There sure are a lot of Android phones, but no one does them quite like Google, and for its next flagship demo Nexus phones, the company has grabbed the likes of LG and Huawei to make two rather special phones.
Two phones are on the way from the likes of Google, as the company talks to LG and Huawei to make its next showboat devices to demonstrate the power of Android 6.0, also known as “Marshmallow”.
Yes, Android 6.0 is technically here, or it will be in the next few weeks as new Marshmallow devices begin to arrive, and with it comes an emphasis on talking to your phone, cleaning up the interface, and some more support for Android Pay, which should help to make it easier to walk around without your wallet.
You’ll find Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” sweetening its way to quite a few phones in the next year, but for now, the first two phones to get it are Nexus models from Google, and these come in the form of the LG-made Nexus 5X and the Huawei-made Nexus 6P, so what are these and will they tempt your hand?
First there’s the Nexus 5X, a follow-up to the Nexus 5, which was actually the second Nexus model Google let LG produce. Now at the third LG-made Nexus, the 5X appears to be about LG and Google teaming up for a mid-range model that showcases the best of what Marshmallow can do without taxing the money all that much.
As such, you’ll find specs that appear on the surface to be similar to LG’s other major phone from earlier in the year, the G4, but just reduced in some ways, with a six-core Snapdragon 808 processor paired with 2GB RAM, either 16 or 32GB storage, and a 5.2 inch Full HD 1920×1080 panel.
LG is pairing this with a 12 megapixel camera with laser autofocus on the back and support for 4K Ultra HD video capture, as well as a front-facing 5 megapixel camera, while 4G LTE, 802.11ac, GPS, and Bluetooth spec out the connection options.
No price on this one as of yet, but the inclusion of only 16 or 32GB storage tells us this will sit in the mid-range, because Google’s own flagship phones never have microSD storage, a point we’ve never been thrilled with, and we’re seeing more impressive storage sizes in Google’s other Nexus model.
That “other” Nexus model is the Nexus 6P, Huawei’s first stab at a Nexus phone, taking over from Motorola which produced the Nexus 6 last year.
The 6P is a little different again and jumps up from the 5.2 inch Full HD display to a larger 5.7 inch Quad HD screen, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, albeit without the pen digitiser Samsung equips that phone with.
Under the hood on this one, Huawei is relying on a new generation of the Snapdragon eight-core 810 processor, so here’s hoping this recent revision fixes the overheating issues seen on the HTC One M9 from earlier in the year. You’ll also find 3GB RAM accompanying this, as well as either 32, 64, or 128GB storage, and still no microSD slot (it’s a Nexus thing).
Connection options are all very similar and quite high grade, too, with 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, and Category 6 4G LTE, while the camera is a 12 megapixel module with laser autofocus and 4K capture, while also supporting slow-motion video capture at 240 frames per second. At the front, you’ll find an 8 megapixel camera, too, making it possible to get some high resolution selfies if need be.
Both phones feature some consistent technologies, however, and they’re a little unusual for Android phones.
One is that both the Nexus 5X and 6P will feature a fingerprint sensor on the back, now that Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” supports fingerprints for more than just unlocking, so expect to be able to use your fingerprint to open apps and call people soon enough.
Both will also feature nanoSIM slots, and this isn’t a surprise as this has become the standard for phones these days.
But more impressive is that both phones will switch out the standard microUSB charge and data transfer ports on the bottom for USB Type-C, making them the first phones to do so.
For those looking at this like another piece of jargon, USB Type-C is the next evolution of USB, providing a plug port that can be plugged in either way making it harder to break, and with it able to be used for charging, data transfer, and video output.
Apple first showed a laptop with this earlier in the year when it released the MacBook, and Google followed shortly with its rebuilt Chromebook Pixel, with both machines able to be charged from this tiny almost-Lightning-like USB port.
We’ve long suspected mobile phones would head this way alongside computers as the plugs could be shared between computers and phones, and given that the USB Type-C port is very, very similar to the Lightning port found on the iPhone since the iPhone 5, have also suspected Apple would make the move to Type C either in iPhone 7 or iPhone 8.
Microsoft has also been rumoured to be building USB Type C phones for some time, with the upcoming first Windows 10 flagship phones expected to sport the Type C port instead of microUSB.
Now that Google has made the first move with its Nexus models, the path is almost definite, and you can expect big name phones to sport this going forward, at least from 2016.
For now, though, Google’s Nexus 5X and 6P are the first to receive the ports, but good luck finding the Nexus models in Australia in the short term. We’re still waiting for Google to confirm when they’ll be made available, but neither LG nor Huawei’s local people have told GadgetGuy when and how much these phones will cost, so as always, we’ll let you know when we know.