Could Google be set to release multiple Nexus phones this year?

Rumors of a 5.9" phablet beg the question

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Rumors are flying about the next Google Nexus phone, the Nexus 6. Prior to this week, it’s been assumed that the Nexus 6 would be a modified version of the 5.7" LG G3. Recently however, a 5.9” phablet built by Motorola has started to appear under the codename ‘shamu’.

While the thought of a Motorola built Nexus device is exciting, a nearly 6” beast is a little less appealing. With the Moto X, Motorola showed that it can build a very good piece of hardware under Google and it seemed obvious that this division of Google would be responsible for building reference hardware going forward. Sadly, Google sold off Motorola to Lenovo earlier this year in a $2.91B deal which is expected to close in 2015. Could the Nexus 6 be a final parting gift from Motorola before it’s gone?

The rumor began when a reference to a device with the codename ‘shamu’ appeared in a Google Issue Tracker report. Google has a long history of naming their internal hardware with fish related aliases (toro, hammerhead, razor, tilapia, etc.) so the codename definitely jives with that theme. The timing is also pretty perfect since a new Nexus device is usually announced every year in the fall. The question is, would Google really make a 6” device their reference hardware for Android L?

At 5.9”, the device would be bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and be the same size as the rumored specs for the Note 4. The Note line of phones is a niche market which is what makes this Nexus rumor suspect in my opinion. Google’s efforts to make headway into the device market would be severely diminished by releasing a device of this size. If it were the only device in the lineup of course. It’s possible that Google is getting ready to release multiple phones simultaneously for the first time. Surely there are people who want a giant high-res 6” screen, but there are likely more people who do not. By releasing two devices, Google could boost rather than diminish it’s presence in the mobile hardware game.

Of course this is purely speculation….based on rumor. The trend is toward bigger screens (iPhone 6) but passing the 5.7" mark is dangerous territory. Losing one hand operation or including a stylus would be an odd move for Google without a more reasonable counterpart

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