Google’s newest smartphones won’t be Nexus devices after all. According to Android Central, Google is dropping the Nexus branding with its two upcoming, HTC-made smartphones. Instead, the company is expected to market the devices under a different name and to lean heavily on the Google brand in the process.
This news jibes with recent rumors surrounding the upcoming devices, codenamed "Marlin" and "Sailfish." Android Police reported earlier this month that Google may strip the Nexus name from the phones and replace it with a "G" logo. It’s unclear what direction the company will take, as it has spent years fashioning the Nexus brand as a hardware entity while Google has reserved its own name for software services. We do know the two devices will come in 5-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, representing a small downsize from the current 5X and 6P.
This shift is more than just symbolic. The report states Google will load the devices with a special version of Android Nougat, as opposed to the standard "vanilla" version of the operating system that’s shipped on past and current Nexus devices. We don't know for sure what these changes or additions will be. But Google CEO Sundar Pichai said as much back in June, when he mentioned the company would be more "opinionated" about Nexus design. "You’ll see us hopefully add more features on top of Android on Nexus phones," he said at the Recode Code Conference. "There’s a lot of software innovation to be had."