The Nexus brand is (probably) dead, long live Google Pixel phones, and most likely, tablets too, despite C’s very experimental nature and mainstream commercial misfortune.

But the HTC-manufactured Pixel and Pixel XL, codenamed Sailfish and Marlin on the inside, are expected to start off at a major disadvantage compared to their Nexus predecessors. Not only will they be released a little late to strike box-office gold during the always prosperous holiday season, also foregoing the typical buzz and media attention of debuting alongside new Android flavors.

Nougat is already out and about on the Nexus 6P, 5X, 6 and 9, though a few important upgrades and add-ons may have been saved for build number 7.1, aka the first Nougat Maintenance Release.

And now, we’re hearing from a very reliable, HTC-knowledgeable source that the pocket-sized (more or less) Pixel duo of October will indeed run Android 7.1 out the box. Specifically, build NDE63B or higher, with Google Assistant and the Nexus Launcher presumably headlining the changelog.

Enough to help Big G share the fall high-end smartphone spotlight with the likes of Apple, Samsung or LG? Not quite, although the Pixel and Pixel XL should have way more going for them than just silky smooth new software.

Source: Twitter

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