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Nexus 2016 rumor round-up: HTC Nexus M1, S1, Huawei 6P 2016

In Op-Ed, Tech by Viv0 Comments

Yesterday we found out that HTC would be making two Nexus 2016 handsets, one dubbed the M1 and another the S1 internally. Although it isn’t officially confirmed info, the source is evleaks, a leakster who has made quite a good name for themselves over the past few years. In light of this new information, we thought it would be high time to get onto a new wishlist, or a new rumor round-up that takes into consideration the almost certain collaboration between Google and HTC. So, the struggling Taiwanese company is making the Nexus M1 and the Nexus S1, but is there going to be anything more than that? Moreover, what will the differences be between the Nexus 2016 family and the one released last year in conjunction with Huawei and LG?

HTC Nexus M1 vs Huawei Nexus 6P display

One of the Nexus 2016 releases is code-named the M1, according to evleaks and it’s likely that this will be the larger, buffer handset of the two we’re expecting to be launched. The Nexus 2016 release date is probably going to fall within the confines of September, which means Google and HTC might give these handsets different names. The HTC Nexus M1 is, let’s assume, going to be the successor to the Nexus 6P made by Huawei and will most likely cater to fans of larger devices, phablets. The Nexus 6P was launched with a 5.7-inch QuadHD AMOLED display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and an extra oleophobic coating.

Based on recent rumors about advances in smartphone displays, some are saying that the HTC Nexus M1 will feature either a 4K or an RGB display. Honestly, I doubt that. In my opinion, Google and HTC will stay within the confines of current trends, because using one of these newer technologies would mean higher cost for manufacturing and ultimately, a more expensive smartphone. Google’s Nexus line-up is not usually meant to be high-end, its aim being to offer stock Android fans a capable device that can do everything they need it to do. Right now, 4K and RGB might be pretty cool for VR experiences, but since VR is just beginning to grow on people, it would not be very cost-effective to enhance the screen of the HTC Nexus M1 in favor of better VR experience at the cost of autonomy and price. It’s just not worth it and it would make the new Nexus 2016 too expensive for its target audience. Sure, it would definitely trump Samsung’s Super AMOLED tech, but Google isn’t really about being the top baller in smartphones. Their business lies elsewhere, and we all know that.

With that in mind, I think it’s safe to say that if HTC does launch both Nexus 2016 smartphones, the larger one will definitely feature a 5.7-inch display (since the larger Nexus 6 wasn’t quite popular), with a QuadHD Super LCD5 panel, like on the HTC 10. I think that would be enough for the Nexus M1 to compete against flagships like the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7, upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 6, upcoming OnePlus 3 and Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus and upcoming iPhone 7. Although innovation is key when launching a smartphone, it is only profitable and worthwhile if the target audience deems that innovation worthy of an extra investment. With 4K and RGB displays, being newer technologies that customers can’t always notice, it would be counter-intuitive to introduce them to devices that are meant to be for power-users. However, the “new” or “novelty” factor in these displays could, in fact, generate more attention and more sales, but it’s a gamble, like everything else in business. That’s my two cents about 4K and RGB displays, how about yours?

HTC Nexus S1 vs LG Nexus 5X display

The LG Nexus 5X is the mid-ranger of the 2015 Nexus family, but boasts with rather good hardware and design. When it comes to its display, the handset is rather rudimentary, sporting a 5.2-inch FullHD IPS LCD panel with Gorilla Glass 3 and an oleophobic coating. Since the smaller Nexus 2016 is going to be less impressive and a bit a cheaper than the bigger one, it’s safe to assume that FullHD will still be the resolution choice for the Nexus S1.

The HTC 10 is a good place to start when trying to figure out what the HTC Nexus S1 will feature in terms of display and design as well. The flagship comes with a 5.2-inch SuperLCD5 display that has QuadHD resolution, but the Nexus S1 will most likely tone it down a bit and keep the size and technology, but bring resolution down to FullHD. What will, however, be interesting is pressure-sensitivity. Rumors call it 3D Touch and we can already see implementations for it in the Android N Developer Previews that are already available. Now this has to be considered in both the case of the HTC Nexus M1 and the S1, because if implemented (and it will most likely be), pressure-sensitive displays will be the main selling point for the new devices, improving the user experience and adding new ways of interacting with these devices.

Pressure-sensitive displays are bound to start appearing more often in the Android world, Huawei already launching a few handsets that make use of this feature. Since it’s becoming more popular and users are showing interest towards it, it’s more than likely for Google and HTC to include the feature in the Nexus 2016 launch. In my opinion, both the Nexus S1 and Nexus M1 will feature this type of display, with differences being implemented in other areas like camera, design, battery, display resolution and technology and size.

HTC Nexus M1 vs Huawei Nexus 6P hardware

When it comes to Nexus, we can always expect Google and their partners to make use of the latest available hardware in their new launches. When the Nexus 6P came out, it featured Qualcomm’s latest SoC, the Snapdragon 810, alongside 3 GB RAM, up  to 128 GB internal storage, Adreno 430 GPU, Android 6.0 Marshmallow on top of everything, a fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, front-facing stereo speakers, fast charging and a massive 3450 mAh battery in place. Now that HTC has also started employing a lot of this technology in their own line-up of devices, it’s safe to assume that most of these features will return, while others will be upgraded.

The Nexus M1 will most likely feature a Snapdragon 820 SoC, Adreno 530 GPU, 4 GB RAM, up to 128 GB internal storage, a microSD card slot possibly, although that last part is a bit unlikely for Nexus, front-facing stereo speakers of the BoomSound variety a battery that measures at least 3500 mAh, fast charging, a fingerprint sensor from HTC, USB Type-C and of course, Android N. Also With the rise in interest towards stylus-based interaction and pressure-sensitive displays, the Nexus M1 could also feature a stylus of its own and thus compete against the future Note 6 in a more aggressive manner, so to speak. One of the main treats Galaxy  Note users praise is the ability to use the S Pen for productivity, and including a stylus in the Nexus M1 from HTC would definitely be a wise decision, at least in my opinion. What’s your take on this matter?

HTC Nexus S1 vs LG Nexus 5X hardware

Although still positioned as one of the best devices to experience Android on, the Nexus 5X was inferior in hardware to the Nexus 6P. It was launched with a Snapdragon 808 CPU, 2 GB RAM, up to 32 GB internal storage, no microSD slot, an Adreno 418 GPU, USB Type-C and a 2700 mAh battery. In light of this, I suspect that the HTC Nexus S1 will reflect these specs, but upgraded to 2016.

That would translate to a Snapdragon 818 chipset that is in development at Qualcomm, 3 GB RAM, up to 64 GB internal storage, USB Type-C, a fingerprint sensor because biometric security is important even for mid-range devices, a larger 3000 mAh battery, some BoomSound speakers would also be nice and fast charging baked in. Since the HTC Nexus S1 will be the more affordable device of the two, it will probably bear more resemblance to the HTC One S9 than anything else, although I do think Google will have a stronger imprint on this phone’s design and hardware.

HTC Nexus M1 vs Huawei 6P camera

Camera technology has not been the strong-point of Nexus devices, but Google and co. have considerably improved on this front with the Nexus 6P. The handset comes with a 12.3 MP f/2.0 camera complete with laser autofocus and dual-tone flash and can record 4K video at 30fps. Now with that in mind, it’s a pretty weak setup compared to the many devices launched since the Huawei Nexus 6P was introduced to the market. This year’s HTC model will most likely be more in tune with what HTC did on the HTC 10. The front-facing camera of the Nexus 6P is quite decent, sporting an 8 MP f/2.4 wide-angle camera, but it’s not too much of performer.

Now the HTC Nexus M1 will most likely repeat what the Taiwanese company did with the HTC 10, whose camera is getting quite positive reviews, save for a few focusing issues in macro mode. The new Nexus 2016 will most likely sport a 12 MP f/1.8 or even f/1.7 lens with OIS and laser autofocus that will rival the speed of the Samsung Galaxy S7’s autofocus capabilities. Up front, the handset will feature a much improved 5 MP f/1.8 wide-angle lens with its own OIS, as per the HTC 10. That would definitely be a nice setup, especially if focusing is improved and I’m sure it will be.

HTC Nexus S1 vs LG Nexus 5X camera

The cheaper Nexus 5X came with the same setup as the larger Nexus 6P and I suspect that the Nexus 2016 launch will continue on this path. As such, I think it would be safe to expect the Nexus S1 to feature the same camera as the Nexus M1, maybe with the front camera becoming a bit more inferior than the one on the larger handset, most likely an 8 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture or something of that sort, without OIS and other gimmicks. I don’t know about you, but I like what HTC did with their camera this year and I  think Google does, too.

Fans seem to be enjoying the HTC 10 and it would be quite disappointing if the company didn’t provide the improved technology in the upcoming Nexus 2016 releases. Camera tech is very important to many smartphone owners who use their phones to create content for video platforms as well as social media. With the strong foothold social media has, the means through which we create content have to correspond with the demand and improving smartphone camera technology is one of the most important things to address from this point of view.

So what about the Nexus 6P?

There are rumors out there about a new Nexus 6P 2016, which has been benchmarked with a Snapdragon 820 CPU and 4 GB RAM on board, running Android N. It might seem like Huawei is still on board with the Nexus program and it’s planning, alongside Google, another release in the Nexus 6P range. It could be that an update to the already popular smartphone would be a sensible choice for fans who liked the original, but then why would HTC make two different Nexus devices? Is one of them going to be a tablet? Do M1 and S1 stand for a tablet and a smartphone? Right now, we can’t now for sure, but it’s possible. HTC has already dabbled in tablets with the Nexus 9, but that wasn’t very successful, which is why I’m skeptical of this HTC tablet theory. Alas, the appearance of Huawei Nexus 6P 2016 leaks is confusing, especially since I’m personally inclined to trust Evleaks when it comes to leaks pertaining to smartphones. What do you think? Will there be three new Nexus devices?

Viv

I believe tech and its place in our society is a process that will forever be in development, as long as we look to science. It's important that we keep track of what's going on and what we can access. There are new technologies being implemented everyday, and the more we know, the better.

Care to share your thoughts?