Google isn’t much for events when it comes to the Nexus line. Despite the soft launches, the October Nexus announcement hasn’t lacked for gravitas. This year isn’t any different. In fact, it might be the biggest Nexus event yet. Literally, with the products announced. This year, Android-L officially became 5.0 Lollipop, the first Nexus phablet: the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9 tablet, and the Nexus Player TV streaming device.
Android 5.0 Lollipop
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released in 2011 with 3 versions of Jelly Bean, and a Kit Kat following that line. However, there will be no Android 4.5 as the Android 4 line has come to an end. Android-L is officially Android 5.0 aka Lollipop. The OS is based around the new flatter material design language. If you’ve used an Android Wear watch, you’ve already had a taste of this. Like Yosemite and iOS 8, Lollipop is also designed to bring your devices together. You Android Wear Watch, your smartphone, your tablet, and your Android TV device are designed to work together cohesively. There’s also some big changes to the lock screen and notifications.
If you have a Nexus 5, 7, 10, a Google Play Edition Device, or the Moto X, G, or E, or the later members of the Moto/Verizon Droid series, you are getting Lollipop soon. The update will also show up on all the hardware products that were announced today.
The 6th version of the Nexus smartphone comes from former Google subsidiary Motorola. The Nexus 6 is build around a nearly 6″ qHD 2560×1440 display. While the screen is larger, specs are very close to its closest rival the recently announced Note 4. The visual design language is very Motorola. It looks a lot like a bigger version of the Moto X Gen 2. It’s got a 2.7GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 805 processor with Qualcomm Quad-core Adreno graphics, 13mp rear camera with OIS and a f/2.0 lens, 2mp front camera, and your choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage. However, there doesn’t look to be a mSD slot to expand that. The battery is 3220 mAH which they claim is good for a full day on a full charge. There is also a quick charge mode that will give you 6hrs of use in just 15min. The Nexus 6 also comes with twin front facing speakers. While previous Nexus devices tended to be close to a year behind, the Nexus 6 is absolutely top of the line. In fact, you could make a valid argument that this could be the best device on the market.
Previous Nexus devices tended to be SIM unlocked and limited to the GSM carriers. This is no longer the case. The Nexus 6 will be available on the top 5 US carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. It will also be sold on Google Play and through Best Buy. Pricing will start at $649 and pre-orders will start later this month. It comes in blue and white.
The Nexus 6 wasn’t the only full Android device announced. If 7″ is too small, yet 10″ is too large, Google and HTC are offering the Nexus 9. Like its M-series phones, the Nexus 9 has a very premium design and in 3 colors: black, white, and the hot color of the moment: gold. It comes with a 8.9″ IPS display and oddly, they’re not giving the resolution. The rear camera is 8mp and includes a flash. The front is pretty standard 1.6mp. You can have 16 or 32GB of storage and the battery is 6700mAh. What really sets the Nexus 9 apart is the 64-bit 2.3GHz Nvidia “Denver” K1 CPU with 192 micro-core Kepler DX1 graphics. This is the first non-Apple device with a 64-bit ARMv8 CPU. Furthermore, Lollipop is built to take advantage of it.
The Nexus 9 will be available for pre-order this Friday, October 17th with shipments coming November 3rd. I’ll update when pricing is available.
If you were thinking about the Fire TV you might want to wait. The Nexus Player, the first Android TV device, has been announced and it looks to pack many of the same features. Keeping as many of the manufacturers in the loop as possible, the Player is made by Asus. The Nexus Player has a similar remote with voice control. Game controller support is also included with the ability to play Android games on the big screen of your TV. To make that easier, a new Nexus game controller was also announced. The Nexus player will also sync with your Android devices. Start a movie on your tablet, and it’ll be ready on your Player right where you left off. The Nexus Player also has access to all of your Google Play content. You’ll also have access your third party services. If you have an app on Google Play, you won’t have to re-buy it for your TV. Also included is a feature called Googlecast which looks to be the streaming options of Chromecast by a different name. The Nexus Player also has the goods. It’s powered by a 1.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Atom CPU and includes 802.11AC with MIMO for the fastest wireless speeds.
The Nexus Player will be available for pre-order Friday October 17th, no pricing was announced.
Google looks to have hit it out of the park this year with 3 awesome devices from 3 different suppliers. The Nexus 6 is for the crowd who wants a Moto X phablet. The Nexus 9 looks to be a well made and high end tablet that ushers in the 64-bit era for Android. Then there’s the Nexus player, which looks to take all that is good about the Amazon Fire TV and bring it to mainline Android. And speaking of Android, 5.0 Lollipop is coming soon. Combine that with recent announcements like the Note 4 and the second generation of the Moto X / Moto G and this should be a very exciting fall for Android users.
However, we want to know what you think about the new Nexus devices and Android 5.0 Lollipop. Leave us a note in the comments below or on our social media pages.