Against their trend, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) showcased Android 5.0 Lollipop as Android L, during Google I/O 2014, before it was even completely developed. We have extensively explained about the best new features of Android 5.0 and it is safe to say that Android 5.0 Lollipop is the biggest change to their mobile device operating system since Android 4.0 IceCreamSandwich. Google has finally moved on from Holo UI and given Android a complete makeover with Material UI and a fluid user experience. It also brings some impressive feature set such as 64-bit compatible ART run-time compiler, Heads Up notifications, improved multitasking UI, longer battery life with Project Volta, advanced camera capabilities with a newer camera API, and inbuilt KNOX system from Samsung for enhanced enterprise security.
On 15th of October, Google introduced the new Nexus line-up; the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9, and the Nexus Player. This was just one day early to Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad event, where they introduced the new iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, 5K Retina iMacs, and a new Mac Mini. This is the second time in a row when Google has launched its devices around the same date as Apple’s launch events. Last year, the LG Nexus 5 was launched around the same time as that of Apple iPad Air’s launch. Google is now directly trying to target Apple’s devices, not only with launch dates and specifications, but also with the pricing, but more on that later.
Google understands the importance of Phablets, hence a 5.9-inch display on the Nexus 6
According to a recent study by Flurry, the popularity of phablets has increased explosively. In 2013, flurry reported that the total market share of phablet was just 2 percent and according to the recent numbers, it has grown to 10 percent. In 2013, only 20 million phablets were sold but according to Juniper research, this number is estimated to grow to 120 million annually, by 2018. Probably that is the reason why smartphone OEMs are investing more and more in phablets, be it the high-end ones like the Galaxy Note 4 which is priced at Rs. 58,300, or entry-level phablets like Xiaomi Redmi Note or the Micromax Canvas L A108 which are priced under Rs. 10,000. Even Apple has released a 5.5-inch phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus along with a regular sized iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch screen.
|HTC Nexus 9||Apple iPad Mini 3|
|Screen||8.9-inch, 2048 x 1536, Corning Gorilla Glass 3||7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536, Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Camera||8-megapixel rear-facing camera, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p video recording, 2.1 -megapixel front-facing camera||5-megapixel rear-facing camera, autofocus, 1080p video recording, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera|
|Processor||Nvidia Tegra K1, 64-bit 2.3GHz dual-core Denver CPU, 192-core Kepler GPU||1.3GHz Apple A7, 64-bit, PowerVR G6430 GPU|
|Storage||16GB, 32GB||16GB, 64GB, 128GB|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n, GLONASS A-GPS, microUSB v2.0||4G LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GLONASS A-GPS, Lightning Connector|
|Price||$399 – $599||$399 – $599|
The Android 5.0 running Motorola (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) Nexus 6 comes as the first phablet device in the Nexus line-up. It features a 5.9-inch QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) AMOLED display, a 13-megapixel camera with OIS and 4K video recording, and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. It is powered by an ultra-powerful 2.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor with Adreno 420 GPU, 3GB of RAM, and 32/64GB of internal storage. Connectivity wise, we are looking at 4G LTE (300Mbps Cat. 6 D/L), gigabit dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, wireless screen mirroring, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth v4.1 + LE, NFC, GLONASS + A-GPS, microUSB v2.0 with SlimPort, USB OTG, and USB Host.
If you gave them a phablet for a week, 50 percent of consumers would say they like it and not go back.
– David Burke, Google Vice President of Engineering
There was an outburst from Nexus users about the Nexus 6’s large size and Google’s decision to use a 5.9-inch screen. But Google’s David Burke told CNET in an interview that people might like the Nexus 6 when they use it. Although Dell Streak was the first device to employ a large 5-inch screen, but Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (KRX:005930) was the first brand to use an extra large screens on smartphones with a usable for-factor. The Samsung Galaxy Note was the first device to be officially dubbed as Phablets, which many love to use these days.
Google has switched to a 4:3 screen and an iPad like screen resolution with HTC Nexus 9
In the past one year, there has been a new trend among tablet vendors. They are releasing tablets with screen sizes between 8 to 9 inches, which is being proclaimed as the perfect screen size for a tablet. The new HTC Nexus 9 features a similar kind of screen size at 8.9-inches. Surprisingly, HTC has used a 4:3 screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, exactly similar to that of the Apple iPad Air 2 and the Apple iPad Mini 3. It is powered by a 2.3GHz dual-core 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 processor with Denver CPU cores, 192-core Kepler GPU, 2GB of RAM, and 16/32GB of internal storage space. There’s an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing secondary camera. Wireless and wired connectivity suite includes 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/b/g/n with MIMO, Wi-Fi Direct, wireless screen mirroring, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth v4.1 with Apt-X technology, GLONASS A-GPS, and a microUSB v2.0 port.
|Motorola Nexus 6||Apple iPhone 6 Plus|
|Screen||5.9-inch, 2560 x 1440, Corning Gorilla Glass 3||5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080, Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Camera||13-megapixel rear-facing camera, OIS, autofocus, LED flash, 4K video recording, 2.1 -megapixel front-facing camera||8-megapixel rear-facing camera, autofocus, 1080p @ 60 fps video recording, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, 2.7GHz quad-core Krait 450 CPU, Adreno 420 GPU||1.3GHz Apple A8, 64-bit, PowerVR GX6650 GPU|
|Storage||32GB, 64GB||16GB, 64GB, 128GB|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n, GLONASS A-GPS, microUSB v2.0||4G LTE, Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n, GLONASS A-GPS, Lightning Connector|
|Price||$649 – $699||$749 – $949|
Google wants to take over the TV with the Asus Nexus Player
According to AllgaierConsulting’s numbers, Apple was the biggest player in the digital media streaming box business in 2013 with Apple TV. The Nexus Player directly competes with Apple TV. With the smartphone and tablet market captured, Google is trying to put its force to cover the TV screens by providing its media streaming services and search engine through Nexus Player.
The Google ChromeCast was an immense hit and the Nexus Player is an advanced version of the device, priced at just $99. The market is heating up for cheap smart set-top boxes and smart sticks that convert dumb flat screen TVs into smart, internet connected devices for media streaming. TechNavio’s analysts forecast the Global Smart Set-Top Box and Dongle market will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 24.99 percent over the period 2013-2018.
For the first time ever, Google has awarded the Nexus brand to a set-top box. The Asus (TPE:2357) Nexus Player comes with Android TV, a 64-bit 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3560 processor, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage, Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n with MIMO, wireless screen mirroring (Google Cast), Bluetooth v4.1, HDMI out, and a Bluetooth-based remote control.
Nexus is no more value-for-money brand. It defines Android’s capabilities
If you have a look at the specifications comparison of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 with Apple iPhone 6 Plus and Apple iPad Mini 3, you’ll find that they are next to neck with each other. Till last year’s Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, Google tried to price the Nexus devices as a cheaper alternative to high-end smartphones, which gave rise to its popularity, apart from that fact that they used to get the latest software updates.
For the firs time ever, Google and its services have a presence on almost every screen, thanks to Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Android Auto, and Android Wear based devices. Even its app collection has grown immensely, with major developers releasing apps and games on Android and iOS on the same time. This is why Google isn’t shying away to ask more for its Nexus devices. This year, Google has matched the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9’s pricing to the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPad Mini 3. This goes on to show that Google is not considering Android and its Nexus devices any less than Apple’s iOS devices.
For the ones who cannot pay a premium price, Google has tried to bring the Nexus experience at a very affordable level with Android One, making it a win-win opportunity for everyone. It has collaborated with local smartphone vendors; Micromax, Spice, and Karbonn to make Android One devices, which cost just around the $100 (Rs. 6,300) price mark.
Google is confident that people would buy relatively higher priced Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 because they are not lacking in any regard when compared to its competitors, be it the latest Apple devices, or from the Android’s own clan.