The Google Nexus Line Is Alive And Well And (Maybe) About To Birth A Phablet

Not only is Google not ending its Nexus line of “pure” Android devices, as Google exec David Burke told us last month, it may well be expanding it. Two reports indicate that the tech giant and ex-subsidiary Motorola have been cooking up an all-new Nexus phablet.

See also: No, Google Isn’t Going To Kill Its Nexus Devices

Over the weekend, Android Police reported that, after trawling through the code base at the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), it found references to a mysterious 5.9-inch Nexus gadget codenamed “Shamu.” The Information (subscription required) checked with its sources, who confirmed it. 

In fact, “people familiar with the matter” said it was great timing: The companies may have started their work when Motorola was still under Google’s wing, but now that it belongs to Lenovo, the two companies won’t have to suffer accusations of preferential treatment. They can work on this massive device in peace. 

We’re Going To Need Bigger Pockets

The codename would be fitting for a giant Nexus phablet, so called because it’s basically a smartphone the size of a compact tablet. If it exists, Shamu’s 5.9 inches would top the Galaxy Note 3—arguably the leading phablet on the market—and its 5.7-inch screen. 

Ars Technica notes that this whale of a device also follows the Nexus nomenclature of naming gadgets after fish. (Technically, it’s a mammal, but whatever. Let’s just call them aquatic creatures.) “Hammerhead” stood in for the Nexus 5; the Nexus 7 was called ”Razor”; and “Flounder” references suggest a possible upcoming Nexus tablet from HTC.

Shamu, described as a Motorola phone with a fingerprint scanner, could launch as soon as November. (Most likely  alongside Android L, the next version of Google mobile software, which is expected to debut in the fall.) 

Google and the now Lenovo-owned Motorola can join hands without accusations of favoritism.

Where that leaves the Android Silver program is unclear. Silver, Google’s attempt to get manufacturers to make more “vanilla” (uncustomized) Android devices—was (again according to The Information) supposed to replace the Nexus line. The program was supposed to be headed up by Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora. But, The Information notes, Arora announced his departure from the company earlier this month.

Lead image of the Nexus 5 by Dan Rowinski for ReadWrite

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