Android this week: Nexus 6 possibly tipped; Galaxy Alpha launched; Moto 360 event

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As we get closer to the launch of Android L, the next major version of mobile software from Google, it’s reasonable to wonder about the next Nexus phone. Likely called the Nexus 6, it’s looking more like Motorola will build the handset as benchmarks for a phone called “Shamu” appeared online this week.

Google has internally used names of fish for the Nexus line, so Shamu sounds feasible. The Nexus 5, for example, was called Hammerhead while the Nexus 4 was dubbed Mako and the prior model was called Maguro, a type of tuna.

Nexus 5 speaker and sensor

What can you expect from the Nexus 6? According to the reported benchmarks, look for a 5.2-inch, 2560 x 1440 display, 2.65 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip with Adreno 420 GPU, 3 GB of memory, 12 megapixel rear camera, and a 2 megapixel front camera.

I‘m not quite sold on the idea of a Snapdragon 805 in the Nexus 6 at time of launch, however. Nexus phones are meant to showcase Android and the new software will be 64-bit compatible. The Snapdragon 805, however isn’t. I suspect the phone is in the works with currently available hardware but will gain a newer, 64-bit chip — the Snapdragon 808 or 810 — once it becomes available later this year.

You don’t have to wait for a metal-edged handset from Samsung, however. The company launched the Galaxy Alpha this week which should dismiss complaints about Samsung’s typical choice of plastics for its phones. This handset should also appeal to those who find some of the flagship phones too big: The Galaxy Alpha uses a 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED display.

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Typically, smaller phones these days don’t have flagship specs or performance but I think the Galaxy Alpha could surprise. It has a new Exynos chip inside that’s the first built on a 20nm process. As a result, it consumes 25 percent less power but still packs a punch with eight cores: Four A15  cores up to 1.8 GHz and four A7 cores with clock speeds up to 1.3 GHz.

And as summer winds down, I recall that Motorola promised the Moto 360 smartwatch before the season ends. The company should meet that promise thanks to a scheduled press event on September 4 that we’ll be attending. The invitation hints at more than just the Moto 360, however; it appears the company will also introduce some type of headphones and successors to the Moto X and Moto G smartphones.

That long-rumored Moto X+1 is a safe bet then, and I doubt Motorola is simply launching a bland set of headphones. Instead, I’d expect earbuds that can monitor your heart rate or movement; perhaps even a device that pairs with the Moto 360.

This post was updated at 8:13am to correct the code names of prior Nexus phones.

 

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