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Thursday, 16 October 2014 13:53

Google revamps its Nexus in a big way Featured

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Google has quietly announced the latest devices in its Nexus line, including a tablet, a massive phablet smartphone and the first device running Android TV - the Nexus Player.

The devices, like previous iterations of the Nexus brand, are Google branded but have been made in partnership with other companies. Taiwanese firm HTC has produced the Nexus 9 - a tablet with an 8.9-inch display, while Motorola, which is wholly owned by Google, has created the 6-inch display Nexus 6 smartphone.

The Nexus Player - Google's answer to Apple TV - has been produced by Taiwanese tech firm Asus. And, as has been the case in the past, the devcices will also serve as a showcase for the latest version of Google's Android mobile operating system, in this case Android Lollypop - until now referred to as 'Android L.'

"Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens--from phones and tablets to TVs," Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps for Google, said in a blog post Wednesday.

The new device lineup is headlined by the Nexus 6, which boasts an aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD display and a 13 megapixel camera. The phone also comes equipped with a dual front-facing stereo speakers that deliver high-fidelity sound and a "Turbo Charger", which Google says delivers six hours of use with only 15 minutes of charge.

So how big is 6 inches? Well it's bigger than both Apple's iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inches) and Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 (5.7 inches), meaning it's pretty damn big, and definitely fits the definition of 'phablet.'

Also unveiled was the Nexus 9, Google's attempt at tackling the iPad Mini. The device features an 8.9-inch screen, and is compatible with a flashy new keyboard folio (sold separately) that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9.

"Since more and more people want to have the same simple experience they have on their tablets when they have to do real work, we designed a keyboard folio that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop," Google said.

The Nexus Player is a streaming media player for movies, music and videos but also acts as a gaming device, much like the controversial Ouya console. The hardware ships with a remote control, which combines a microphone for voice instructions with a small touchpad control area and just four buttons. There’s also an optional gamepad to support Android TV’s gaming possibilities.

Google Australia has said preorders for both the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will open in November, with local pricing not yet determined. In the US, The 16GB version of the Nexus 9 will cost $399, the 32GB version will cost $479 and the 32GB version with LTE will cost $599. The Nexus Player and remote control will cost $99 with an optional controller for $40. Perhaps most interestingly Google has said the Nexus 6 will sell from $649 contract-free - a massive shift from the previously super cheap Nexus 4 and 5.

It's unknown if the Nexus Player will make its way to Australia.

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