6 things to expect from the Nexus 6, Google’s next Android flagship

14 Oct 2014

The Google Nexus 5, predecessor to the much-anticipated Nexus 6 (via Bloomua/Shutterstock)

Google’s rumoured Nexus 6 smartphone could be revealed as early as tomorrow, 15 October – but what are the expected features of this phone that have Android fans so excited?

Google has been remarkably tight-lipped about the Nexus 6 and even with the week edging rapidly closer to the 15 and 16 October – the most common dates rumoured for an announcement – anticipation has reached fever pitch.

The rumour mill was set ablaze today with three Android advertisements leaked on YouTube – which may well be an intentional tactic by Google so that all eyes are on Android ahead of an Apple announcement this Thursday (16 October).

Though we could be waiting as late as 23 October (or later!), the signs point to an imminent reveal from Google, and here’s what we’re expecting.

1. Shamu-sized display bringing the Nexus 6 into phablet territory

Speculation around the Nexus 6 has focused largely on its screen size. Early rumours leaned towards a 5.5-inch model but the latest commenters are now convinced we’ll have a 5.9-inch monster on our hands.

Motorola, who have taken the Nexus manufacturing reins from LG, have reportedly codenamed the device ‘Shamu’, which is as good an indication of its size as any.

There’s also the leaked Android advertisement that shows a small fellah and a gigantic phone with illustrated Android L interface – is this a 6-inch hint staring us right in the face?

Though it sounds too big to handle, a 5.9-inch display will certainly place Google apart from its competitors and could do a lot to attract customers in emerging markets such as China, where users are turning away from tablets and laptops in favour of phablet-sized phones.

2. Sweet Android L operating system

Google’s latest Android L mobile operating system is also expected to drop on 15 or 16 October, so whatever Google is planning, the company may well have more to talk about than a single device.

We were first offered a peek of an early-stage Android L – which could be Lollipop or Liquorice flavoured, we’ll have to wait and see – at Google I/O this past summer. Google’s most ambitious mobile OS release yet, Android L will come with over 5,000 new APIs and a new flat design language called material design, which brings a tactile quality through dynamic shadows.

3. More power from an Android smartphone

The curious thing about Android L is that one of its flagship features is Android Runtime (ART), which will make performance up to two times faster, improve app loading times and support 64-bit processing architecture.

However, the most-rumoured chipset for the Nexus 6 includes a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805, but this does not include a 64-bit processor. That seems like both a waste and an oversight on Google’s part – which is leading others to believe the Android-makers might have a surprise in store, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 or 810. Both these chipsets come with 64-bit processors and ARM Cortex A5x CPU cores, but they aren’t expected to appear in devices until next year.

ART also supports larger RAM memory and the Nexus 6 is expected to comply with a generous 3GB RAM.

The Nexus’ battery power is also expected to see a boost up to 3,200mAh, plus Project Volta power-optimisation technology. Of course, with a larger device footprint overall, there’s plenty of room to pack in more power.

4. A 6th-generation smartphone with a price-tag that’s easier on the pocket

One thing most fans will be hoping for with the Nexus 6 will be a price that’s more palatable than that of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, which starts at €799 and reaches a cool €999. Last year’s Nexus 5 was released with a €350 price-tag and consumers will be hoping for the same budget-conscious pricing this time around.

iPhone 6 image via Hadrian/Shutterstock

iPhone 6 with Touch ID (via Hadrian/Shutterstock)

5. Copycat features putting the Nexus 6 in line with competitors

Among the other features rumoured for the Nexus 6 are 32GB internal storage, an NFC chip, 2MP front-facing camera and 13MP rear camera with OIS. All of these components will put Google’s Android flagship on a comparative level with the latest models from its competitors, Sony, Samsung, LG and HTC.

We may also see wireless charging and a fingerprint scanner, which might just edge the Nexus 6 ahead of the pack in terms of features.

6. A big brother: the Nexus 9 tablet

As noted earlier, tech-watchers are expecting a lot more than just a smartphone announcement from Google and we may even get more than one device. HTC has confirmed it will be manufacturing the next tablet from Google, and the Nexus 9 is expected to come fully loaded with an 8.9-inch quad-HD display and powerful Tegra K1 processor. And all of that with a rumoured US$399 (€315) price-tag.

Main Nexus 5 image by Bloomua via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic