The Nexus 6 smartphone from Google is now available to Verizon Wireless customers, with preorders beginning March 12 and general availability of the phones starting on March 19.
The arrival of the Nexus 6, which became available for preorder to customers of AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile back in November 2014, brings this mid-priced, feature-filled smartphone to an even larger potential audience.
"Thank you for your patience," Verizon told its customers in a March 11 blog post announcing the device. No explanation was provided for why it took the nation's largest carrier some four months extra to release the phone to its customers.
Verizon is offering the Nexus 6 for $249.99 with a new two-year contract or for $27.08 per month for 24 months using the company's Verizon Edge monthly payment plan. The smartphone, which is available in Midnight Blue, can also be purchased for $649.99 without a contract. Nexus 6 customers who buy the device before March 31 will also get a free six-month subscription to Google Play Music All Access, which will allow customers to store the songs they own or stream songs they don't own from a collection of 30 million songs. The service is $9.99 a month after the free trial.
The Nexus 6 is full-featured, with a 6-inch active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) quad HD display, a 2.7GHz quad-core processor, 32GB of built-in storage, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, a 2MP front-facing camera, dual front-facing speakers and a 3,200mAh battery for long battery life. The phone runs on the Android 5.1 Lollipop mobile operating system and includes 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity. The Nexus 6 can be charged using the Qi wireless-charging system, or with an included plug-in Turbo Charger provides up to 6 hours of use after only 15 minutes of charging.
The smartphone's display is covered with super-tough Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
The Nexus 6 also includes Advanced Calling 1.0 capabilities, which allows users to share HD voice calling with other users who have compatible Verizon smartphones. The feature allows Verizon customers to make or receive a call while using data, which has not been available before on Verizon's network.
The Nexus 6, which was developed by Motorola, was first unveiled by Google in October 2014, and was offered for preorders by Verizon's three main competitors last November. Sprint was the first of the Big Four to actually offer the phone to its customers, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
The arrival of the Nexus 6 came a year after Google introduced its Nexus 5 in October 2013.
The Nexus 6 has plenty of competition today, coming from Apple's incredibly popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, which launched last September, to Samsung's new and redesigned Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, which are due to hit store shelves on April 10.
Other competitors are also not standing still in the marketplace.
At Mobile World Congress (MWC) earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled its latest Lumia 640 and 640 XL smartphones, offering 5-inch or 5.7-inch HD displays, respectively, and pricing that starts at $154 for a basic Lumia 640 model with 3G connectivity and rises to about $242 for a 640 XL with LTE capabilities. Both new smartphones will be upgradeable to Windows 10 after its release later in 2015, and both will be available in single-SIM or dual-SIM versions, as well as versions incorporating 3G or LTE connectivity.
The latest Lumia handsets come in two sizes and models, just like Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models and Samsung's newest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge devices. It appears to be an ongoing market trend to sell standard and phablet-sized versions of key handsets to offer more consumer choice while reusing many key components in both models.
The Lumia 640 and 640 XL both share some key basic features, including 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processors, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of on-board storage, which is expandable to 128GB with a micro SD card, and 30GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage. Both devices also run on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, including the Lumia Denim update, which offers useful features, such as Live Folders, a one-swipe Action Center and fast texting with Word Flow.
BlackBerry also launched a new smartphone at MWC, this time one that is aimed specifically at younger mobile professionals. The new BlackBerry Leap replaces the traditional BlackBerry physical keypad with a 5-inch HD touch-screen display. It also features the latest BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 operating system, a Qualcomm MSM 8960 1.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board flash storage (expandable up to 128GB via a micro SD card), and a 2,800mAh battery for long life. The Leap is built to run on 4G LTE networks. The Leap will retail for $275 unlocked when it becomes available in April through ShopBlackBerry.com.