Android 5.0 Lollipop
Google puts the importance of Android 5.0 best when it calls the new version its “largest and most ambitious release” yet. Previewed during Google I/O earlier in 2014, we’ve already got a good idea of the main features hidden inside Android 5.0. Expect more control over the way you interact with your phone, from notifications to privacy settings, plus closer integration with other Google products. A battery saver mode is one of the most welcome new features, and much like Samsung and LG’s similar systems, it should stretch out those last few percentage points by up to 90 minutes.
While the features have been discussed, it’s the new Material Design visual upgrade we’re most looking forward to seeing. In addition to a cleaner, more minimal look, Material Design is supposed to make your phone, tablet, or any Android device more intuitive and logical to use.
Google will introduce Android 5.0 on the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, but we can expect it to arrive on the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 in the near future. Google Play Editions will surely follow, along with most other modern Android devices, once manufacturers get on the case.
Google has worked with Motorola to develop the latest Nexus smartphone. It’s called the Nexus 6, and is based on the recently released, 2014 version of the Moto X. It has the same curvy aluminum chassis and body shell, and even the Motorola logo inside a cute little dimple. The screen measures 5.96-inches, and boasts a massive 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, matching the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. On the rear is a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and an unusual ring-shaped, dual LED flash, plus a 2.-megapixel camera sits above the screen.
Power is provided by the brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, running at 2.7GHz, and 3GB of RAM. A whopping 3220mAh battery should provide 300 hours standby and 24-hours of talktime, plus the phone has wireless charging as standard. Motorola’s Turbo Charger battery saver is also installed, ready to provide six hours of battery life on 15 minutes of charge.
The Nexus 6 will go up as a pre-order on October 29 in either 32GB or 64GB configurations, and in blue or white. The 32GB model will cost $650, while the 64GB is yours for $700, without a contract. AT&T has also confirmed it will be stocking the Nexus 6, but hasn’t provided an on-contract price yet. Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular will also sell the phone. It’ll be in stores during November.
The Nexus 9 has been built with HTC, marking the firm’s long-awaited return to the tablet market. Equipped with an 8.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 pixel screen, Google’s going to take on the Surface Pro with a Keyboard Folio accessory, which will use NFC to pair with the tablet to turn it into a mini laptop. There’s even a separate battery inside.
HTC has used Nvidia’s Tegra K1 processor inside the Nexus 9, making it the first 64-bit Nexus product. It’s accompanied by 2GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.6-megapixel front camera, plus a choice of either 16GB or 32GB internal storage space. A 6700mAh battery will provide just under 10-hours video playback, and about a month of standby time. HTC has fitted its Boomsound speakers and amplifier system to the Nexus 9, and there’s a pair of microphones for ambient noise reduction during video calls. It’s slim at 7.95mm, and weighs 420 grams on its own.
Pre-orders for the Nexus 9 start on October 17, and the release should be on November 3. A 32GB Nexus 9 will cost $400, the 32GB is $480, and a special 4G LTE model is priced at $600. Sold in either black or white, Google will also add a “sand” color option before the end of the year.
The ghost of the Nexus Q still haunts Google’s offices, but the Nexus Player is here to take its place. It runs Android TV, and is a streaming media and gaming device for your living room. It’s compatible with any Google Cast app, so it could replace your Chromecast, plus you can purchase a separate gamepad for video game fun from the comfort of your couch. The controller has Asus branding, so it could be assumed the entire Nexus Player system is the work of the manufacturer.
It’s powered by a 1.8GHz Intel Atom processor with a PowerVR Series 6 GPU taking care of the images, while there’s 1GB of RAM, plus 8GB of internal memory. Sadly, there’s no way to expand this amount. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth take care of the connectivity, while there’s an HDMI out port, and a MicroUSB socket too.
You’ll pay $100 for the Nexus Player, which includes a remote control and $20 Google Play credit, plus an extra $40 for the game controller. Sales are expected to begin on November 3, with pre-orders on October 17.
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