Google unveils Android 5.0 Lollipop, Nexus 6 phablet and Nexus 9 tablet

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) officially unveiled Android 5.0 with the nickname "Lollipop," in keeping with its dessert-themed names for its Android releases, and also announced three new devices in its Nexus device program.

nexus 6 motorola

Motorola's Nexus 6

First announced at Google's I/O developer conference in June as "Android L," the new Android 5.0 software is designed to power not just smartphones and tables but also smart watches, TVs, set-top boxes and cars. Hiroshi Lockheimer, a vice president of engineering at Google, told Re/code that Lollipop packs 5,000 new developer features, including ones for enterprises users, along with a "material design" user interface designed to create a common look across a multitude of Android devices. And, as The Verge notes, "the platform has new, more fluid animations, a cleaner design with a bolder color palette, a revamped multitasking menu, and offers new ways to interact with your voice."

Speaking of devices, Google announced the Motorola-made Nexus 6 phablet, the HTC-made nexus 9 tablet and the Asus-built Nexus Player, a $99 set-top box, all running Android 5.0.

The Nexus 6 sports a 6-inch display, a Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, a 3220 mAh battery, and two front-facing speakers. It offers either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. The phone will be available unlocked for $649 or on a two-year contract from Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S), T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM). The price with a two-year contract was not announced, but pre-orders will begin later this month.

The Nexus 9 the first 64-bit portable device running Android and also features Nvidia's K1 processor, which is designed for immersive gaming and high-performance graphics processing. The Nexus 9 comes in three variants: a 16 GB Wi-Fi model for $399, a 32 GB Wi-Fi version for $479 and an LTE-enabled 32 GB model for $599. According to The Verge, Google is planning to launch the Nexus 9 in 29 countries over the coming weeks. Pre-orders start Oct. 17 and in the U.S. it will be sold through Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, Google Play, Office Depot, Office Max, QVC/HSN, Radio Shack, Staples and Walmart.

Finally, the Nexus Player is a puck around 4.7 inches in diameter that comes with a tiny remote. The set-top box includes 8 GB of internal storage and streams content over 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The device is Google's latest attempt yet to crack into the TV market and supports all the functions of Google's Chromecast and runs Android apps as well. The device also comes with a game controller sold as a $39 add-on. Article

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