Will Google drop the Nexus brand?

Alex Kidman 31 August 2016

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Rumours suggest that the next Nexus phones won’t be Nexus phones at all.

While there’s considerable hype around the imminent launch of the hotly anticipated iPhone 7, almost all of this year’s flagship high-end Android phones are already available on the market, whether you’re a fan of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, HTC 10, Sony Xperia X Performance or LG G5, to name just a few.

The notable exception to that list is Google. The last pure "Google" phones released were the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, both of which were announced a year ago before going on sale in November 2015. A year is an exceptionally long time in the mobile space, and Google is biding its time on the next Nexus phones.

Or possibly not. While it’s widely tipped that the next pure Google phones will be manufactured by HTC under the codenames of "Sailfish" and "Marlin", it’s also been widely rumoured that this is the year when Google will drop the actual "Nexus" branding for its own phones entirely.

The rumour traces back to Android Central, which cites "several people familiar with Google’s plans". So take that with a certain grain of salt, but it’s certainly a possibility for the next generation of Google phones. Of the two, the Sailfish is expected to be a 5-inch device while the Marlin will be a larger screened mobile, both with a more streamlined design than previous more utilitarian looking Nexus devices. Erm... that is, devices-formerly-known-as-Nexus-perhaps, we suppose.

What does that mean if you’re an existing Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P owner? Not a whole lot; you’re still amongst the few official devices certified for Android 7.0 ("Nougat") and announced by Google to receive updates up until at least September 2017, by which time we should certainly know what Google's future own-brand smartphone plans actually are.

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