Google’s New Nexus Devices Feature Android L – for Lollipop

Details about Google’s Nexus 6 smartphone were heavily leaked before it was officially announced this month. Even in March (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 9), rumours were appearing online. Now we can see that many of those rumours were true.

Motorola produced the Nexus 6, Google having switched from Asus as its manufacturing partner. The phone runs Google’s new OS, codenamed Android L but now officially known as Lollipop (5.0). Lollipop will run on multiple screen sizes, from wearables to TVs, with continuity between them; Google says that songs, photos, apps and even search results can be accessed across all your Android products.

Content is displayed in different ways depending on the screen. When accessing emails, for example, a tablet will show the selected message and a user’s inbox; a smartphone will show the message; and a watch will display a notification that an email was received. There are also new ways to configure how and which notifications are displayed, an improved battery saver (Google claims that battery life is extended by up to 90 minutes) and a guest user mode for phones and tablets. Scanning for Bluetooth Low Energy devices, like wearables and beacons, has been made more efficient. Android 5.0 also supports 64-bit computing.

After Android, the display is the main selling point of the Nexus 6. At 5.96″, it is one of the larger phablets out there, with 2560 x 1440 resolution. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. A large display consumes a lot of power, of course, so the product has a 3,220mAh battery that, it is said, will last for at least 24 hours. Users will also get 6 hours of use from 15 minutes of charging time, thanks to Motorola’s Turbo Charge feature.

A quad-core 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 SoC (64-bit) powers the Nexus 6. Models with 32GB or 64GB of storage will be available for pre-order on 29th October, starting at $650 and $700, respectively.

Also running Android Lollipop on a 64-bit CPU – this time a Tegra K1 from Nvidia – is the Nexus 9 tablet, manufactured by HTC. Like HTC’s recent flagship products, the tablet features a metal chassis (okay, partly metal – the sides) and Boomsound speakers.

According to Google, the 8.9″ tablet is ‘small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on’. Because of this the company is releasing a keyboard attachment for the tablet, which attaches magnetically and can be used at two different angles.

Like the Nexus 6, Gorilla Glass 3 protects the display of the Nexus 9, which has 2048 x 1536 resolution and a ‘double-tap to wake’ feature. Battery life averages around nine hours. An Nvidia Kepler GPU is used, alongside 2GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of storage. A WiFi model ($400 for 16GB, $440 for 32GB) will be available on 3rd November, with a 4G version (32GB only, $600) being launched later in the year.