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Google unveils Nexus 6 phablet, Nexus 9 tablet; lands with Android Lollipop

Google finally catches up with the rest of the smartphone space by offering its home-brew phablet, along with the next iteration of its tablet and Android operating system.
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Written by Zack Whittaker, Writer-editor on
Image: Google

Despite little fanfare and a muted announcement, Google said on Wednesday it was ready to lift the veil on its latest Nexus devices.

Meet the Nexus 6 "phablet" smartphone, and the Nexus 9 tablet. Both will run the latest version of Android, dubbed "Lollipop," in line with its candy-themed naming scheme.

In a blog post announcing the new devices, Android chief Sundar Pichai said: "Lollipop is designed to be flexible, to work on all your devices and to be customized for you the way you see fit." 

According to recent reports, the quiet unveiling was due to a scramble in the last few days to get the final bits ready for the next-generation Android release. That softened any announcement Google was gunning for, said Forbes on Tuesday

Google's Nexus 6 "phablet" phone, built by Motorola, which this year was sold off to Lenovo, features a 5.9-inch quad-HD display with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels, or 493 pixels-per-inch. It also comes with a Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7Ghz processor, and Adreno 420 graphics.

The Nexus 6 boasts a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The phone requires just 15 minutes of charging for six hours use. Google says that it's ready for 24 hours of use from a full charge.

With dual-front facing speakers, the phone offers stereo sound.

The Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in late October, and will be out in stores in November. It's available on AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, but subject to carrier release times.

Unlocked versions will be available through the Google Play Store. 

Meanwhile, the Nexus 9 tablet includes an 8.9-inch IPS LCD display. Weighing in at just over one pound, it's powered by a 64-bit dual-core Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and an Nvidia Kepler graphics chip.

It has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. The tablet also comes with 16GB or 32GB storage options.

Google's Nexus 9 tablet, developed by HTC despite little experience in the space, comes in a brushed aluminum frame, instead of the anticipated all-metal design, which helps keep the price of the device down. 

There is no expandable storage, so choose your model wisely.

The Nexus 9 will be available on October 17 for pre-order. 

The long-awaited revamped tablet arrives a day after Apple is expected to reveal its latest iPads, which are slated to include with a beefed up A8X processor — slightly better than the iPhone 6's chip, along with its Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Both devices, the Nexus 6 phablet and the Nexus 9 tablet, will run the latest version of Android Lollipop.

Android Lollipop boasts a number of new features, including a universal user interface and experience across devices, better multitasking, and better enterprise features. The Android operating system also comes with device encryption, just like Apple's iOS 8. Both Apple and Google implemented this in the wake of government intrusions.

The latest version of Android will be initially available on Google's latest own-model Nexus devices, including the older Nexus 5, and will roll out to other manufacturers from there.

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