Android is a great platform. There are many things about it, such as customisation, Google Now, Google Services and a whole range of other features that makes it the choice for many people around the world.

One thing that can let Android down, is the way in which manufacturers add their own custom skins and own software, to provide differentiation. Whilst this is obviously important from a marketing and sales perspective, it can detract from Android’s core usability.

Google is well aware of this and has taken steps over the past few years, lifting some of the best features from these skins, to push its Nexus line of pure Android. Yesterday, Google unveiled the latest Nexus range – the Motorola made Nexus 6 phone and HTC made Nexus 9 tablet.

Nexus smartphones

In past years, the Nexus range has tended to be relatively mid range in terms of specs and price, however with the latest generation, Google is aiming these devices at the premium market.

The Nexus 6, in many ways, is less phone, more tablet. At 6” big, its screen is almost double the size of the original iPhone. If people thought that the iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Note were big, pocket busting devices, the Nexus 6 takes it to a whole new level.

One of Mubaloo’s Android developers, Ray Britton wasn’t so taken with the size of the Nexus 6, “I personally feel that 6″ is too much and so won’t be getting it. Google seems to be aware that 6” may be too big for some, and are going to continue to sell the Nexus 5.”

It’s safe to say that the days of 4” screens are now behind us – and as a company that is focused on driving efficiency through apps, we can only think that’s got to be a good thing.

Larger screens means being able to do more without having to make sacrifices on usability. In many ways, it should come as no surprise that phones are getting bigger.

The technology industry is trying to get users to the point where they look at wearables and see the value in having them. Smaller phones are easier to get out or use one handed. Big phones not only attract more attention, but are also nearly impossible to use one handed.

Nexus 6 features

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core 2.7Ghz processor, the Nexus 6 will fly, but also be power efficient, thanks to software and hardware improvements.

The phone comes with Motorola’s Turbo charger, capable of giving users 6 hours of battery life, from just 15 minutes of charge. This is going to be a big deciding factor for choosing the phone for many users.

Outside of this, the Nexus 6 will come with all of the great features being introduced with Android Lollipop, in the way Google wanted users to experience it. This will include Google Now voice activation, that is able to recognise its owner’s voice and has recently been rated the best AI system by various media outlets.

Coming in Blue or White, prices for the Nexus 6 will start at $649 (no UK pricing is available yet), with storage at either 32 or 64GB.

Nexus 9

Announced with the Nexus 6 is Google’s new Android tablet, the HTC made Nexus 9. Interestingly, the tablet comes in either 16 or 32GB options with no ability to upgrade the onboard storage. Whilst the majority of tablet usage is done in the home, where WiFi means music, video and other space hugging content can be streamed – it will limit the Nexus tablet’s capability as a travel companion.

Nexus 9 tablet interface

With a 8.9” screen, the Nexus 9 sits directly between the iPad Mini Retina and iPad Air in terms of size. As the device is made by HTC, we can expect it to have a premium look and feel. Specs wise, the device eschews Qualcomm’s Snapdragon in favour of Nvidia’s 64-bit Tegra K1 chipset.

From a productivity perspective, the Nexus 9 comes with the option of a keyboard attachment that magnetically attaches to the device. This is Google targeting both the Microsoft Surface and the iPad, showing that users can be just as productive on Android.

Lollipop features

With the new Nexus devices comes the latest version of Android known as Lollipop. Some of the main features of the latest Android include:
-Material Design, although much of this will be available on Ice Cream Sandwich and above
-Better battery life
-ART (Android RunTime), replacing Dalvik resulting in 4x faster speed
-Better audio support, reducing playback latency and now supporting USB audio devices
-More accessibility options
-A new manager for existing NFC and WiFi tap and pay apps
-Better Bluetooth Low Energy performance, and power efficiency
-OpenGL ES 3 now can be used, which has much better power efficiency

Display screen on Nexus smartphone

Welcome to the next generation of Android!

By Robert Haslam, PR Manager

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