Mobile this week: Microsoft Lumia phone; Android 5.0 upgrade plans; Nexus 9 review

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Credit: Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

Microsoft is wasting no time removing the Nokia brand from Lumia phones. The company announced its re-branding intention two weeks ago and is now teasing a new Lumia from Microsoft, suggesting a new phone launch next week.

Microsoft Lumia

Like most of the latest Lumia handsets, it’s likely next week’s debut will not be a high-end handset as Microsoft is smartly focusing on markets with larger growth potential. That means the first Microsoft Lumia will be a low- to mid-range phone with a price to match. Regulatory information in China for the expected phone suggests a generous 5-inch display with 960 x 540 resolution, no LTE support and a meager 8 GB of internal storage, although Windows Phone does support microSD memory cards.

There is a new high-end phone available but it’s not from Microsoft. It’s the Nexus 6, which I’ve been using for the past week and shared my initial impressions here. I’ll have a full review this coming week. It runs Android 5.0 and short of the new Nexus 9 tablet is the only device that currently does.

Nexus 6 landscape

That should be changing soon as Google lines up the software upgrade for Nexus devices. All non-Nexus phones and tablets will have to wait for the device manufacturers to customize the Lollipop software and then work with carriers for testing. It’s not a quick process but some are faster than others. We’ve shared a list of which companies have said they would bring Android 5.0 to their respective mobile devices, along with general timetables: Motorola devices are likely to be the first — after the Nexus line — to see Android 5.0 in an over the air software update.

While most of us are waiting for the newest Google software, you don’t have to wait for the previously mentioned Nexus 9, which is available through Google Play.

nexus 9 sand

 

We took a detailed look at the Nexus 9, which compares favorably to a comparable iPad in terms of hardware: It has a high-resolution 8.9-inch display, dual front-facing speakers and a solid but slightly lacking 8 megapixel camera. If you’re an Android user, you won’t likely regret the $399 purchase, although I’d recommend considering the $479 model for 32 GB of internal storage if you like to carry lots of media with you.

 

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