Nexus is one of those topics which elicits debate at the best of times and each year around this time, that debate is normally at a peak level. This year seems to be no different with the exception that the debate around Nexus started exceptionally early this year with reports coming through very early in 2016 noting that (a) there would be two Nexus smartphones and (b) HTC would be the manufacturer behind both of the smartphones.
Since then more details have steadily come through looking to confirm various aspects of the two devices. During this prolonged period, the two smartphones became known by their reported codenames, Marlin and Sailfish. Earlier this week though, a report came though suggesting that neither device will be branded as Nexus this year. Although, there was little indication as to what the two devices would be branded as. However a report out of Android Police today looks to remedy this with the report (citing two sources for the information) stating that the two Nexus smartphones of 2016 will be the 'Pixel' and the 'Pixel XL'. As to be expected with Marlin being the higher-spec and larger of the two handsets, Marlin is said to be the Pixel XL and Sailfish is the Pixel.
Although details behind why Google might be changing the branding from Nexus to Pixel remains limited at best, the report does go on to state that one of the sources suggests that the phones will be promoted as "the first phone's built by Google". Therefore, and if the information is correct, it could be the case that the 2016 Nexus smartphones will be more commonly known as the 'Google Pixel' and the 'Google Pixel XL'. While this information is still currently just a rumor and yet to be confirmed in any meaningful capacity, the Pixel naming does somewhat seem to fit Google's unifying pattern of late, with the likes of Google's latest tablet adopting the Pixel moniker, as well as some of the more high-spec Chromebooks. Either way, this information taken with the previous rumors that have been floating around recently do all seem to point to the likelihood that this year's Nexus devices, will in fact, not be Nexus devices – at least not in name.