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BW Businessworld

Google Unloads Its Weaponry For 2015

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Google usually announces new hardware around fall after announcing its major Android update at its annual Google I/O developers conference around summer time. Following its tradition the company made a bunch of new announcements and has introduced some exciting new products which includes the highly anticipated Nexus smartphones, new Chromecasts and a sleek looking Android powered Pixel C convertible tablet. Apart from hardware, Google has also announced official rollout dates for Android Marshmallow, updates to Google Music streaming service and the Chromecast app.
 
Nexus 5X and 6P
As the rumours suggested, Google announced two new smartphones in the Nexus lineup and since it has got almost all the numbers covered, it has named them the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P. The Nexus 6P is a direct successor to the last year’s Moto Nexus 6 and this year it is made by Chinese OEM, Huawei. It is also the first Nexus smartphone with a fully metal body. The features of the smartphone include a 5.7-inch QHD (2560x1440) AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, a new 12.3MP rear and an 8MP front HDR-enabled camera, USB Type-C port with fast charging, a 3450mAh battery and of course a rear mounted fingerprint scanner which Google calls 'Nexus Imprint.' The Nexus 6P will come in three colour options, Aluminum, Frost, Graphite with prices starting at $499 (Rs. 32,000) for the 32GB version while the 64GB model is $549 (Rs. 36,000), and the 128GB model priced at $649 (Rs. 42,000)
 
 
The Nexus 5X is an update to the Nexus 5 and is yet again made by LG. This has a slightly lesser powerful, yet a respecteable list of specifications that includes a 5.2-inch full-HD (2560x1440) display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 six-core processor, 2GB of RAM, the same 12.3MP rear and an 8MP front camera combo as the Nexus 6P, a USB Type-C port with fast charging, a 2700mAh battery and the same rear mounted fingerprint scanner. The Nexus 5X will also come in three colour options Carbon, Quartz and Ice with prices starting at $379 (Rs. 25,000) for the 16GB version  $429 (Rs. 28,000) for the 32GB version. 
 
Pre-orders for the both the devices begin today from the Google Store in the US, UK, Japan and Ireland from today with other countries to follow soon. The Google Store is now officially highlighting the new devices and prices start at Rs. 31,900 for the 5X and Rs. 39,999 for the 6P.
 
Chromecast
The Chromecast streaming device has been Google’s most popular and efficient devices ever since it was launched in 2013 and it was high time that the company brought something new. Google introduced an all new Chromecast which has a brand new design with an HDMI cable running out of a round compact disc that is easy to carry around. The updated version has a faster hardware and supports 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz connections. It will also be coming two new colours, yellow and red apart from the standard black. The new Chromecast app was also shown off which will be more intuitive and offer a huge range of app support including Spotify, as well as better recommendations and faster predictions. 
 
 
Also, there is the Chromecast Audio. This version of the Chromecast aims at converting any speaker into a streaming device. It can easily hook onto a speaker via a standard 3.5mm audio jack and through Wi-Fi you it will let users stream any sort of music wirelessly. Google says that it is better than Bluetooth as it doesn’t require any pairing and doesn’t interrupt the experience when one gets a phone call or notification. Users will also be able to easily control the music via any device on the same network from any app that the users is playing the music from. Both the Chromecasts will retain the price tag of $35 (Rs. 2,500) and will be available from the Google Store and other retail partners next month. 
 
Pixel C
Google had announced a high end Chromebook earlier this year called the Pixel Chromebook which brought in high-end design and hardware the Chromebook lineup. While Chromebooks are slowly gaining popularity, they are still not the best productive devices. Keeping the DNA of the Pixel alive, the company showed off a very slick looking convertible tablet called the Pixel C. Running on the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow update, the tablet will come with a thin metal design and a keyboard that sticks to the main tablet via magnets. The keyboard itself is quite innovative as it comes with a stand where the tablet can stick and be tilted to any angle.
 
 
It will also be charged via the tablet through induction and would never require an external power source. Other features of the tablet include USB-Type C port, a 10-inch display with 2560x1800 resolution display with 308ppi, an NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor with Maxwell GPU, and 3GB of RAM. The Pixel C will be available in the coming months starting at $499 (Rs. 32,000) for the 32GB version and $599 (Rs. 38,000) for the 64GB version. The keyboard on its own will cost about $149 (Rs. 9,600) 
 
Google Music
Following the footsteps of Apple, Google updated its music streaming service and introduced a family plan where up to six members of your family will be able to access Google’s library of songs at $14.99 (Rs. 960). Sadly though the Google Music streaming service has not officially launched in India but there is a high possibility that Google might announce it soon as Apple Music has been making a buzz in the country. 
 
Android Marshmallow
Google didn’t announce any new features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but gave a brush up of the new features that are expected to arrive and which will be featured on the new Nexus smartphones including Google Now on Tap, new app permissions, Doze battery saving feature and more. The update will hit owners of the Nexus 5, 6, 7, 9 and the Nexus player from next week.
 
 
With its new products, Google is going back to its roots. It has made a point that they don’t want to aim for flagship devices or premium services, rather the focus is on providing a great experience at an affordable cost. The new Nexus smartphones look promising and the Pixel C tablet just might be the Nexus tablet that we deserve.