Could a cheap Nexus Fi Android Phone be Google’s next big unveil? [OPINION]



With the announcement of Project Fi and rumors surrounding a Huawei Nexus, I thought I’d have some fun with speculation, for the sake of hypebeasting something, since we haven’t hypebeasted in a while, so let’s let the hypebeasting begin. Hypebeast.

Are you ready? The above image is taken from a Project Fi video guide. This is clearly a phone or a render that we haven’t seen before. Google generally doesn’t use renders from unknown devices in their product videos. Project Fi only works with the Nexus 6, so why not use a Nexus 6 render, the phone that people have to use with the service right now? If you’re not going to use the Nexus 6, then you better show the guide videos on another supported phone, right? That makes sense to me.

Could this phone just be a generic render? Sure. Absolutely. That takes the fun out of hypbeasting though. And we came here to hypebeast, dammit.

What if the Android phone pictured above is the upcoming, rumored Huawei Nexus? It looks like a cross between the Nexus 6, mainly because of the top speaker grill, and a Nexus 5. Could it be a cheaper Nexus, built for Project Fi? A Nexus Fi, if you will, a play on Nexus Five and Project Fi?

Now, hear me out. Project Fi, as a marriage of cellular data and WiFi is cool, but that’s still a tough sell, because you have to buy a $700 smartphone to use the service. Sure, you can finance the Nexus 6 through Fi, but you still end up having to pay for the cost of an expensive phone over the next two years.

What if the rumored Huawei Nexus is a cheaper Nexus, built with Project Fi in mind. Right now, I can go out and buy a Motorola Moto E, Motorola Moto G or upcoming Huawei SnapTo on the cheap and jump on my MVNO of choice, except for Fi of course. While Fi isn’t your typical MVNO, having your MVNO locked down to one expensive phone doesn’t sound very appealing either.

Having a cheaper Nexus phone that worked on Project Fi sounds more Googly to me. Google is about service availability. Having a cheaper Nexus that’s available to budget conscious people, you know, those looking to save money on their wireless bill, sounds a whole lot better to me than the current setup at launch. I think having a Nexus Fi phone could seal the deal on this entire endeavor.

So, what do you think of my speculation? Plausible? Or I am reading too much into the generic render above, for the sake of hypebeasting? Who knows? Either way, I enjoyed confirming the launch of Half-Life 3. Cheers!

Derek Ross
I'm a passionate Android enthusiast that's on the pulse of the latest Android news, writing about Android as often as possible. I'm also a little addicted to social networking. Hit me up, I'd love to chat.

Google Glass partner Luxottica says version 2 coming soon, version 3 already in planning stages

Previous article

Android Wallpaper: Avengers Assemble!

Next article

You may also like


  1. We need a Nexus 5 2015, but if this is side a project cool.

    1. What if this IS the Nexus 5 2015? *cough* Nexus Fi :)

      1. That’s what kind of worries me Derek I was hoping the next Nexus would be akin to the Nexus 6 in specs but in the 5’s maybe a slight bump in size. The 5 is a great phone but it doesn’t support quick charge, have AMOLED screen for active display and it’s battery it’s bad but could be better.

  2. +Derek Ross Dang dude! You scooped my opinion from my comment on yesterdays post! In fairness though, you’re picking Huawei, I’m going with LG.

    1. Haha ;) I loved the Nexus Fi comment. It’s excellent. And you’re right, I’m still gunning for Huawei :) Thank you for the discussion yesterday!

      1. do you think a repurposed nexus 5, which already has the Sprint and T-Mobile radios, would be a viable option for a heavily subsidized device?

    2. I think LG has made the best Nexii as well. Moto did a good job but the 4 & 5 are just so nice to hold.

  3. It certainly would make sense. Falls in line with Android One, Project Loon, and Google’s mission to get the web to as many people as possible.

    From what I can gather, the phone would just need something that can read the special Project Fi SIM card(along with the capabilities to connect to all those bands). Google could subsidize the crap out of it and still make bank

    1. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Google needs to do this, in some way shape or form. I get the initial limited run to work out the kinks, but eventually, even if they are targeting a very small footprint, they need to expand upon the Nexus 6 and what better way to do it than a cheaper phone that encourages more people to purchase it due to the wallet friendly nature. And besides, Fi can’t be much of a proof of concept if there’s barely anyone using it. Google might not want to make a dent in the wireless industry with their service, but they sure as hell don’t want it to completely flop with little use either.

      1. The only kink i see in this idea is about Google wanting it to be limited. As you said, a proof of concept. Plus the reports saying that the Sprint CEO was skeptical about partnering with Google and the only way they would agree was if Google kept it limited.

        They could prioritize T-Mobile if that was the case though, but it kind of defeats the novelty of the hybrid network and all.

        Either way, I am very curious to see if any of the 2015 Nexus devices will be compatible with Project Fi

        1. I believe the reported said that Sprint would be able to renegotiate terms if Project Fi grew beyond a certain point.

          1. And then Google is all like:

            “Release the Kraken!”

            And with ‘Kraken’ I mean the Loon balloons that allow them to create their own network with coverage EVERYWHERE instead of being limited to existing nextworks

            and then they be like:


            And customers be like:

            “yeah…eehhhh creepy….but good for my wallet I guess”

            And lastly Apple all be like:

            “We invented the iBalloon, it’s a balloon on a 3500m string, you carry with you to have coverage wherever you go as long as it is within AT&T’s coverage area….MAGICAL I know!”

          2. You sir win the Internet

          3. Thanks, glad I could make someone chuckle with that bit of text (pun intended) :)

          4. That would be amazing!

  4. I can’t see this not happening to be honest

  5. Nice looking device.

  6. I believe this is just a generic mockup. Google has done this before and even in this video also used a tablet that looks like a cross between a Nexus 9 and 10.

    1. There’s a tablet in the video?

      1. When they explain how you can send texts from other devices such as your computer and tablet they use a mockup tablet. Let me see if I can get a screenshot.

        Edit: Here is a link to the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfP4Xhu0r4g

        And here is a screenshot http://i.imgur.com/PQ4eXby.png

        1. Nexus 9/10 (2015) confirmed :P

          1. Nexus 9.5 is ago! :p

          2. Nexus 9 point Fi :P

          3. Love it! Let’s make this thing real :)

    2. Maybe it’s a new tablet, the Nexus 8. And then the new Nexus Fi(ve). 8-5=3. Halflife 3 confirmed.

  7. I’ll go with Google releases a free Fi device to get people on board.

    1. a free project Ara phone ? :D

      1. I wish. That’s what I really want.

  8. If Google gave us an semi-affordable Nexus Fi(ve), I’d be all over it.

    Also, the shape of that (generic) render looks an awful lot like an LG G3/G4. We can dream, can’t we?

    1. Yeah but non front stereo speakers compared to the N6 is a big step back, IMO.

      1. I personally only care about my next tablet having dual front facing speakers, among other things.

    2. stop being cheap

      1. Stop being stupid.

  9. Give us a highly spec’ed Nexus 5 with at least 3gb of ram, 64gb of space, w/ a good camera and decent battery life @ $500 and i’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  10. Two Words: Project Ara. Carriers probably didn’t want to carry it because it could easily switch between carriers, so Google said screw it we’ll be our own Carrier.

    1. But, Google still have to rely on Carriers for wireless infrastructure. Google don’t have it.

    2. Finally! Someone who considered Project Ara. #AboutFreakingTime

      I applaud you. And I totally agree with your statement. Project Ara was probably seen as a threat to the regular carriers so Google said (to use your words) “Screw it!” and chose to be an MVNO “carrier” so that Project Ara could happen.

      I’m still joining the early adopter program. When Project Ara is released, I’ll buy a Project Ara device.

  11. Wow… you went deep on this.

  12. Whatever that phone they showed in the ad is super sexy. Don’t really who makes that phone.

  13. I need the “what if” machine for this.

  14. I’d rather say that it looks more like a mockup based on LG G4. They look terribly similar between them,

  15. In current form/offering, Project Fi is DOA. For Project Fi to succeeed, cost of overall ownership(device + monthly bill + flexibility) has to be lower, differentiation factor. Other than that there is nothing much in it. It is not satellite based service which you can use anywhere in world including amazon or African jungle or remote part of Australia. It is same white Duck colored in different color.
    Bottom line. With cheaper used and newer smartphones availability, so people can buy those and Google support those phones long as work on T-mobile/Sprint network or best offer cheaper less than $100(subsidized) phone. But, the question is can Google able to do ? As part of subsidized phone, put Google services and advertisement that pops up when you are on Wifi using free Data. Remember, this Google service at it’s core is not for people who can easily afford but for those(like cable cord cutters) who need to lower monthly wireless bill. Google can also bundle with other service at places where it provides fiber broadband service.

    1. Off topic, but one thing I’ve never understood is why a company doesn’t go after the merging of regular land based cell phone with satellite options for texting. Then if you really in a pinch – say on a hike with your kid who just broke their leg – when you don’t have cell coverage, you can at least text out. Yes I know of small scale stand alone solutions (satellite radio transceivers), but that is not the same as using the ubiquitous cell phone. “Closing the link” for a cell call is big bucks both in the call and the added cost to the phone, but texting should be a different story.

  16. Could this phone just be a generic render? Sure. Absolutely. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a damn thing to write about….

  17. I think that it’s only a short term problem that you can only use the Nexus 6. Theoretically, any device with 5.1 should be able to use the service eventually. So I think it won’t be too long until you start seeing other devices get support. I think part of the reasoning of limiting it to the Nexus 6 initially is to control demand so they can test it with a smaller batch of users before a large rollout. And Google knows that Nexus 6 owners are more likely to be tolerant of bugs and hiccups early on.

    1. Hope you are right. Google don’t have to control device support. Initially Google can limit number of people it offers.

  18. If they are going to do it, I hope they do it before I buy the G4 when its available. I would love a nexus phone but not the 6 and not the current 5.

  19. This all depends on making this available to more android phones, and getting this service started soon. It can’t be like some other projects that take too much time to get to the masses. Glass, and ara, are still pretty much pipe dreams, that are taking a long time to market, and thus lose interest in the public eye(sometimes, having too many irons in the fire, can be a problem).

  20. I think it is safe to assume that the next Nexus will be compatible with Google Fi. I also think it will be a cheaper phone than the Nexus 6. I doubt it will be called the “Nexus Fi” because I don’t think Google wants it to only be compatible with their service and I don’t think they want to risk giving it that appearance by naming it after their service. As for whether the phone pictured is a generic render or not, I hope it’s not, it looks like a very efficient use of chassis size to hold a decent size screen. I just hope it’s waterproof.

  21. Agreed, Google wouldn’t set up Fi if they didn’t plan to have it built into all future Nexi. As for that Nexus, it looks like the Nexus 6 isn’t a success. Too bad, because I love the Nexus 6. Replaced my Ipad and hopefully their are 2 Nexi in 2015. The LG 5.5 inch model and then a cheap Huawei Phablet based on the Mediapad X2 which has a 7 inch screen.

  22. no Chinese phone please google noooo

  23. I really don’t understand the excitement people have with the ‘marriage of wifi and cellular’ with googles fi when T-Mobile has had that tech since 2007. T-Mobiles blackberries ironically implemented wifi calling the best IMO. There were actual chips in the radio to accomplish wifi calling and it isn’t all in the software like it is now… Back then it was way more reliable.

  24. crap coverage.

  25. Looking at the time shown on the phone, should be available on May 10th. :)

    1. I think the 5:10 is to signify Android 5.1

    2. That’s the current android version. Always been like that

  26. If Google pull this off right than more power to Google. For differentiation, Google needs to offer total cost of ownership(subsidized device + lower monthly bill + flexibility of plan).

  27. There’s always been this association of Nexus phones and cheap devices however the two LG Nexus phones were the only ones who were significantly cheaper than the equivalent flagships of their time.

    There was the gsm Galaxy Nexus however that phone was only available at googles subsidized price a year after it debuted on Verizon.

    1. What are you talking about the GSM G-Nexus was released like a month or two before verizon decided to release their CDMA G-Nexus. I believe the GSM model was priced a bit lower than the CDMA but not by much.

  28. This would be silly as very few people would have access to Project Fi, ie. There is a world outside of the US

  29. Cheap is bad mmkay

    1. Yeah, that cheap Nexus 5 was the pits.

      1. The Nexus 5 is a great phone, won’t fit my music on it, has no microSD card slot, no 64GB version, isn’t on Verizon… yah, it was too cheap.

        1. 1> If you’re putting music on it, you’re doing it wrong.
          2> Few phones have SD slots. That doesn’t equate to cheap. The most expensive iPhone out there doesn’t have an SD slot.
          3> 64GB would have been nice.
          4> You aren’t talking about cheap, you’re talking about stuff you want that’s not on the device. Most of these things still aren’t on the Nexus 6. Or is that cheap too?

          1. The iPod: revolutionized portable music. iTunes: revolutionized digital music. The iPhone: revolutionized portable digital music and phones. Android: an iPhone with a microSD card slot so you could fit more music on it. Google: took away the microSD card so you can’t fit all your music on it. Apple: increased the iPhone’s storage space to 128GB, more than most Android phones even allow. Google: wants to kill microSD cards yet keep internal storage low so you’ll pay more for streaming music.

            You’re not doing it wrong if you’re putting music on your phone, Google is doing it wrong.

  30. Did y’all not watch the Project Fi video they clearly stated that they where working with manufactures to bring the technology to future devices. And they also stated that they are working with others to have access to wifi hotspots. The $10 a gig is not really a deal but they couldn’t just undercut T-mobile and piggy back on there network. Being that im not under contract im def going to try this out.

    1. The nice thing about their pricing is that if you pay for it and don’t use it they give you a credit back on your bill. Nobody else does that.

  31. I’ve got to say, that doesn’t look like Huawei’s design language at all, I’ll looks more like LG’s.

    1. The render is merely a sliver of the actual speculation.

  32. What if they built google nexus tablets, glass and other smart devices into project fi Now that would cool. If I can get my phone and add my tablets, etc without having to worry about extra fees and only get charged what I use then, that would be great.

  33. I wont touch a Nexus again unless its made by HTC. So glad i got rid of the mess that the Nexus 6 was. Only thing i really miss is the 5.9 inch screen. Now rocking an M9 and so much happier with the experience.

    1. Interesting, I won’t touch anything made by HTC or LG anymore, since they forget about it right after launch and move onto their next forgettable product. I was really happy that the Nexus 6 was made by Motorola because they seem to be narrowing their focus and not littering the market with 20 phones every year (although they still do to a degree with their Droid line and others I am likely unaware of).

      At any rate, this was all good until Lenovo bought them. I was sooo hopeful after Google but them. Now I am not sure about the future of Android, because nobody in the Android market has the focus of Apple, on one product to make it better and better, to iterate and refine.

      Maybe it will happen.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Featured