Months of speculation and several ‘leaked’ images later, the next iterations of the much loved Google Nexus phones were unveiled yesterday. The final release of Android OS 6.0, Android Marshmallow was also officially announced and these announcements came with a bunch of more exciting product launches. Here’s our quick round-up of the 5 key announcements from yesterday that made news:
Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P
The original Nexus 5 was a big hit among consumers and then came the next albeit really big Nexus 6 which did not receive much love from consumers. So, instead of launching one Nexus smartphone in different colors and storage sizes, Google decided to cater to as many smartphone consumers as they could, by launching two devices:
The LG Nexus 5X, which builds on the familiarity and fame of the Nexus 5 and the bigger Nexus 6P by Huawei, that is closer to the Nexus 6 in terms of size. Both devices run the latest version of Google’s Android OS, Marshmallow, and come with fingerprint sensors but that’s where most of the similarities end.
- While the Nexus 5X rocks a ‘now standard’ 5.2 inch 1080p screen with a Gorilla Glass 3 protection, the Nexus 6P features a newer 2K (1440×2560) QHD 5.7 inch screen with protected by a Gorilla Glass 4 layer.
- The Nexus 5X has a polycarbonate body while the Nexus 6P sports a more premium looking all metal design.
- Nexus 5X runs on a Snapdragon 808, 1.8 GHz hexa-core processor with 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The 6P features the next-generation Snapdragon 810 2.1, 2.0 GHz octa-core processor, with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM.
- The 5X comes in 16GB and 32GB storage sizes while the 6P offers more storage options starting at 32GB, going up to 128GB with a 64GB option between them.
- Both come with a 12.3 megapixel rear camera with 4K video capabilities. However, the Nexus 5X features a 5 megapixel front camera while an 8 megapixel front camera will take care of the selfie needs on the 6P.
- Battery life matters the most for many. In this area, the 5X has a 2700 mAh non-removable battery, while the 6P comes with 3450 mAh non-removable battery, keeping in mind the larger screen-size and performance requirements.
- What is interesting though is that the Nexus 5X features dual front-facing stereo speakers while the 6P comes with a single front-facing speaker.
Google takes its material design approach to the next level with Android Marshmallow. While Android Lollipop was more about integrating the new design language, Marshmallow promises to bring more OS level features and improvements.
- Google Now on Tap is one of the most anticipated Android Marshmallow features. Previewed during the launch of Android M at Google I/O this year, the Google Now upgrade is aimed at making the personal smartphone assistant smarter than before. Long-pressing the Home button while you are on a particular app, brings up Now on Tap which quickly scans the information on screen, to bring you more information which is in context to what you are looking at on the screen.For instance, triggering Google Now on Tap while listening to music will throw up more relevant information about the artist, the band or the music you are listening to.
- App Permissions is probably one of the most important features that comes to Android with Marshmallow. Instead of running into a pop-up of app permissions during an app install, Android users will now be able to grant or deny apps, permission to access specific features such as camera, when such a feature is invoked by the app.
- USB Type-C support: Android Marshmallow will have native support for the new USB Type-C standard. The Nexus 5X and 6P both feature USB Type-C Micro-USB ports, making stabbing the USB cable the wrong way a thing of the past. On the other hand, Marshmellow also promises better battery backup with Doze mode which switches off power-guzzling background processes, and puts the device in deep sleep when not used for long intervals. Less often used apps are also put on standby with the App Standby feature to minimize their impact on battery life.
- Security: Marshmallow brings native fingerprint sensors to Android. While this was announced at Google I/O it has now been officially implemented as Nexus Imprint on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. In the About Device section in Settings, Android Marshmallow will now show ‘Android Security Patch Level’ with the date of the device’s latest security patch. It is a simple yet nifty feature to keep track of how secure your device is from the latest threats.
- Chrome Custom Tabs: With this feature, clicking on links to web content within an app won’t take you to a Chrome window where you have wait for the page to load, but instead, will open a Chrome page within the app, loading the web page faster.
Another very popular Google device the Chromecast got a major overhaul. Google not only updated its popular streaming device, it also added a new one that streams music, with Chromecast Audio. Both devices come with a disc-shaped look, and the Chromecast packs in more features under the hood. It now supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac, 5 GHz standards and the number of antennas has gone up from one to three. It also includes a new Fast-Play feature that pre-fetches video streaming apps and video content such as the next episode of a TV show, so that playback experience is quicker and smoother. Chromecast Audio on the other hand, allows streaming music over Wi-Fi from smartphones to older speakers via a standard 3.5 mm audio jack, RCA or optical audio outputs.
The Pixel C (C stands for convertible) is an Android tablet device that comes with a keyboard that attaches to it via little magnetic plates connects to the device via Bluetooth and charges via induction technology, drawing power from the tablet. The device which is in the same genre of devices such as the recently launched iPad Pro or Microsoft’s Surface Pro, and features a 10.2 inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2560×1800. Inside, it features an NVIDIA Tegra X1 quad core processor with 3GB of RAM. On the outside, it has stereo speakers and a USB Type-C port for charging. The tablet device currently runs Android Marshmallow and comes in 32GB and 64GB storage options.