Google has finally announced its upcoming Nexus 6 smartphone and a Nexus 9 tablet, but one new device was a surprise—the Nexus Player, an Android-based streaming media and gaming device that will hook up to an HDTV as a home entertainment platform.
The three devices, including the Nexus 6 smartphone, which has been awaited since the release of its predecessor the Nexus 5 one year ago, were unveiled by Google on Oct. 15 in a post on the Google Official Blog.
Also making news is that all three devices will include Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Google’s open-source Android operating system, which runs its devices. Lollipop includes more than 5,000 new APIs for developers and will also be available on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks, according to Google.
The Nexus 6 smartphone was developed with Motorola and includes a contoured aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SOC CPU, a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and dual LED ring flash, a 2MP front camera, dual front-facing stereo speakers and a Turbo Charger that provides up to 6 hours of use after only 15 minutes of charging. The phone is available in Midnight Blue or Cloud White with 32GB or 64GB of memory and features 3,220-mAh batteries. Pricing will start at $649.
The new Nexus 9 tablet is built in partnership with HTC, according to Google, and includes brushed metal sides and an 8.9-inch IPS LCD screen with Gorilla Glass 3. The Nexus 9 also includes a 64-bit, 2.3GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 CPU, 2GB of RAM, front-facing HTC BoomSound speakers, an 8MP rear camera, a 1.6MP front camera and a 6,700-mAh battery. The tablet is available in Indigo Black, Lunar White or Sand. Also available is an optional magnetically attached keyboard and cover that allows users to type at different angles. Pricing for the Nexus 9 will start at $399, while the optional keyboard is priced at $129. An LTE 4G version will also be available.
Most intriguing of all of Google’s announcements may be the Nexus Player, which is the company’s first Android TV device. Built in collaboration with Asus, the Nexus Player is a streaming media player for movies, music and videos that’s also the first Android gaming device from Google.
Google Unveils New Nexus 6 Smartphone, Nexus 9 Tablet, Nexus Player
The Nexus Player will allow users to play Android games on an HDTV using a gamepad and then continue to play the same games on their Android phone when they are away from home, according to Google. The Nexus Player will also allow users to broadcast entertainment from a Chromebook or an Android or iOS phone or tablet to an HDTV, just like a Chromecast device, according to Google.
Preorders for Nexus 6 smartphone will be available in late October, with the phone available in stores sometime in November. The Nexus 6 will be available with monthly contracts through carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. Unlocked versions will be available through Google’s Play store.
The Nexus 9 tablet and the Nexus Player will be available for preorder starting Oct. 17, while the Nexus 9 will be in stores starting Nov. 3.
The new Android 5.0 Lollipop OS gives users new capabilities, according to Google, including content that responds to touch and voice more intuitively. Lollipop also gives users more control over their devices by allowing them to adjust their settings so that only certain people and notifications can get through—sort of a call screening system for a smartphone. In addition, Lollipop has received a consistent design across devices, which Google calls Material Design.
Also included in Lollipop is a new battery-saver feature that extends the battery life of devices by up to 90 minutes, giving you extended power when you need it, according to Google. Multiple user accounts are also now available, as well as guest user modes on devices so that users can keep their personal information and preferences private. Plus, users can now secure their Android devices with PINs, passwords, patterns or even by pairing a phone to a trusted device like a smartwatch or car using Smart Lock.
The arrival of the Nexus 6 smartphone has been the subject of rumors for some time, according to an earlier eWEEK report. When Google introduced the now-graying Nexus 5 last October, the company was calling it the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. It had a 5-inch full-HD display, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiFi connectivity, a camera lens with image-stabilization technology and a new HDR+ mode that takes photos in quick bursts. And it ran on the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. Unlocked, the phone was priced at $349.
Two big upgrades in the upcoming Nexus 6 compared with its predecessor are the all-new front-facing speakers and its larger 3,220-mAh battery for more talk and standby time.