15 things to know about Nexus 6P, 5X from people who built them

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 01, 2015 15:55 IST
An attendee stands by a display of new Google devices during a Google media event on September 29, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (AFP)

Google unveiled two new smartphones - Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X - on Tuesday aimed at the high end of the market dominated by Apple and Samsung.

Both phones feature Google’s new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which is located on the back of the phone and are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.

It is expected to hit Indian markets mid-October.

On Wednesday, a team of four from Google who built Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P conducted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) where they answered questions on various specs and technologies used in the newly released Google phones.

Here are 15 interesting questions and their answers from the Reddit AMA.

An attendee looks at a display of new Google devices during a Google media event on September 29, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (AFP)

Q: What does the ‘X’ and the ‘P’ stand for?

A: X for the core of the Nexus brand (plus it sounds cool!), P for premium.

Q: Why use different manufacturers for ‘5x’ and the ‘6p’?

A: Always nice to mix things up! Work with different partners, exchange ideas, learn from each other. That sort of thing. That’s what’s cool about Android -- so much choice.

Q: What kind of security goes into keeping our finger prints safe when using imprint? Are the prints encrypted and stored on the device?

A: Fingerprint features are securely encrypted on the device, and processed in the secure Trustzone protected area of memory. The Android 6.0 fingerprint APIs do not provide any access to the fingerprint material to apps. Fingerprint features never leave the device and are not shared with Google (so for example if you setup a new phone, you need to re-enroll your fingers). If your phone is ever lost or stolen you can easily find, lock, and erase your phone using Android Device Manager.

Google Nexus 6P. (Google handout/Reuters)

Q: Is the rear facing camera on the 6P and 5X identical?

A: Yes. Both devices have the same camera - a 12.3MP camera, with a large 1.55um pixels, which works great in all conditions - especially low light. And both have LDAF for fast auto-focus.

Q: Any word on what panel is used for the screen in the Nexus 6P?

A: It has a Samsung WQHD AMOLED panel. We have spent a lot of time tuning the white-point and color gamut for these panels - hope you will enjoy the accuracy of the display.

Nexus 6P has the latest generation panels from Samsung. One of things we deeply care for is the quality and accuracy of the display through which all of us connect with the stuff we care about. We created a very tight spec (white-point temperature, delta-E variance, color-space accuracy, etc) for the 6P WQHD AMOLED panel, so it was important that we use the most cutting edge panel technology available.

Q: Does the Nexus 5X have USB 3.1?

A: Nope! Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P supports USB 2.0.

Q: Is the internal storage on the 6P UFS 2.0?

A: Both 6P and 5X use eMMC 5.0.

The new Nexus 5X phone. (AFP)

Q: Is the rear camera module found in Nexus 5X and 6P exactly the same? Will users get the exact same image quality when shooting from both phones?

A: Yes, same sensor (IMX377) and F/2.0 optics. But 6P has more CPU/GPU horsepower so has a few additional features like 240fps slomo (vs 120fps on 5X), Smartburst, and EIS.

Q: What made the team decide to partner with Huawei and LG this year for the Nexus devices?

A: We wanted to bring the LG-Google band back together. So many N5 fans, we couldn’t possibly disappoint!. Always nice to work with new players -- we have a history of working with a bunch of folks: HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Asus and now Huawei!

The Google logo is displayed on the new Nexus 5X phone. (AFP)

Q: What is your favourite new feature about the phone that once I start using I won’t understand how I lived my life without it before?

A: There are 4 new features.

1. Nexus Imprint. It is fast (it really is!) and highly accurate. You won’t even see the lockscreen anymore. And the location of the sensor is such that you will get right in your homescreen by the time phone is in front of you. Check out some hands-on videos around this.

2. The camera on these devices is great - the picture quality is awesome - especially for low light pictures. Sloooo-mo on these devices is a lot of fun.

3. USB Type-C!

4. I think the “premiumness” of both phones is a good feature. Particularly the all-metal aluminium and the diamond cut edges of the 6P.

Q: Can you tell us what led to the decision to include the Android Sensor Hub and detail the benefits it’ll give the phones?

A: Android Sensor Hub allows us to do sensor processing in a much more power efficient, always on mode. For example, we use it for sensor fusion (Kalman Filtering to combine accel, gyro, mag). Also activity recognition (walking, running, biking, driving). The pickup gesture is also detected by the Android Sensor Hub to trigger Ambient Display. And we’re using it to detect orientation change and trigger rotation of the display. Android Sensor Hub runs on a Cortex M3 which enables us to run at micro-amps current drain.

An attendee inspects the new Nexus 5X phone during a Google media event on September 29, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (AFP)

Q: Given the fingerprint scanner is on the back of the device is there a workaround to unlock it while it is sitting on a desk without having to pickup the phone?

A: You can nudge the phone to turn on Ambient Display and then enter pin/pattern. Or you can use SmartLock, e.g. for phone to stay unlocked when paired with an Android Wear watch.

Q: Why OIS was no used. Or is there some substitute in the 5X/6P for it?

A: We’ve done a bunch of things to provide image stabilization: 1. The Nexus 6P/5X has a large 1.55um pixel camera and the amount of motion blur due to hand-shake is lower , when you have large pixels. 2. We have a feature we call “lucky shot” internally. When you take a picture, behind the scenes, we select the best of 3 bursts of images. 3. When you use video, we have optic-flow-based image stabilization. 4. When you use SmartBurst, we select the best image from the burst (for example a shot with eyes open).

Q: Will these phones support full hardware based encryption? If yes, will these be ported to the Nexus 6?

A: Encryption is software accelerated. Specifically the ARMv8 as part of 64-bit support has a number of instructions that provides better performance than the AES hardware options on the SoC.

Q: Does the new Chromecast have improved wifi connectivity? I love the one I have now but I am constantly having connection issues with it.

A: Yup - that’s probably its best new feature (has 3 antennas).

The new Google Chromecast is displayed during a Google media event on September 29, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (AFP)

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