Upstart Chinese smartphone maker Huawei is hoping that Google’s seal of approval will help it gain some traction in the U.S., where it currently doesn’t have much brand awareness or market share.
Huawei is expected to get the nod from Google at the latter's fall 2015 event on Tuesday, when the search giant will reportedly launch the Nexus 6P in collaboration with its Chinese partner. This will be one of two reference devices for Google’s Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) operating system, which is also set to get a release date on Tuesday. The other is the Nexus 5X
Here is a round-up of all the rumors, reports and leaks which have emerged ahead of the launch of the smartphone:
The original Motorola-built Nexus 6, launched last year, was a pretty big device and this year’s Nexus 6P is set to be much the same. According to a set of leaked presentation slides, the Nexus 6P will be the same width (78 mm) and slightly shorter (159 mm) than the original, but it will be significantly slimmer at 7.3 mm compared to the 10.1 mm of the original.
The biggest change however is the all-metal chassis, which will be a first for a Nexus smartphone and marks a new move by Google to really challenge the iPhone 6S and Samsung’s Galaxy S6. The Nexus 6P will come in four color options -- white, silver, black and gold -- though the leaked retail presentation material suggests the gold version will only be available in Japan initially.
The phone will also be lighter than the original, weighing 178 grams compared to the 184 of the original. Given the new metal chassis, that's all the more impressive.
The Nexus 6 featured a huge 6-inch screen which was rather unwieldy and difficult to use one-handed. The Nexus 6P features a slightly smaller 5.7-inch screen which will use AMOLED technology. It's what Samsung also uses on its high-end Galaxy smartphones.
Screen resolution is one of the few details which the slides don’t confirm, but it is widely expected to retain the 2540 x 1440 pixel resolution of the original. The new model, however, will be protected by Gorilla Glass 4 for extra durability.
Just like pretty much all Nexus smartphones to date, the Nexus 6 under-whelmed in terms of camera performance, and this is one area Google will need to get right if the Nexus 6P is to challenge the likes of the iPhone 6S and Galaxy S6.
According to the leaked presentation, the Huawei Nexus 6P camera will be housed in a slight bump at the top of the rear cover and will feature a 12.3 megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture. While the megapixel count might seem low, the individual pixels will be larger than normal to help improve on low-light performance. The front-facing camera will have an 8 megapixel sensor.
Processor, Fingerprint Sensor, USB-C And Battery
The Nexus 6P will be powered by the same Snapdragon 810 chip from Qualcomm that proved problematic in the Xperia Z3+ from Sony earlier this year. However, the version inside Huawei’s latest smartphone is version 2.1, which hopefully will have addressed those issues. The Qualcomm chipset will be paired with 3GB of RAM and will comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB versions.
With Android 6.0 now supporting fingerprint sensors natively, it is no surprise that the Nexus 6P will feature one on the rear.
The smartphone will also include a huge 3450mAh battery, which is a slight improvement over the 3220mAh battery in the original. However the Nexus 6P will also come with a quick charge technology allowing you recharge faster.
Finally on the hardware side, the Nexus 6P will join Apple’s MacBook and the OnePlus 2 smartphone as being among the first devices to feature the charging and data transfer standard called USB-C. While USB-C means a reversible port and faster data transfers, it also means getting hold of a spare cable will be more problematic.
Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Google unveiled Android M at it’s I/O conference in late May and has since confirmed that the sweet codename for Android 6.0 will indeed be Marshmallow. In August Google released the final Android 6.0 SDK to developers and a third (and final) Marshmallow software preview that can be loaded on Nexus devices.
As well as natively supporting fingerprint scanners for better security, Android 6.0 brings a range of additional features including more granular controls over app permissions and support for Android Pay.
There is also a feature called Doze, which will help boost battery life by putting your smartphone into sleep mode when the screen is off. The overall look for the new OS is very similar to Android 5.0 (Lollipop), which was a pretty radical overhaul of the look of the world’s most popular operating system.
Price and Release Date
The final piece of the puzzle in relation to the Nexus 6P is its price. Last year the Nexus 6 went on sale for $649 direct from Google before dropping dramatically in recent months. Rumors suggest the Nexus 6P will come at a similar price, and looking at the more premium specs of Huawei’s first Nexus smartphone it’s not a surprise. If you want the models with more storage you will be looking at paying a premium of at least $50 (64GB) and $100 (128GB).
Google will unveil the Nexus 6P on Tuesday and is expected to put the device up for preorder in the U.S. from October 13, with the rest of the world to follow.