A mockup of the Nexus 6. (Android Police)
It looks like Apple won’t be the only company to unveil new tablets, smartphones, operating system updates, and smartwatch goodies by the end of the year. It appears that Google has a lot to show us, too.
Sources have pointed to an Oct. 15 Google announcement, where the tech giant is expected to introduce a bunch of new gadgets and software. Here’s what to expect.
Nexus 6 smartphone
The latest report from The Wall Street Journal has us all but convinced that Google will release a huge sequel to its Nexus 5 (called either the Nexus 6 or Nexus X) sometime in October. The phone is reportedly a giant beast of a phablet that outsizes even the large new iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6 features a 5.5-inch screen; the Nexus 6 is rumored to pack a 5.9-inch screen. You can see what is allegedly the device below.
Motorola is said to be the manufacturer tapped by Google to make the phone, and “leaked” pictures provided by the traditionally on-point news site Android Police show what looks a lot like a blown-up Moto X.
Google’s commissioning of the Nexus line of products began more than four years ago as a way for the company to showcase a “pure” Android software experience on smartphone and tablet hardware of its choosing. Unlike Apple’s iOS mobile software, Google’s is open to being modified by the companies that build gadgets with it. This freedom has given way to many Android versions on the market being augmented with manufacturer design tweaks, feature overload, and app “bloatware” — all things for which our columnist David Pogue has criticized Samsung’s Android Galaxy devices.
With recent Nexus releases, Google has emphasized quality and cost, selling unlocked models directly from its online Play store at lower profit points and free from cell carrier contract plans.
Nexus 9 tablet
Google has already released a 7-inch tablet (Nexus 7) and a 10-inch tablet (the Nexus 10), both of which broadly match up against Apple’s iPad mini and iPad Air. Now Google will reportedly introduce the 9-inch Nexus 9, this according to several reports.
HTC will reportedly manufacture the tablet, marking the company’s return to the Nexus program after building the founding father Nexus One smartphone in 2010. The above picture, an alleged leak of the rear of the device, was posted by the now-deleted Twitter account @upleaks.
Google already gave us a look at its Android “L” release during the 2014 I/O developer conference this summer. Its Android KitKat (version 4.4) follow-up, which, as each major version is given a dessert-themed moniker, may formally be called Android 5.0 “Lollipop” or “Licorice” at launch, marks one of the largest design changes in the history of Google’s mobile OS.
Though no formal date of upgrade availability was given at the time of the “L” sneak peak, we will almost certainly see a full release of Android L at the same time as the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9. Google has almost always sent out its new versions of Android hand in hand with a Nexus device launch.
A recently “leaked” video of Android L running on a Galaxy S5 shows software that looks nearly good to go. Non-Nexus phones and tablets, however, typically receive the new version of Android months after Google releases it — the device manufacturers have to build their own software on top of it, and then your phone carrier has to install its own apps.
Owners of devices sold out of the Google Play store, however, will likely experience a more iOS-type upgrade at the time Google sends it out, and should be able to download Android L this month.
Android Wear 2.0
Android’s smartwatch operating system is still only months old, but the company has already promised that new features will come by the end of the year.
Oct. 15, according to Android Police, could be the day Google drops what might be called “Android Wear 2.0.” Though the particular features included in the purported “2.0” are not so certain, plenty of rumored things like Bluetooth headset compatibility, increased battery life, and standalone GPS functionality have been buzzed about. A teardown of the code inside Android’s latest version of the Wear smartphone app leads analysts to believe that more phone controls and the ability to pay at the register using your watch are also on the way.
The most important inside info we can give is that you should keep a close eye on Yahoo Tech in the next few days, because we’ll have all the Google Android news for you as it happens.
Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me something funny? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.