Google’s New Toys – New Nexii, Pixel C, Marshmallow and Chromecasts

My learned colleague from SMH, Ben Grubb, travelled to San Fransisco for today’s Google Event. I stayed home and watched the stream in my pyjamas. Below are his reports, and my thoughts.

Nexus

The Nexus 5X is made by South Korea’s LG Electronics and the Nexus 6P by China’s Huawei. Both phones feature Google’s new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which is located on the back. They also feature USB Type-C ports, which means charging cables can be inserted into the devices without having to worry about whether they are being inserted the wrong way around.

Both phones look great, but I’m leaning toward the LG built Nexus 5X. At 5.2″, it’s still too damn big for a phone, but a pure android experience with an excellent camera sounds pretty good.

Marshmallow

“The results in Marshmallow are pretty dramatic …. you’ll especially notice the improvements if you leave your device out overnight and forget to charge it. In fact when the screen is off the average battery life lasts 30 per cent longer on the first generation Nexus 5 and 6 devices. These are extraordinary numbers to improve battery life by, purely by our software changes.”

As someone new to Android tablets, this is a god send. Right now, I can’t leave either tablet for a few days in a bag, as I’ve done with all my iPads, and come back to a tablet with charge. I hope Marshmallow is adopted as quickly as Lollipop was by the major players.

Google briefly showed off Google Now on Tap again – the feature I’m most excited to try on my Android phones. The Verge has their list of Marshmallows best new features here.

Google Photos

As a childless heathen, Ben skipped over the improvements to Google Photo. But I’m looking forward to sharing the 800 photos a day I’m taking of our baby girl with my wife and family.

Chromecasts

Google also unveiled a redesigned version of its Chromecast device for streaming web content to TVs and introduced Chromecast Audio, which plugs into almost any type of speakers to stream audio over Wi-Fi. Chromecast Audio, priced at $US35, works with apps including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music. Chromecast competes with the Apple TV set-top box.

Solid updates to Chromecast – nothing we didn’t know from leaks. There’s a new circluar TV dongle thingy, and a cute new audio only Chromecast to plug into your speakers. Spotify, the king of streaming services, now supports all versions of the Chromecast. Google made a point of showing off the Chromecast’s cross platform compatibility – as it did with Google Photos – a clear difference to Apple’s ecosystem.

One really nifty feature is the updated Chromecast app, which promises to search across all installed Chromecast apps on your device for content. So a search for “documentaries” could show you documentaries available on Netflix, SBS On Demand, ABC iView, and Youtube, if developers of those apps take advantage of the new features. Lets hope they do.

Pixel

Google also unveiled a tablet built entirely by the company based on its Android operating system. Called the Pixel C, the tablet will cost $US499 ($713) for the 32 GB model and can be bought with a detachable keyboard, which will cost $US149 ($213)…

The Pixel tablet puts Google in the sights of its biggest competitors, Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which also have optional keyboards.

Great pricing for the high end Pixel brand. In the keynote, the optional keyboard looked fantastic, although Ars Technica seemed less impressed after a hands-on. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Source: Google unveils new LG and Huawei Nexus phones, Google Pixel C tablet, Chromecast devices

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