Google Announces New Phones, Chromecasts, And A Tablet

Android / Google / Mobile / Press Releases / Tech
Google Products Announced Today

Today is what passionate fans refer to as “Nexus Day” – typically reserved for major hardware announcements from Google. But today we got a lot more than just new Nexus devices. In addition to two new phones, Google showed off a second generation Chromecast, an audio streamer, a new premium Pixel tablet, and a host of software improvements along their Photo, Music and Cast applications. I’ll save the opinions for later, let’s see what goodies we got first.

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Courtesy of Google

Smartphones

Last year Google got a lot of flack for releasing one huge Nexus phone, the Nexus 6. Many complained that they wanted something cheaper and smaller. Sales showed those weren’t just hollow words as the N6 was not a huge success. Google listened, and this year gave us what they are known for: choices. The options come in the form of two Nexus phones form different manufacturers. We still have the large phablet, for those that want a a lot of screen real estate, the Huawei 6P; and there is the LG built 5X for those that want a smaller form factor that is also kinder on their wallet.

Google spent a significant time talking up one of the most criticized features of almost every Nexus phone to date: the camera. This year they really seemed to have attacked the problem head-on, using camera technology usually reserved for camcorders and professional cameras; unheard of in the smartphone world. The claim is best in class indoor and low light photographs.

Another first is the USB Type-C connector. The micro USB is no longer found on any Google-made devices. Instead the USB Type-C is used for charging and data transfers; both of which are now faster due to the new port with the 6P supposedly charging from empty to full in half the time of the iPhone 6S Plus. On the back of both phones, just below the camera are the new fingerprint scanners that work in conjunction with what Google is calling “Nexus Imprint” to allow lightning quick phone unlocking (under 600ms), security features, and use with Android Pay and the Google Play Store. The technology will also be ecosystem-wide, which means developers can take advantage of it as well within their own apps. Both phones will be available through the Google Store today in the US, UK, Ireland, and Japan with more countries getting them in the coming months.

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Nexus 5X

LG built the smaller and cheaper of the two devices. But it is hardly a slouch with a 5.2 screen, fingerprint scanner, 2GB of RAM, and that aforementioned 12MP camera engineered to provide great indoor and low light photographs.

  • Screen: 5.2-inch (1920×1080, 424ppi)
  • Dimensions: 147 x 7.9 x 72.6 mm, 136g
  • Processor: 1.8Ghz Snapdragon 808 processor (MSM8992)
  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB/32GB Non-expandable
  • Battery: 2700 maH
  • Charging: USB Type C
  • Cameras: 12.3MP rear camera (1.55 μM, f/2.0). 8MP front camera
  • Sensors: Fingerprint reader, Sensor Hub, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Barometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light sensor, Hall sensor, Android Context Hub
  • Wireless: 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth, ANT+ NFC, GPS
  • Colors: White, Blue, Black
  • Available: September 29th in US, UK, Japan and Ireland through Google Store.
  • Pricing: $379 for 16GB/$429 for 32GB

Courtesy of Google

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Courtesy of Google

Images courtesy of Google

Nexus 6P

Huawei put together a rather unique looking phone with premium anodized aluminum, dual front speakers, a beautiful 5.7in QQHD display, a fingerprint scanner, and powerful new camera; all in a phone that is smaller than typical devices with smaller screens.

  • Screen: 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED (2560×1440, 518ppi)
  • Dimensions: 159.4 x 77.8 x 7.3mm, 178g
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor V2.1 (MSM8994)
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB/128GB Non-expandable
  • Battery: 3450 maH
  • Charging: USB Type C Fast Charging
  • Cameras: 12.3MP rear camera (1.55 μM, f/2.0). 8MP front camera
  • Sensors: Fingerprint reader, Sensor Hub, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Barometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light sensor, Hall sensor, Android Context Hub
  • Wireless: 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth v4.2 LE, ANT+ NFC, GPS
  • Colors: Black, White, Silver, and Gold (Japan only at launch)
  • Available: September 29th in US, UK, Japan and Ireland through Google Store.
  • Pricing: $499 for 32GB/$549 for 64GB/$649 for 128GB

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Courtesy of Google

Images courtesy of Google

Pixel C Tablet

There was no new Nexus tablet announced this time around. Instead we got something a little different. As with the Pixel Chromebook, Google opted to produce a premium reference design for the tablet market. The Pixel C (Convertible) is an Android-powered work of art. Resembling the Pixel laptop the tablet is a stunner to look at, and is packing features and specs to match with Nvidia X1 quad-core processor humming inside along with 3GB of RAM and a Maxwell desktop-class GPU. The Pixel C also sports four speakers and a lightbar, much like the Pixel Chromebook that serves as a battery indicator. But what may have stolen the show from the tablet itself was the really unique keyboard accessory. Equally beautiful in design the keyboard easily attaches to the tablet via a magnetic swivel, that allows for easy use of both as a laptop. When not in use, the keyboard magnetically attaches to the back of the tablet and out of the way. As the two are docked, the keyboard charges off the tablet, so you will never have to plug it in. The battery inside can last for over a month, and just a few minutes a day will keep it fully charged.

  • Screen: 10.2 -inch (2560×1800), 500 nits brightness
  • Processor: Nvidia X1 quad-core
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB Non-expandable
  • Charging: USB Type C Fast Charging
  • Wireless: 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth v4.2 LE, ANT+ NFC, GPS
  • Pricing: $499 for 32GB/$599 for 64GB
  • Keyboard Pricing: $149

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Courtesy of Google

Images courtesy of Google

Chromecast

With the undisputed success of the original Chromecast, putting it at 20,000,000 units sold in a relatively short time, Google was proud to announce an update and an expansion to the popular streamer. We now have two models. The Chromecast and the Chromecast Audio. As you would expect the latter is meant to stream music while the former remains primarily to showcase video, media, games and similar content on your TV. Google did right by casters everywhere by keeping the prices in line with the first offering while improving the device all around.

 Courtesy of Google


Courtesy of Google

 

Chromecast (V2)

The original Chromecast was one of those rare devices that got it right from the start. Instead of messing with a winning formula, Google just tweaked and upgraded it, making it more powerful, faster and easier to use. The device now supports 2.4 and 5GHz bands and has 3 antennas that are able to adjust for weaker WiFi signals without the stream taking a hit in quality.  With a redesigned rounded look and three available colors (yellow, red, and black) the new Chromecast is also able to take advantage of new features like Fast Play and social media content displaying on top of your active stream. Fast Play is a software upgrade that will now begin to intelligently preload content it thinks you are about to watch, allowing movies and shows to start as much as 80% faster than before. Games are also now part of the Chromecast. Google demoed Golf, Monopoly and Angry Birds Go, a cart racer with the TV displaying the main game content and the phone becoming an interactive controller for the games. With all this open to developers it will be interesting to see how they will incorporate the phone as a controller or second screen for their games. Think Nintendo Wii U.

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Courtesy of Google

Images courtesy of Google

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Courtesy of Google

Images courtesy of Google

Hardware is only as good as the software working with it so Google also showed us the completely redesigned Chromecast App. No longer just a bare-bones experience used to set-up the Chromecast device, the app now has 3 tabs: What’s On, Devices, and Get Apps. These will now show you content that installed third party apps like Netflix and Hulu have available to watch, along with other applications that you may be interested in downloading to increase your library of available content. Additionally, there will also be a Search Function that allows users to search for content by name and will show options of how it may be viewed, both across apps you have and suggested ones as well.  Chromecast (V2) will be available starting today in 17 countries for $35, with the updated app coming later this month.

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Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Chromecast Audio

The new addition to the Chromecast family is focused on your audio library. Using a 3.5mm jack, you can plug this device into virtually any speaker making it an instant receiver for music, podcasts and audiobooks. Much like it’s TV-based brother, the Chromecast audio is controlled through your phone, but once connected and running, will work independently over WiFi to pull the content directly from the web. This means you’re not using your phone battery and barely any processing power  while enjoying your tunes. With included guest modes, others can help create playlists or skip around songs, making for an either enjoyable or really annoying social atmosphere. You will also be able to link these together to create a multi-room synced experience. Chromecast Audio will be available starting today in 17 countries for $35.

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Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

That’s a lot to deliver in just one day and lot to consider as holidays approach.

Did Google show off anything today that caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

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