these new devices, whatever they’re called, within the next several weeks.