Google rumoured to be abandoning ‘Nexus’ smartphone branding

Last year’s Google Nexus 6P may have been the last handset to feature the branding.

Ars Technica reports that rumours suggest an October 4th event will bring with it the unveiling of two smartphones carrying the ‘Pixel’ branding, previously brandished by some Chromebook laptops.

Specifically, it is said they will be called the ‘Pixel’ and ‘Pixel XL’. Google recently discontinued its Pixel 2 Chromebook.

Note that while Google has designed all three of the previously released Pixel devices, its two new smartphones – which sport the codenames Sailfish and Marlin – are built by HTC. It also appears from if they are Pixel devices, they have abandoned some of the design elements traditionally associated with the brand, such as the aluminium finish and rear lightbar, neither of which have been seen in previous leaks of the designs.

Also, while the Nexus range has specialised in offering pretty high-end specs at non high-end prices, Pixel items have more commonly carried a premium price. Broadly, the perception is that Google is looking for a way to unify its various hardware brands under one label, which could possibly be Pixel.

To date there have been eight Nexus smartphones, made by a range of manufacturers including HTC, Samsung, LG and Huawei.

In other Google smartphone news, Reuters reports that Google has abandoned development of its Project Ara modular smartphone. The idea was to offer a device with interchangeable components, where individual aspects could be upgraded.

Earlier this year a number of Project Ara partners were announced, along with plans to have a developer edition ready for the autumn. However, wider plans to streamline Google’s hardware efforts have reportedly led to the change of heart.

The report adds that Project Ara could potentially live on if licensed out to a third party. Modular design is seen as a possible way to reduce tech waste, but the resultant bulk and cost associated with the design may leave it untenable.

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