As expected, Google has officially launched the latest Nexus devices without a great deal of fanfare. Google’s Nexus line centers around developer-oriented devices running pure Android. They’re not usually sales leaders, but since they are essentially built to Google Android developer demands, they’re a great choice for enthusiasts and a good sign of where the Android platform is headed in the next year.
The new Nexus phone is called the Nexus 6 — which is logically the number after last year’s Nexus 5, but also refers to its 6-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 display. It’s made by Motorola and has a striking similarity to this year’s Moto X, only stretched a little bit. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chip, which is a very fast chip with an excellent Adreno 420 GPU, but it’s also a 32-bit chip so Lollipop won’t be running in 64-bit mode on this device.
The Qualcomm chip also allows the Nexus 6 to take advantage of Motorola’s Quick Charging feature, which means the Nexus 6 can fill up six hours of usage in 15 minutes of charging. The battery is big too, checking in at 3220 mAh, so the Nexus 6 should be able to last a full day of heavy usage.
The new Nexus tablet is the Nexus 9. Counterintuitively, it’s a sequel to the Nexus 10, which was Google’s first big Nexus tablet when it launched two years ago. It’s made by HTC and it’s got a fancy metal build, similar to the HTC One M8.
The key to the Nexus 9 is that it’s Google’s 64-bit reference device, thanks to its Nvidia Tegra K1 chipset. This is a high-powered tablet, with a 8.9-inch 2048 x 1536 display, 2GB of RAM and an estimated nine hours of battery life.
Note that the aspect ratio is 4:3, instead of the 16:9 screens previous Nexus tablets have had installed. That’s because the Nexus 9 is more work-oriented than other tablets have been in the past, and Google is even releasing a keyboard attachment — a lot like the ones for the Microsoft Surface — to emphasize the focus on productivity.
As for availability, both of these devices will be on store shelves before this holiday season. The Nexus 6, unlike previous Nexus devices which Google sold directly, will be available from the carriers. Sprint has announced they’ll carry it (perhaps making up for the fact it won’t get the Moto X) and based on a mistaken posting, looks like AT&T will be selling it as well. The Nexus 6 page also lists T-Mobile as a store which will sell the Nexus 6.
Pre-orders start on October 29.
The question is pricing. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Nexus 6 will cost $650 unlocked for 32GB of storage or $700 for 64GB of storage. That’s more expensive than the Nexus 5, which cost $350 unlocked when it was released, but still manages to undercut Apple’s $750 iPhone 6 Plus by a little. As for subsidies, AT&T’s online store had the Nexus 6 listed at $50 with a two-year contract before the listing was pulled.
The Nexus 9 will be available for pre-order on October 17 and will officially go on sale on November 3rd. It’s not a cheap tablet: The entry-level 16GB version will cost $399, and the most expensive LTE-enabled version will cost nearly $600.
Google also announced a streaming media box called the Nexus Player, which is the first Android TV device.
This post has been updated with pricing information for the Nexus 6.