Google unveils Android Lollipop, new Nexus gadgets

November 11, 2014 : TECHFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail

Google unveils Android Lollipop new Nexus gadgets

Hot on the heels of Apple's much anticipated launch of the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 last month, its main rival in the mobile world Google hasn't seen fit to rest on its laurels. It has just unveiled the next major update to its Android operating system, as well as revealing new gadgets in its Nexus range, including a smartphone, tablet and set-top box.

With Android already having a dominant position in the mobile sector – with figures from International Data Corporation suggesting it's equipped on almost 85 per cent of smartphone shipments around the world – the advancements promised in the new update should excite many owners. Meanwhile, the possibility of new flagship devices to compete with the best from Apple could also help cement Google's position as a leader in the sector.

Introducing Lollipop

The heart of the updates will be the new version of Android, which, in-keeping with tradition, has a sweet-based name, this time Lollipop. Unlike the last KitKat update, which was officially known as version 4.4 of the software, Lollipop has jumped all the way forward to version 5.0 – which is indicative of just what a big step it is. Google describes it as a "quantum leap forward" and the firm's "largest, most ambitious release" to date.

Among the changes is a new look for the interface called Material Design, which is said to offer a much more consistent experience across all devices – be it phones, tablets, set-top boxes or anything else. As a result, Google says content and applications will react much more smoothly to a user's touch or voice in more intuitive ways. This response to the needs of a more connected world also means users should be able to fluidly move between different devices and pick up exactly where they left off.

Lollipop also offers users more control over their device, with the option to adjust settings so only certain people and notifications can get through. "For example, when you're out to dinner or in the middle of an important meeting. And when an important notification does come through, you can see it directly from the lockscreen," Google said.

Another key improvement is a power saver feature that Google says can extend the life of a battery by up to 90 minutes. Behind the scenes, changes in how the device processes code means apps optimised for this should be faster and more power efficient, while android devices will also become capable of supporting 64-bit processors for the first time.

New Nexuses – bigger, faster, better

Of course, having an advanced operating system is no good unless it's installed on stylish devices that people actually want to buy, and Google's response to recent updates from the likes of Apple, Samsung and HTC is to introduce a new large-screen smartphone and updated tablet.

The Nexus 6 smartphone, which hits stores next month, falls firmly into the phablet category with its six-inch quad-HD screen, making it one of the biggest smartphones you can buy. It also comes with dual front-facing speakers, which makes it a great choice for entertainment such as movies and gaming. 

It also includes a Turbo Charger, which can provide up to six hours of use from just 15 minutes of charging – which could be great news if you always find yourself in a rush, or wake up in the morning to realise you've forgotten to charge the gadget overnight and need to give it a boost before heading out the door.

Meanwhile, the Nexus 9 tablet is actually a little smaller than Google's previous Nexus 10 device, at 8.9 inches. This means it will be small and light enough to easily carry around in one hand, while still being big enough to work on. It can also connect to a keyboard folio that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop.

Both devices feature smart metal design, which gives them a more premium feeling than the plastic shells used by previous generations of Nexus gadgets. However, one result of this is that they're not as cheap as earlier editions.

The Nexus 6 and has been priced at $649 (£407) for the contract-free 32GB edition, while Nexus 9 will go on sale at the end of this week and costs $399 for the 16GB version. 

Carolina Milanesi from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech told the BBC: "They're definitely not cheap, which is interesting because that seems to be a bit of a change in strategy. Google has obviously gone for more expensive materials, which might signal it is going after the enterprise space."

Android Lollipop will start rolling out to devices from Friday October 17th, with the new gadgets becoming available for pre-order later in the month.

This entry was posted in TECH and tagged on by sarahstooks
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