The HTC-made, Google sold “Nexus” smartphones won’t be called Nexus anymore, according to sources. Instead, Marlin and Sailfish, as they were believed to be codenamed, will be called the Pixel and the Pixel XL. This would seem to corroborate earlier insider tips that the Nexus line is practically being put to pasture. The indications of that may be strong but it doesn’t sufficiently answer the questions on why Google would suddenly change direction and what the move means for its OEM partners.
Of course, Google has every right to call its products by whatever name it chooses, but when you are changing, or even dropping, a brand that has been established for years and come with certain expectations, you better have a good reason to stir the nest, so to speak. And with this now expected shift from “Nexus” to “Pixel”, the biggest questions will be “why” and “now what”.
Perhaps the Pixel is the new rumored line of devices that Google is making without or with less input from hardware partners, just like the Chromebook Pixels and the Android Pixel C. That theory, however, is disproved by strong evidence that HTC will be making these two new smartphones. Then again, we aren’t exactly certain how much of them is Google and how much is HTC.
But perhaps more importantly, the situation also raises the question of the future of the Nexus line itself. There has been no new Nexus device since the Nexus 6P and 5X, even worse for tablets and Android TV devices. If Google is indeed retiring the brand, there might be implications beyond a simple name change. The Nexus has always been associated with top of the line hardware and a more or less “pure” Android experience, created in cooperation with hardware manufacturers. In contrast, Google is rumored to have in mind a different line of devices where it has an almost dictatorial control. That could very well be what the Pixel is envisioned to become.
There are still quite a few holes in this picture to make a final judgment. Even if the Pixel and Pixel XL were indeed named as such, they might still not be representative of Google’s future vision. As the two new smartphones aren’t expected until around October, there’s more than enough time to investigate and mull over this new direction.
There are still quite a few holes in this picture to make a final judgment. Even if the Pixel and Pixel XL were indeed named as such, they might still not be representative of Google’s future vision. But in a month’s time, we might finally have our answers.
According to some other reliable source, Google has reserved the October 4th as the day when it will finally unveil its two new smartphones, be Pixel or Nexus. It won’t be alone, however. The company is also said to be announcing the previously rumored Chromecast with 4K capabilities, a Google Home product, as well as the first ever Daydream VR viewer. The latter will be especially interesting as it will reveal Google’s more formal entry into VR beyond its Cardboard.