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article imageGoogle's new smartphones won't be branded Nexus

By James Walker     Aug 31, 2016 in Technology
Google is building two new smartphones to showcase the Android brand. The handsets, being built by HTC as "Sailfish" and "Marlin," were previously thought to be branded Nexus. That's no longer the case, as Google will reportedly push its own name instead.
Google introduced the Nexus range in late 2009. In collaboration with HTC, it revealed the Nexus One, a phone designed to run a stock install of the latest version of Android. The idea proved to be a success and there have been new Nexus devices since at a regular cadence. Google has partnered with Samsung, Motorola, LG and Huawei to build the phones, using their expertise in hardware to accompany the minimalist feel of stock Android.
A series of online leaks have revealed the existence of two new "Nexus" phones in recent months. Built by HTC, the devices are expected to launch in September with Android 7.0 Nougat installed. According to a new report from Android Central, the phones won't be branded as Nexus though. Google will come full circle, returning to HTC to build the first device to succeed Nexus.
Several people "familiar" with Google's plans informed the site that Sailfish and Marlin are not slated to wear Nexus branding. It remains unclear how they will be named. Google may put its own brand "front and center" and leave out HTC's logo altogether. This fits with earlier reports that Google wants to develop its own hardware division and eventually build phones in-house.
It also slots well into Android Police's render image of Sailfish and Marlin released in July. It currently looks likely that the two phones will come with just a tiny "G" logo at the bottom of their casing, devoid of any HTC marks. There's no clear confirmations on what Google's intentions are, however. It may launch the new "Nexus" phones under a different brand name, introducing a new label to market its hardware.
Leaked image of Google s  Nexus Launcher  Android interface
Leaked image of Google's "Nexus Launcher" Android interface
Android Police
The end of Nexus marks a significant shift in Google's smartphone strategy. Previously, it has used Nexus as Android's flagship brand. The phones run Android "as Google makes it," a feature that appeals to Android purists and fans of the operating system's minimalist stock design. Reports have already revealed that Sailfish and Marlin will be different though. Google is widely expected to introduce a series of Android features specific to the two handsets, giving them not just unique branding but also a new software experience.
Earlier this month, details of "Nexus Launcher" leaked, a redesigned Android launcher built especially for the new phones. Its interface is built from a different palette to the rest of Android, incorporating frosted glass and pull-tabs. It is accompanied by reworked navigation keys for back, home and recent apps that are more colourful than the current white icons.
The new experience isn't present in the version of Android 7.0 Nougat shipped to existing Nexus devices at its release last week. It looks as though Google is keen to radically differentiate the new phones from previous models in as many ways as possible, abandoning its old brand and adding in exclusive features.
The move is likely to be the first major move toward Google building its own smartphone from scratch. Earlier this year, it was revealed the company is actively working to create its own hardware. It wants to switch its Android business model to be more like Apple's, giving it tighter control of the ecosystem through releasing its own Google-branded hardware.
More about Google, Nexus, Android, android nougat, Smartphones
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