For the most part it really doesn't matter what a Chromecast looks like. It's one of those devices in which what it does truly is the important part, especially since in all likelihood it's going to be tucked behind your TV, out of sight. So it's all the more curious that there are now three colors of Chromecast available in the second incarnation. (Two of the colors — Coral and Lemonade — are only available from Google. Black you'll find anywhere.) On the other hand, sometimes you want something hot and flashy to peek through every now and then.
Nexus phones are all about the freedom of buying without any carrier interaction and just popping your SIM card in, and the new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are no exception. Both phones have a hefty number of radio bands inside, and while they don't have exactly the same set of radios they both have all the bands you need to bring your phone to any conceivable carrier here in the U.S.
Bose today took the wraps off of the latest entry in its wireless speaker lineup, the SoundTouch 10. With the SoundTouch 10, Bose is aiming to shake things up a bit with its wireless multi-room SoundTouch, bringing Bluetooth connectivity to give users another option for streaming from a device. Additionally, Bose has also introduced refreshed versions of its SoundTouch 20 and 30 speakers with Bluetooth, alongside two sounders and home theater systems.
Earlier in September, Google's contextual assistant feature, Now on Tap, became available to those running the Android 6.0 Marshmallow developer preview after a Google app update, but it disappeared shortly after. Following Google's event earlier today, where it once again showed off the feature on stage, it appears that it is now working again for those on the developer preview.
So, Google's big event is done and now the dust is settling a little we can get down to the meat of the matter at hand: pre-ordering. This year we've got twice the number of phones, as in, two, with different hardware configurations and colors, even, to choose from.
Pre-orders for the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are now live in the first launch countries, so we're wondering what you guys went for. Or why you didn't pull the trigger.
A lot has been said in the past few months about mobile OS security and how difficult it is to get updates pushed out in a timely manner. And with the Android 6.0 Marshmallow version launching with the the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P — and coming to a slew of other Nexus devices as updates — Google is doing things one better.
Being transparent about security updates is almost as important as the update itself.
In the wake of serious (but too often overblown) "Stagefright" issue, Google announced that it would begin issuing monthly security updates to its Nexus line. And we've already started to see them. (A minimum of 12 over-the-air updates a year likely will have some interesting implications on its own, but we're also not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.) But new on the Nexus phones at today's launch event was an extra entry in the settings section — a little bit of transparency telling us, the user, when the phone last received a security update, listed under "Android Security Patch Level."
This is more important than a meaningless version number. In plain English (or presumably whatever language your phone is set to) you'll known when you last received one of these monthly updates. No having to decipher a build number. It's just there.
We expect to see this on all Nexus devices in the near future. And hopefully we'll see the other manufacturers implement this same sort of thing as well.
We saw something new from Google today, and I'm not talking about gadgets.
Tech events usually come in two flavors. You get the sterile, bland demonstration of the capabilities of whatever is being announced, or you get an absolute trainwreck with demo fails and horrible attempts at being relatable. Fortunately for those of us who attend these events on a regular basis, there's a lot more of the former than the latter. Our job is to relay that information to you through whichever personal lens we rely on as writers, and really what we all really want is to get hands on whatever is being announced so we can share our thoughts.
Today, we got a look at a third kind of tech event. A Google event, by which I means the kind of event only Google could put on and make work.
It was an exciting, well executed demonstration of what people can expect from this new wave of products.
For any other company, this event would have been a lot of terse, quick demonstrations with just enough in between for applause. It would have been quick, clean, and largely devoid of character — not to mention chock full of old white dudes. We didn't get that from Google today. We got subtle jabs at Apple, meme drops live on stage, some awkward music, and a diverse stage full of talented people with crazy things like accents and colorful outfits and Melanin, as well as a healthy display of colorful Android Wear options.
It may not seem like it at first, but this sort of thing matters to a lot of people. Google didn't stand on stage and call their competitors names or spout misleading stats or insult the way they do business, but more than a couple of moments left the viewer with that "I see what you did there" smile as the presentation continued. At the same time, Google took time to make sure Apple products were included in the presentation and made it clear their services were just as important as their products. Apple is a big part of the mobile ecosystem, and Google both respects and supports people who choose something that isn't Android.
They talked about the purpose of things like the expanded Pixel team, and the explanation didn't feel boilerplate, it felt personal. We got cat memes instead of stock photos, because that's the audience Google is reaching with this kind of presentation and they know it. There was no need to hide behind the dry corporate blandness, this was Google being Google on stage for everyone to see. Demonstrations that make sure to include the global audience so there's no concern that an accent will ruin the voice experience, and a focus on interacting with family and friends through technology.
If nothing else, this event is a nice change of pace from the weirdness that has been Nexus launch events over the last couple of years. Google's got new leadership all over the place this year, and this is the first real event we're seeing with Sundar Pichai at the head of the table. There's a lot to be excited about with today's announcements, but there's also a lot to be excited about when it comes to Google as a company. We've got questions needing to be answered about the Pixel C and where that fits into the Google landscape, but also there needs to be a deeper look at how all of these services are coming together in a way that deserves a name other than deeply integrated.
We'll have lots of time to push those buttons and swipe those screens, but for now it's nice to know Google's refresh goes a whole lot deeper than a colorful new logo.
One of the subtle parts of the Nexus 6P and 5X announcement was that both new phones are ready to use on Project Fi from day one. That's a big deal if you were holding out not wanting to go with a Nexus 6 to use the service, but it's also important to note that it also means you can finance one of the new Nexuses if you're a Fi customer.
OK, so the new Google Pixel C looks very much like the Chromebook Pixel. Same beautiful aluminum. Same sleek lines. This one's decidedly Android, though (thus no "Chromebook" moniker, never mind how many times I type it by mistake), and it very much is in the ilk of the Microsoft Surface and perhaps the new iPad Pro.
It's part tablet, part keyboard, with the two mated by some seriously strong magnets. They'll be available for purchase separately, but we've got a feeling most folks considering the Pixel C will want them together.
Google announced its first Pixel-branded tablet, which runs Android unlike its previous Chromebook Pixels, alongside the Nexus 6P and 5X. The Pixel C is a tablet, not a laptop, but it does convert to a laptop-like form factor with the addition of a clever detachable keyboard.
Unfortunately, not much is known about the Pixel C right now (and we apologize for initial inaccuracies in the post), but we will update the specs below as more information comes from Google.
Pixel C hardware specifications
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
10.2 inches 2560x1800, 308 ppi 500 nit brightness sRGB color gamut
NVIDIA Tegra X1 with Maxwell GPU
32GB or 64GB
Optional Bluetooth wireless keyboard
The latest big Nexus phone has solid build and a lot of promise.
Huawei's first Nexus phone — really, the first Huawei phone anyone in the U.S. is going to care about, if we're being completely honest — is a big one. Not just physically, though the 5.7-inch phone is absolutely big. No, the Nexus 6P is also big in stature. It's a large, well-made, metal Android smartphone. From Huawei. In the U.S. (And other parts of the world, of course.)
So is it a worthy successor to last year's monster Nexus 6? Let's take a quick look following Google's Nexus event today in San Francisco.
Google announced a bunch of new hardware products today, including the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones, the Pixel C tablet and new Chromecast hardware. If you live in the San Francisco area and are quick enough, you can get hands-on with all of these devices today for about an hour before they start shipping.
President of HTC America, Jason Mackenzie, has taken to Twitter this afternoon to announce that Android 6.0 Marshmallow will be coming to a slew of HTC smartphones, with the M8 and M9 to receive the update by the end of the year.
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