Google really likes fish.
I mean, it really, really likes them.
The Mountain View company has a longstanding history, going back to the Galaxy Nexus, of naming devices in the Nexus line after sea dwelling creatures. Why? Who knows, but it has given tech writers a good inkling into what the company is working on if a fishy codename gets leaked.
Unsurprisingly, codenames are often unconfirmed and thus there can be conflicting reports as to what a device’s codename really is. For the sake of this list, we sided with whichever name had an affinity for water, given Google’s normal pattern.
And so, without further ado, here is the history of Nexus codenames.
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Device: Nexus One
For its first endeavor into the world of Nexus smartphones, Google had not yet leaned into its obsessions with aquatic creatures. Instead, the Nexus One received the vague moniker "Passion" which is not the name of a sea dweller. Though, on close inspection, one will find that "Passion Fish" is the name of various restaurants around the U.S. and a 1992 movie starry Alfre Woodard and Mary McDonnell so perhaps Google was giving us a hint of the future. But, probably not.
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Device: Nexus S
For its second official Nexus, Google chose an even more vague and confusing codename, this time with no apparent connection (no matter how thin you stretch it) to fish. Seriously, what is a Crespo?
3 of 15
Device: Galaxy Nexus
Codename: Maguro, Toro, Toroplus
In 2011, Google released its third Nexus device and the second consecutive with Samsung. The Galaxy Nexus was hotly anticipated and gushed over upon its arrival, ushering in the era in which the best Android phone on the market is often the one direct from Google. More importantly, though, the third Nexus finally gave us a fishy codename. The Galaxy Nexus had several reported codenames, all of which were Japanese terms for tuna, particularly bluefin tuna which is commonly used in sushi.
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Device: Nexus 7 (2012)
Codename: Grouper, Tilapia
The Nexus 7's codename has been debated; when it was first reported that Google had a tablet in the works, some referred to it as Nakasi, others Grouper and even others Tilapia. For the sake of this list, we've chosen Grouper and Tilapia as the codename(s) because they have the sea legs. This is also the moment in which we realize the silliness of using fish as codenames for tech devices. Apologies to all fish lovers out there, but they can be terrifying. The Nexus 7 was a nicely designed and built tablet that, thankfully, looked nothing like a grouper.
Image via Wikipedia
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Device: Nexus Q
In a role reversal to the Nexus 7/Grouper situation presented on the last entry, the Nexus Q did not do justice to its codename. Named after a strain of rainbow trout, the failed streaming device was an absolute dud for Mountain View, and most certainly did not live up to the potential its Steelhead codenamed bestowed on it. It's best to just forget the Nexus Q ever existed, Google certainly would like to, but it's hard not to imagine what a device that lived up to the secret name could have been.
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Device: Nexus 10
One of the more fitting names on the list, the Nexus 10 garnered generally favorable reviews and was considered by many to be a gracefully large device, not unlike a Manta Ray. The Nexus 10 also ushered in a period in which Google's codenames were increasingly cool and appropriate, a fact that sadly would not last forever.
Image via Wikipedia
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Device: Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 was a distinct device, characterized by the dotted glass pattern on the rear of the device, giving it a chatoyancy. The 4 was a success for Google, being praised by many for its affordable price that didn't cut down too many specs. Shipping with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 4 was a screamer for its time, living up to its Mako moniker.
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Device: Nexus 7 (2013)
Google stepped out of its routine somewhat with the Nexus 7 refresh in 2013. Though still technically named after a fish, in this case the tablet was literally named after a fish. Specifically, Flo from Finding Nemo, who is Deb's imaginary sister. Both Deb and Flo are, of course, blue and white striped damselfish.
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Device: Nexus 5
Perhaps the most beloved Nexus phone, the LG-made Nexus 5 had a great codename to go along with its great price and solid performance. Though they look a little silly, there is no denying that hammerhead sharks are awesome, as was the Nexus phone that shared the name. So much so, in fact, that LG and Google teamed up in 2015 to make a spiritual sequel, the Nexus 5X.
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Device: Nexus 6
A perfect codename for an imperfect device. In 2014, speculation was rampant that Google would join the host of OEMs that had pushed Android screen sizes to mammoth proportions. With a codename like Shamu, Google was not hiding the fact the Nexus 6 was a whale of a phone. It was. The 6-inch screen was deemed by many to be too big, and the phone as a whole was considered a disappointment. It lost sight of the Nexus line's usual eye on affordability for massive size and top-of-the-line specs. I blame it on the fact that Google stepped out of its normal pattern, naming the Nexus 6 after a mammal, rather than a fish.