Google has officially announced the rumoured Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X at a product launch event in San Francisco. The firm also unveiled the Pixel C, a 10.2in tablet spin-off from the Chromebook Pixel range, which Google says is “focused on productivity.”
In addition, Google confirmed that Android 6.0 Marshmallow will launch on Nexus devices next week, and also announced two new version of its Chromecast streaming dongle.
The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, built by Huawei and LG respectively, will both launch with the latest Android Marshmallow operating system pre-installed. The Nexus 6P is Google’s newest flagship device, boasting a 5.7in WQHD AMOLED Gorilla Glass 4 display, a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM.
It also includes an integrated fingerprint sensor, one USB-C port, an aluminium unibody, a 3,450mAh battery, an 8MP front camera and a 12.3MP rear camera with 4K video capability. It will launch with 32GB, 64GB and 128GB models available, all measuring 159x78x9.3mm and weighing 178g.
This makes the Nexus 6P slightly smaller, but considerably better-equipped, than the current Nexus 6, which features a 6in display but no fingerprint sensor and a standard microUSB port.
The Nexus 5X is even more compact. Its FHD display is 5.2in diagonally, and the battery capacity is a more modest 2,700mAh but it also packs a fingerprint sensor and USB-C port. As initially indicated by a leaked slideshow, it runs a 1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 2GB of RAM, and is equipped with the same 4K video-capable 12.3MP camera as the Nexus 6P, along with a 5MP front camera. The Nexus 5X measures 147x73x7.9mm, weighs 136g and will be sold in 16GB and 32GB varieties.
Both smartphones are due to launch “later in October,” and will be sold unlocked. The Nexus 6P will start at £449, while the Nexus 5X will start at £349.
Set to take on the iPad Pro, the Pixel C is a 10.2in, USB-C-equipped convertible tablet which Google says is designed as a productivity aid. As such, it can be fitted with a “full size” detachable keyboard add-on, which uses magnets to prop up the tablet when in use or snapping onto its back when not. It features a 2560×1800 display, Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, Maxwell GPU and 3GB of RAM.
The Pixel C will launch “in time for the holidays” this year, and will cost $499 for a 32GB model and $599 for a 64GB model – with the keyboard attachment selling separately at $149.
The three devices are Google’s first major product reveals since it was restructured to form a division of Alphabet, a new parent company with Google co-founder Larry Page as CEO. “This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside Google,” Page said at the time.
Following the Nexus announcements, Google turned its attention to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the upcoming update to its mobile and tablet OS and replacement for the current 5.1 Lollipop version. Marshmallow was confirmed to begin rolling out to existing Nexus devices from next week, with the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player being the first to receive the upgrade. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 were not mentioned.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow introduces new features like native biometrics and USB-C support, improved Android for Work functionality, a revamped battery saver mode named ‘Doze’ and more options for customising app permissions.
Google used the Nexus launch event to detail a few more additions, such as an App Search bar and A-Z indexing scheme in the apps drawer, a Fast Charging Mode for use with USB-C and the ability for third-party app developers to integrate “conversational” voice controls into their apps.
Finally, two new variants of Google’s streaming dongle were unveiled at the event: an updated Chromecast and Chromecast Audio. The new Chromecast works as the original did, by plugging into a TV’s HDMI port and streaming from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC, but supposedly allows for higher-resolution streaming with less buffering. It also has a thinner form factor, which Google says will help it plug into crowded ports.
Chromecast Audio is designed to plug into home stereo systems, desktop speakers and radios instead of a TV, but still streams music and other audio from the user’s device over WiFi. Both the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio are out now and cost £30.