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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nexus 6P & Nexus 5X Loaded With Features, Not Bloatware [Google Event Recap]

Confirming recent rumors, Google announced two new smartphones at its media event earlier this week. The two devices, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P come with a lot of new features, some of which are already present in competing devices.

But Google was clear in mentioning bloatware and how they've made a conscious effort to reduce applications that are not required. This ensures the purest user experience right out of the box.

Here is a summary of everything Google announced on September 29...

1. Google Nexus 6P

Google's flagship smartphone is a worthy upgrade for its existing Nexus 6. This year's model is manufactured by Huawei and features a full metal body, a new fingerprint sensor called Imprint, and a USB-C port (same as the one in the new MacBook).

The phone has two cameras - a 12.3 megapixel rear sensor made by Sony, and a 8 megapixel front-facer for the best selfies in town. It will be available in frost white, aluminum, and graphite and begin at $499.

Preorders have now begun in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan while the device will ship later this month. To preorder, visit the Google Store.

2. Google Nexus 5X

The smaller of the two new smartphones, the Nexus 5X, is manufactured by LG. It features a 5.2-inch display, fingerprint sensor on the back, and USB-C port which is capable of charging either device twice as quickly as the iPhone 6s Plus.

The Nexus 5X will be available in three colors - Carbon, Quartz, and Ice. The device is priced at a reasonable $379 and is currently on preorder with a late October shipping date.

3. Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Google announced that the latest version of its mobile operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, will begin rolling out next week. As usual, the various Android devices will have to depend on their manufacturer and/or carrier to make the update available. But Google's current Nexus devices will be the first ones to get the update.

The newly announced Nexus 5X and 6P will both ship with Marshmallow.

Some of the new features in Marshmallow include: better notifications, improved battery life (by 30% in some cases), and better privacy controls. Google also announced a new feature called Now on Tap, which integrated Google searches and voice controls into individual apps.

4. New Chromecast 2

Google updated its television accessory with the announcement of Chromecast 2. The device will support dual-band wi-fi (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) connections and will be available in three colors - red, yellow, and black.

Chromecast 2 looks like a small disc and has an in-built HDMI cable which will eliminate the need to carry a separate HDMI cable when you travel. The included cable also allow for easier connection to the television.

The price? Google has managed to maintain the amazing low price point for Chromcast 2 at $35. It is available for sale right now from the Google Store.

The Chromecast app also received an update. The most interesting feature is "Fast Play" which caches select videos from various streaming sources, allowing you to begin playing them instantly. No more buffering!

Chromecast will also add some new streaming options like Showtime, Sling TV, NBA, NHL and Spotify.

5. Chromecast Audio

Like Chromecast 2, Chromecast Audio is designed specifically for your audio system. With Chromecast Audio you can take any speaker system in your house online, allowing you to wirelessly stream audio content to it. And the best part is, it doesn't work over Bluetooth.

Chromecast Audio has wi-fi connectivity and includes an Audio cable (3.5mm, RCA or optical). Just plug it in to your speaker system, connect to the same wi-fi network as your phone, and start streaming your favorite tunes. And you can even synchronize multiple Chromecast Audio units to work simultaneously.

The device is also priced attractively at only $35 and could become instantly popular as it works with Android, iOS and Chrome OS.

6. Google Play Music Family Plan

Similar to Apple Music's Family Plan, Google Play Music will now offer a $14.99 per month plan for up to 6 members of your family. Google has even introduced a "Family Photos" feature for sharing your pictures with family and friends using Google Photos. A lot of new features in Google Photos will start rolling out in the next few days.

7. Pixel C

Microsoft was the first manufacturer to offer a tablet (Microsoft Surface) with a dedicated keyboard attachment. Then came Apple with its recently announced iPad Pro which looks quite similar to the Surface, dare I say. And now its Google's turn with Pixel C.

Although Google only gave a sneak preview of its upcoming tablet, there was enough information to suggest it's a competitor for the Surface and iPad Pro. Pixel C features a keyboard attachment, although it connects to the tablet using Bluetooth.

There are no physical connection ports between the two eliminating "unsightly connection ports" on the tablet, according to Google. The keyboard attaches to the tablet via strong magnets.

Pixel C will be available in time for the holidays and will be price at $499. The keyboard will cost an additional $149.

8. Project Fi

Google's invite-only wireless connection for your smartphone received a mention at the event. The wireless network service combines wi-fi and major cell networks like Sprint and T-Mobile to provide users the best connection at all times.

Services start at $20 per month for text and calling plans, plus an additional $10 per GB of data. It is currently available only on the Nexus 6 but the new Nexus 5X and 6P will also get the Project Fi option.

9. Conspicuous by it's absence - Android Auto and/or Self-Driving Cars

Google made no mention in any improvements to Android Auto in Marshmallow. The self-driving car announcement was a long shot!

Source: Google

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