If you like big phones or thin tablets and love the Android thing, two new products are on the way to provide some competition to Apple, and start showing the world how the next iteration of Android should look.
Every year or so, Google shows us something new from its Nexus brand, a series of products that tends to be the best example for its Android operating system, with the most stock version of Android and a feature set on the products designed to work best with it.
Last year, the products came in the form of the Nexus 7 tablet made by Asus and the Nexus 5 phone made by LG, and this year, we’re seeing a changing of the guard, as Google relies on two different manufacturers for its new products.
First is a new phone, and this year, it’s made by Motorola, as Google works with Motorola to produce something built from the mould of the new Moto X, but with higher specs across the board.
This product is the Google Nexus 6, and here you’ll find a 6 inch Quad HD display (technically 5.96 inches), rivalling the display we’re about to see in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with a similar size and identical resolution, that of 2560×1440.
Two front-facing speakers flank this screen, and there’s also a 13 megapixel camera on the back with the same dual LED ring flash we saw in the Moto X recently, complete with 4K video capture in the box.
As for the chip, this feels like what the new Moto X should have been, including a similar processor setlist to what Samsung is using in the Note 4, with a quad-core Snapdragon 805 clocked at 2.7GHz, Adreno 420 graphics chip, and a choice of either 32 or 64GB of storage.
4G LTE is part of the package, and we’re told the battery will be rated at 3220mAh, providing as much as a day of life, but with a fast charge of 15 minutes providing as much as 6 hours of extra life. Bluetooth 4.1 and Near-Field Communication are both included, as is 802.11ac WiFi, which should give people some room to move whether at home or abroad.
From a looks point of view, the Nexus 6 appears to be very close to the Motorola X, which we checked out recently, though geared at a slightly bigger hand, providing a phablet Moto for people who think the upcoming 5 inch Moto X is too small.
Neither pricing nor availability is available yet for Australia, but we’ll pester Google and tell you what it comes back with later on.
The second product for today’s announcement is for a tablet, and to make things interesting, it’s one produced by HTC, a brand not known for tablets.
There’s been one rumoured by HTC for some time, but outside of one camera, we’ve only seen phones from HTC, with the excellent One series made by this company.
Google will be using HTC for tablets, though, coming in the form of the Nexus 9, an 8.9 inch tablet that moves on from the work Google did with the Asus-made Nexus 7 and takes the tablet into a new generation for the search giant, making it thinner and yet larger, and incorporating a metal frame with a body that looks like it’ll be soft plastic made for the hands, with scratch-resistant glass on the front.
Inside the tablet, there’s a 64-bit processor — one of the first to grace an Android product — as well as 2GB RAM and coming with 16 and 32GB of storage, but no microSD slot, an omission that is pretty standard for a Google Nexus product.
The graphics chip has 192 cores in it, and it pairs with the main processor from Nvidia, with the Tegra K1 running at 2.3GHz, and there will even be cameras — LET THERE BE CAMERAS — with 8 megapixels on the back and 1.6 megapixels on the front. WiFi is running at 802.11ac, good news for people with fast WiFi at home, while Near-Field Communication and Bluetooth 4.1 are both included, as well.
Two BoomSound speakers are here, a key feature on HTC phones that brings two-front facing speakers to the front, as well as two microphones.
All of this sits under an 8.9 inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a fuller-than-Full HD resolution of 2048×1536.
No pricing yet, nor any word of availability, but we’ve seen the previous Nexus tablets here, so we can only imagine Google is but a few days away from telling us something local.
Both of these will run the next generation of Android, set to be called “Lollipop,” continuing the dessert inspired names Google uses for its operating systems as it makes its way through the alphabet.
Aside for some new cleaner designs as part of Google’s “Material Design,” Lollipop will link searches across multiple Android products, and even let you listen to songs or watch videos across them, remembering the point you left off.
Battery saving technology is also apparently included, boosting the life of all Android devices running Lollipop ever so slightly, and there’s more security too.
In the case of Lollipop, we should see it across lots of devices, and we already have confirmation that Nexus products from the past couple of years — the ones with numbers on the end of their names — should all be getting the new operating system soon.
Other major manufacturers should see the release as well — those of you with Samsung and Sony and HTC and LG phones, to name but a few — but we’ve yet to hear the timings of these, so assume they’re coming for most phones, but not for a couple of months at least.