Every year for the past 6 years, Google has released a new version of Android, and at least one Nexus smartphone to go along with it. Several months ago the search engine giant unveiled its newest mobile operating system – Android 7.0 Nougat – and while the company has been rather quiet in regards to this year's hardware, it appears that Google may be on track to release at least one Nexus smartphone by the end of the year. This mysterious device is currently identified by the codename "Marlin", and it seems that earlier today, it showed up in the first live image to leak on the web.
Rumors surrounding the so-called Nexus Marlin have been floating around for at least a couple of months, but up until now, no live images with the device have been leaked. However, according to the source, the image below depicts an HTC-built Google Nexus Marlin prototype, which has been covered by a protective case to conceal its real design and more prominent characteristics from prying eyes. Otherwise, the smartphone runs Android Nougat with the July Android security patch, and the source adds that the prototype flaunts a full metal case and is equipped with 128 GB of internal memory. It also describes it as an HTC 10 lookalike with a fingerprint sensor on the back panel and confirms that there is no camera bump.
Previous rumors have suggested that the HTC Nexus Marlin will be a top-of-the-line smartphone, equipped with a 5.5-inch QHD display, a chipset made by Qualcomm – possibly the Snapdragon 821 SoC -, 4 GB of RAM, and a 3,450 mAh battery. In the imaging department, the handset is rumored to accommodate a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, along with an 8-megapixel front-facing sensor. But it's worth noting that the Nexus Marlin is not the only Google smartphone rumored to hit the shelves by the end of 2016. There may also be a second HTC-made Nexus smartphone codenamed "Sailfish", which is said to accommodate a smaller 5.0-inch display. However, rumors also suggest that besides the smaller display, both the Nexus Marlin and Nexus Sailfish will share roughly the same internal hardware. At the moment there's no telling when exactly the 2016 Nexus smartphone lineup will be released, but judging by Google's previous launch schedule, the duo could make an official appearance as early as September or as late as November 2016.