Google's Nexus 5 smartphone was launched almost a year ago on Oct. 31, 2013, and still no successor has been announced. That, of course, means that the rumors about its heir apparent, the so-called Nexus 6, are churning up lots of theories and possibilities in recent days.
Smartphones often have a refresh cycle that's measured in months or seasons rather than in years, so it's very possible the next Nexus phone will be coming down the pike soon. Or not, of course, if Google chooses to go in a different direction or bring out an entirely new model in place of the Nexus 5.
When Google introduced the now-graying Nexus 5 last October, the company was calling it the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. It had a 5-inch full-HD display, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiFi connectivity, a camera lens with image-stabilization technology and a new HDR+ mode that takes photos in quick bursts. And it ran on the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. Unlocked, the phone was priced at $349.
In the cycle of smartphone evolution, that means that its successor will have to have more features and improvements.
One recent report says that an upcoming Nexus 6 will be a phablet, following in the footsteps of other device makers who are building larger devices with bigger, better displays and the need for two-handed operation. Code-named "Shamu," for the film-famous killer whale of the same name, the phone will include a 5.9-inch display that would make it larger than an iPhone 6 Plus, according to a Sept. 30 story by Forbes.
What's fascinating about the Nexus 6's move up to reported phablet size is that the smaller, existing 5-inch model won't be available in the line's next iteration, according to the story. With a rumored 5.9-inch display, the new device will have a screen that's almost as big as one on a 7-inch tablet. Now that is getting big.
Also expected, according to the rumors, is that the display will have 2,560-by-1,440 (2K) native resolution and that the phone will move to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset. A camera upgrade is also expected, with a move to a 13MP camera, up from the current 8MP camera in the Nexus 5, the story said. The existing Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) will remain and a new dual flash ring will be added for improved flash photos.
Two big upgrades over the Nexus 5 are that the next device is expected to have front-facing speakers for the first time, which will be a big improvement, and a larger 3,200 mAh battery to provide longer use compared to the previous 2,300 mAh battery that was in the Nexus 5, according to the report.