Hey, Apple and Amazon… Google This!
Google joined the fall hardware fashion show last week, hot on the heels of new product announcements by Apple and Amazon. The search giant is signaling it’s serious about flexing its muscles in the realm of tangible goods. Read on to learn about Google's new gadgets, and how they intend to compete...
Google's Fall 2015 Hardware Releases
Following Apple’s hyper-hyped launch of new iPhones and Apple TV, and Amazon’s refresh of its Fire tablets and streaming devices, Google rolled out two new smartphones, an updated Chromecast streaming video device, a totally new audio-only streaming device, and a convertible Chromebook/tablet.
The Nexus 6P is Google’s latest flagship “pure Android” smartphone. Its star feature is a 12.3 Mpixel camera with low-light optimization. The all-aluminum chassis houses a 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display, USB-C port, and front-facing stereo speakers.
A fingerprint scanner has been added – on the back, unlike most other phones. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, the Nexus 6P starts at $499 with 32 GB of storage.
Smaller in size and price, the Nexus 5X is an update of the Nexus 5. It includes the same camera, USB-C port, fingerprint scanner, and aluminum chassis as its big brother, but starts at $379 with 16 GB of storage and a compact 5.2-inch screen.
The Nexus 5X and 5P are serious competition for the latest iPhone 6 models from Apple, as well as the Samsung Galaxy 6 lineup. Amazon seems to have bowed out of the smartphone arena after the miserable failure of the Fire Phone.
Orders for either Nexus phone placed by October 25 qualify for a $50 Google Play credit, which must be used by December 21. Oh, and both of these new Nexus phones will work with Project Fi, the hybrid WiFi-cellular mobile phone service that Google has begun to roll out.
“Marshmallow,” the latest version of Android, will ship with the new Nexus phones. Marshmallow will also be rolled out to existing Nexus phones over coming weeks.
Bring It to The Big Screen
Google has sold over 20 million of its Chromecast streaming video devices which look much like USB thumb drives. The deal with Chromecast is that you can "cast" what's on your laptop, tablet or Android mobile device to a big-screen HD TV. That includes Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, Pandora, and pretty much anything else that can be displayed in your Chrome browser.
The updated Chromecast is now a disc with a short HDMI cable coming out of its edge. It dangles from an HDMI port instead of sticking out awkwardly. Google says the new Chromecast provides better streaming of high-resolution videos. Available in black,
yellow Lemonade, or orange Coral, Chromecast is still only $35. New Chromecast apps include Showtime, NFL Sunday Ticket and CW Seed.
The Chromecast Audio looks nearly identical to the Chromecast. Use the included 3.5 mm audio cable to plug it into the AUX port of any speaker, and you have a WiFi-enabled streaming music device. A new Spotify app is included in the $35 price.
Some Competition for Surface and iPad
Wired is calling the new Chromebook Pixel C (for “convertible”) Google's answer to the iPad Pro. But the Pixel C is also a wholly Google-made competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro. The Pixel C is a $499 tablet with a 10.2 inch screen, smaller than the 12 inches of the Surface Pro and iPad Pro. But the Pixel C’s resolution is 2560-by-1800 compared to the Surface 3's 1920-by-1080. Inside the Pixel C is an Nvidia Tegra X1 mobile processor with a Maxwell-based GPU, 3 GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of storage. A USB-C port is used for power charging as well as USB functions.
Another $149 buys a keyboard that turns the Pixel C into a Chromebook that costs a total of $648. The Pixel C will be available “in the coming months,” says Google. By comparison, a Surface Pro with keyboard runs $630, but it can also run Windows business apps that Android can’t. Apple's iPad Pro with optional keyboard starts at $969. Of course it can't run Windows either, but that's becoming less important as apps move to the cloud.
What's your opinion of the new Google gadgets? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 1 Oct 2015
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Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved