Google launches two Nexus smartphones, adds Huawei to OEMs

Google has moved to replicate Apple’s smartphone launch strategy by unveiling two new Nexus devices, manufactured by Huawei and LG, respectively.

The Nexus 6P is a 5.7-inch phone with an aluminium case and is the first Nexus device to be manufactured by Huawei. The 5.2-inch Nexus 5X is a refresh of the Nexus 5, both of which are made by LG. As ever they’re competitively priced, with the 6P starting at £449 and the 5X looking like a bargain at £339. They can be bought direct from Google, which will also sell them via its Project Fi MVNO in the States.

Both smartphones sport Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs; an octa-core 810 in the 6P and a hexa-core 808 in the 5X, with both supporting LTE cat 6. They also both have 12.3MP cameras, USB Type-C ports (which are reversible – yay) and a new fingerprint sensor called Nexus Imprint, which has been included with Android Pay in mind. Of course they both run the latest flavour of Android – Marshmallow.

On a busy launch day Google also launched the 10-inch Pixel C tablet, which is apparently the first such device to be manufactured entirely by Google and runs Android, rather than the Chrome OS that has featured in other Google tablets. This may signify a move away from this dual OS strategy, perhaps inspired by the revelation that the Android installed base is now in excess of 1.4 billion devices. There were also a couple of new Chromecast dongles, including one designed specifically for streaming audio straight into speakers.

Historically the Nexus programme has primarily been a showcase and public beta for new versions of Android, as well as a handy boost to the fortunes of the OEM in question. With these latest smartphones Google seems to be stepping up the direct competition with Apple – matching its double launch strategy as well as specs such as the fingerprint reader. It will be interesting to see how aggressively Google chases sales of the latest devices, and thus risk undermining the inevitable subsequent branded equivalents from Huawei and LG.


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