Google has announced the latest in their Android line with the Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet. Both will be launched in November, with preorders beginning in late October (for the Nexus 6), and October 17 (for the Nexus 9).
The two devices are collaborations between three companies, Google, Motorola (Nexus 6), and HTC (Nexus 9). Both are an attempt to provide “more screen” as their major incentive, as media viewing capabilities become all the more important to consumers.
You can bet that a big drive for this sudden release is the iPhone 6 Plus, and the promise of a new iPad Air 2 that has only just been leaked. The need to take a slice out of the market, especially right now before the iPad’s actual sale, is important. But will the move pay off?
Tech Specs Nexus 6
The Nexus 6 is apparently offering “more of everything”, at least if you believe the advertising. It has a larger screen than past models with a 6″ quad HD display, at a very high 1440 x 2560 resolution with 493 PPI. Admittedly, that is an impressive pixel per inch rate, and higher than you usually see, even with ultra high res capabilities.
Under the hood we have a 2.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 CPU. The graphics are being supported by an Adreno 420 GPU, so they are at least going top of the line for both brands. Most telling is the full 3 GB of RAM.
On board storage will come in either 32 GB or 64 GB, but weirdly no microSD expansion option. Considering other Nexus devices have had that, it is a definite con. Anyone else tired of smartphone developers trying to limit your storage to force you to go with the bigger and more expensive option (looking at you, Apple)?
Other features include Android Lollipop for the OS, 13 MP rear and 2 MP front cameras, and a fairly lightweight 184 g design. It has a 3220 mAh battery, so claims it will need less charging. We’ll see if that is true, or not.
Tech Specs Nexus 9
Interestingly, the Nexus 9 is a lot less powerful than the Nexus 6, even though it is a tablet so you would expect a bit more oomph. They have a similar display at 2,048 x 1,536 set in a decent sized 9″ screen. It also holds a 4:3 aspect ratio, and allows for double tap waking. Anyone who has had to figure out the perfect timing between too long pressing down a button and too short a time on a typical Android tablet will know how great this is.
It boasts a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processing chip, and a Kepler GPU, but only has 2 GB of RAM. Which seems like a short sighted step back, considering these are from the same line, set in the same general release. Sure, it is HTC and not Motorola, but that is a weird move.
Other than that, there isn’t a lot to say. It has a 6700 mAh battery that should hold up OK, and 8 MP and 1.5 MP rear and front facing cameras. It comes in 16 GB and 32 GB storage options. It has confirmed microSD support…seriously, why did the Nexus 9 get this, and not the Nexus 6? Maddening!
Price and Availability
The prices are high here, folks. The Nexus 6 has an off contract price of $650. No word yet on whether that is the 32 or 64 GB pricetag. That is actually pretty steep, even though the phone itself is really good. Obviously most people aren’t going to be able to swing that without a two year contract with a service provider. Not that that isn’t pretty standard, regardless of brand.
More shocking is Nexus 9. Looking at the specs, it is pretty obvious to see that it isn’t anything special. It has a high resolution, but so do a lot of tablets. It has a good processor, standard GPU, but just enough RAM to run it. So it should have a middle of the road price. But the 16 GB runs $399, and it goes up to $599. That is just way too high for what you’re getting.
I can see the Nexus 6 being so expensive because it is undeniably top of the line for the mobile market as it is today. They have managed to create a device that could actually stand above what has become a smartphone standard that kind of dominates the industry right now.
But the Nexus 9? It has some impressive hardware, sure. But that is pretty much where it ends. They threw it in with otherwise mediocre offerings, and still expect to get up to $600 for it. I would rather buy a small laptop and just carry that around; it would be slightly larger, and have more functions, for less.
All in all, this was a mixed release from Google: one excellent product, one meh product. That is something you don’t expect to see during the exact same launch.