We’re already mid-September and we’ve seen the Galaxy Note 4, Note Edge, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Galaxy Alpha, Sony Xperia Z3 HTC Desire 820, Lumia 730 and many more, but it seems that’s not all mobile technology has in store for us this month. The BlackBerry Passport and Nexus 6 have been all the hype recently, pegged for a Q4 announcement.
The smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated recently, with many OEMs focusing on different types of markets and target consumers. Companies like BlackBerry, Samsung, Google, Sony, Motorola and LG are continuously releasing flagships with high price tags between $400 and $800, as well as mid-range phones in the $150 and $350 range. Google is planning on launching the Android One smartphone line as well, with phones aimed at emerging markets with under $150 price tags.
Nonetheless, two of the upcoming release have been in the “overhyped” category, not because they might end up being disappointing devices, but because people can’t stop talking about them, creating wish-lists for them and speculating about them. The two phones we’re talking about are the BlackBerry Passport and the Nexus 6. First off, there are uncertainties about whether the Nexus 6 will actually be called “6”, many saying that the name would force Google into a copyright discussion with Philip K. Dick over the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep novel containing the name. That’s why many speculate that the Nexus 6, code-named Shamu, might be the Nexus X after all.
For the sake of continuity, I will be calling the new device from Google the Nexus 6, since that was the first rumored name to appear on the internet and because it would be the 6th Nexus smartphone released. The Nexus 6 is rumored to be announced by Google sometime in October, but we’ve no confirmation from the company yet. Its predecessor, the Nexus 5, which was made by LG was released in October 2013, so the October announcement would be a good timing. The Nexus One was released in January 2010 and it was made by HTC, the Nexus S came out in December 2011, made by Samsung, as well as the Galaxy Nexus which came in October 2011, after which the Nexus 4 was launched in October 2012 and was made by LG. If Google is into continuity, an October release date would be perfect.
The Nexus 5 was among the most anticipated devices of 2013, and one of the most popular smartphones upon its release. The Nexus 5 had pretty good specs and display to compete with, but the Nexus 6 is even more promising and even more anticipated. Since Google thought up the Nexus line as a smartphone line with high-end hardware for affordable price tags, the Nexus 6 is expected to rival flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s and even the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4. There hasn’t been many confirmed specs and features of the Nexus 6. some saying it will come in a 5.2 inch display, others vouching for a 5.7 inch display and another group of people saying that the Nexus 6 will end up being a phablet with a whopping 5.9 inch display.
The BlackBerry Passport, on the other hand, is a much more mediated device with many specs already confirmed by the company at various shows and exhibitions. The Passport will be officially launched at an international BlackBerry event to be held on September 24 in Toronto, Dubai and London. The event will probably introduce the new BlackBerry Classic or Q20 as well, which will cater to BlackBerry fans. The Passport is aimed at corporate and business users who don’t use their phones just for gaming, calls and productivity, rather they use it for work and play at the same time. BlackBerry has confirmed that it has become more oriented towards enterprises and corporations, as well as businesses, to provide services and hardware and software solutions.
BlackBerry made the Passport a 2-in-1 device, equipping it with the signature QWERTY hardware keyboard and a 4.5 inch touchscreen display. The launch event for the device is entitled See the Bigger Picture, as the invitations have revealed, and that tagline hints at the fact that the Passport will not only be a smartphone, but a device that will cater to most office and leisure needs of customers. The Passport will sport an IPS multitouch touchscreen with a 1440*1440 resolution and 453 ppi pixel density. The display will be protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and will incorporate the special features BlackBerry has implemented in order to facilitate the practical and handy use of the hardware QWERTY keyboard.
The Passport will be powered by a Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.26 GHz CPU coupled with an Adreno 330 GPU. The device will be fitted with a 13 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera, capable of geotagging, HDR and autofocus and equipped with optical image stabilization (OIS). A non-removable 3450 mAH battery will support the Passport’s performance and promises at least two days of power usage. 32 GB internal storage expandable to 128 GB via microSD card and 3GB RAM will also be packed into the Passport and will run on BlackBerry OS 10.3.
One of the most interesting features of the gadget will be that the keyboard doubles as a trackpad, so you can use it almost like a touchscreen to navigate through the menus of the phone. The Passport also come with the Amazon app store pre-installed, which means tons of apps to choose from, in an attempt to respond to BlackBerry users’ demand for more choices. The device has a stainless steel build and overall a premium look to it, which will probably appeal to many business users the phone is actually targeted at. The design also allows for a steady grip and features keyboard shortcuts which you can use even when browsing. A digital assistant similar to Google Now and Siri will also be featured on the Passport, as a new addition.
While the BlackBerry Passport seems like a sturdy phone, fit for business and pleasure, with all the features a power user would need, we know far less about the Nexus 6. Even though the Nexus 6 has received as much hype as the Passport, if not more, there are surprisingly little accurate specs out there. There have been many rumors leaked by various outlets, including Antutu Benchmark, where the Nexus Shamu received a pretty average 32000 score, but still, we’re not even certain of the maker of the flagship. Still, people are raving on about what they would like to see on the new Nexus.
The most popular rumor about the maker of the Nexus 6 says Motorola, but many have said that HTC might return to making the 6th smartphone in the Nexus line, although that’s a bit unlikely since HTC is rumored to be making the Nexus 9 tablet. In any case, I prefer to believe the rumors that say Motorola is making the Nexus 6, because they’ve done a pretty decent job on the new Moto G and Moto X devices introduced at IFA at the beginning of this month.
As I’ve said before, the Nexus 6 will either sport a 5.2, 5.7 or 5.9 inch display, about which many are saying that it will be a QHD display similar to that on the LG G3. A 2392*1440 resolution has been speculated, probably with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection. Most rumors say that the device will be powered by a Snapdragon 805 quad-core CPU clocked at 2.7 GHz, backed by 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, plus an Adreno 420 GPU. The Nexus 6 will be equipped with a 2.1 MP front shooter and a 13 MP rear camera, with HDR, OIS, autofocus, geotagging, dual recording, photo sphere and touch focus. A minus in my opinions is that there has been no word of a microSD card. That would be a shame if the Nexus 6 will only be available in a 32 GB variant. Naturally, the Nexus 6 will run on Android 5.0 L (Lemon Meringue Pie, Lollipop, Lion) and will supposedly be announced and/or launched on October 31, 2014.
On the other hand, there have been some rumors that Motorola might be planning TWO Nexus 6 devices, a bigger one and a smaller one, following in the footsteps of Apple when they designed the iPhone 6 and its bigger brother, the iPhone 6 Plus. A 5.2 inch and a 5.9 inch Nexus 6 might actually be in the works, although there has been a debate going on whether both will be Nexus devices or one of them will end up being the Moto S. Take this whole paragraph with a handful of salt, actually, because these are the most recent rumors, remaining unconfirmed.
The price tag for the BlackBerry Passport will be somewhere around $700, whilst the Nexus 6 is rumored to be $500 on contract, although that’s not a confirmed price. Some have said that Best Buy had listed the Nexus 6 with a $500 price tag on a two-year contract, which would be a bit too expensive, in my opinion. I think that listing might have been bogus. Other sources say that the Nexus 6 will be $550 off-contract, which would be a more suitable price tag on a phone that aims to be a tad more affordable than other flagships out there.
So far, the Nexus 6 beats the BlackBerry Passport when it comes to display, CPU, GPU and price, but falls short when it comes to a microSD card slot, battery information and keyboard. The Nexus 6 and the Passport pretty much even out when it comes to camera and its features and their OS isn’t quite comparable. Comparing these two unreleased smartphones is nothing but difficult, because both are still in somewhat a rumored phase. Nonetheless, a few suggestions can be made based on what we know so far.
If you are looking for a phone that can separate your work from your life, offers easy typing, spreadsheet editing, office tools and an overall powerful performance, the BlackBerry Passport should be your choice. BlackBerry has recently acquired Movirtu, a company which pioneers in virtual SIM cards, which allow you to allocate two different numbers and data plans to your SIM card, one being administered by the company you work for and the other one administered by you. The two will never interact. In my opinion, the BlackBerry Passport will cater perfectly for those who work in office, business and enterprise environments and need quick and easy access to office tools.
The Nexus 6, on the other hand, will be a flagship made for those who want to be in line with technology and will come as a rival to the Galaxy Note 4 and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in terms of specs and features as well. If you like what Motorola has made so far, if you’re keen on stock Android, Google, Google Now, QHD display and (probably) flawless performance, you should go for the Nexus 6. It will probably end up being a smartphone perfect for gaming, productivity, health monitoring, pairing with the Moto 360, Gear S, LG G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch and probably most of the stuff you can think about doing with your Nexus 6. Also, another reason why one would choose the Nexus 6 over the BlackBerry Passport is the app store. Many of us Android users have become quite fond of the Google Play Store.
You have seen the specs, you have read the rumors and you must have created an image about the Nexus 6 and the BlackBerry Passport in your head. I’m sure that by the time you reached this paragraph, you’ve probably figured out that the hype around these phones is not unjustified and that you should probably keep an eye out for both the Passport and the Nexus 6, because they look like very promising smartphones at the moment. I will surely monitor everything I can to find stuff out about the Nexus 6 and will keep you posted if anything new pops up. Like a selfie-camera or something like that.