Google’s senior vice president of Android and Chrome, Sundar Pichai, took to the blogosphere this week to announce a bevy of new software and hardware. Android L, now confirmed as Android ‘Lollipop,’ marks version 5.0 of the Android OS and is available today to developers to preview (although Google did not confirm when the final, public release will be). Under its Nexus flagship, Google has released the Nexus 6 in collaboration with Motorola and the HTC Nexus 9 Tablet.
Pichai first unveiled Android L at the Google I/O this past June, when developers learned that this latest iteration is stacked with over 5,000 new APIs, a new battery-saving runtime called ART, overall better performance, and a new interface called Material Design.
Lollipop has the same modus operandi that we’ve seen trending all over tech this year: device parity. Material Design is about bringing consistency to the multi-device world, and it’s a clever way of breeding brand-loyalty. After all, with Lollipop syncing seamlessly across your devices, why would an Android user on the market for a new tablet buy an iPad? With Apple and Windows adopting similar strategies with their newer software releases, it seems the divide between OS-loyal users is growing wider than ever. But we’re not complaining! This trend provides a better user experience for everyone, so what’s not to love?
“With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.” – Sundar Pichai, googleblog
We talked a little bit about what developers should know about Android L in June. The features that might appeal more to users include a new ‘battery saver’ feature that can keep your device running on near-empty for up to 90 minutes. Lollipop also comes with an option for multiple user accounts and even a guest mode, which is great for families that share their tablets, or even employees that belong to a BYOD company.
Lollipop should roll out to some older Nexus devices some time through the month of November, and Motorola, Sony and HTC are working on update plans as well. Of course, the OS will come pre-installed on the newest Nexus devices. Curious? Take a look below.
Motorola Nexus 6
The phablet-sized Nexus 6 is Google’s biggest smartphone to date – with a whopping 6-inch display, it’s bigger than the Galaxy Note 4 and the iPhone 6 Plus. It has a Quad HD display to keep the images sharp in spite of its size, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and either 32 or 64 GB of internal storage. Aesthetically, the phone features a contoured aluminum frame that comes in either navy blue or silver. Pricing starts at $649 unlocked, but of course will be available for a discount on contract with ATT, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular. Pre-orders start October 29th.
HTC Nexus 9
Google built the Nexus 9 tablet in collaboration with HTC to deploy with Lollipop. The tablet isn’t that much larger than their smartphone, at 8.9-inch display (though this is due more in part to the smartphone being HUGE). Undoubtedly built as competition to Apple’s new iPad Air 2, the Nexus 9 is only 7.9 millimeters thin, and is designed with an appealing curvature and soft grip that Google touts as “fit for your hand.” Options are available for 16 and 32 GB of storage, with pricing starting at $399.