A new rumor suggests that Sprint will be the first U.S. carrier to launch the upcoming HTC Nexus with the codename 'Marlin' which is thought to be the bigger of the two rumored devices this year. There have already been a number of rumors regarding the upcoming Nexus devices for 2016, most recently being a supposed live photo which leaked back on July 22nd showcasing a device running on Android 7.0 Nougat, as well as a mocked up render from just a little bit earlier of the phone's design which is believed to be 90 percent accurate according to the original source. With more rumors leaking on the device every week, and the fifth and final build of the Android N Developer Preview having been launched, a launch of the new Nexus devices could be just around the corner.
While it is entirely possible that Sprint could end up launching the HTC Nexus Marlin phone before other carriers, it's important to note that this is a possibility which can only end up true if Sprint carries the phone in the first place. Last year, no carriers picked up either of the two Nexus devices which were launched, which left consumers only a handful of options for buying, including straight from the Google Store as well as other online sites like Amazon.
Considering last year's complete absence of the Nexus line at any carrier in 2015, it wouldn't be too far off to think that Google could end up doing the same thing again this year. Of course, Nexus devices have been launched at carriers in the past prior to the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, so it really could go either way. According to the same rumor, the model number for the Sprint variant of this device has also been listed, which will be M1#UHL. This is in addition to an international model of the device with model number M1#WHL which is rumored to be made available before the Sprint version of the device. If Sprint along with other carriers do end up selling either new Nexus phone, it would be highly unlikely that Google would not sell the phone themselves in the Google Store as well, essentially giving buyers the option to pick it up where they please. On a final note, is extremely important to remember that this is purely a rumor at this point, and that Google could end up selling the phone directly just as they did last year and leave carriers out of the mix, although it will likely be unlocked and usable on major networks.