Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Android Wear

The official Android 5.0 Lollipop upgrade for your phone may be weeks away, but Google has delivered all the ingredients for you to make Lollipop-ready apps. The search firm has released both the finished Lollipop developer kit and a fresh batch of stripped-down Android test releases for Nexus 5 and 7 devices. There’s also a new round of Material Design guidelines and assets to make sure apps look at home in Google’s flatter aesthetic. This won’t help much if you just want to try all the whiz-bang features, but you’ll definitely want to hit the source links if you’re a software creator.

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Via: Matias Duarte (Google+)

Source: Android Developers Blog

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Motorola's examples of phones getting Android 5.0 Lollipop

If you’re a die-hard Android fan, you’re probably champing at the bit waiting for that Lollipop upgrade — when will you get it? Are you going to get it? Thankfully for you, a number of companies have already promised to upgrade some of their devices to this candy-flavored OS. Google’s Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10 models are naturally first in line, as are Android One and Google Play Edition hardware; its outgoing Motorola brand is equally on top of things with plans to patch the Moto E, G and X alongside Verizon’s Droid Mini, Maxx and Ultra. HTC and OnePlus don’t have full details, but they’re both pledging to give their recent flagships a taste of Lollipop within 90 days of receiving finished code. NVIDIA and Sony, meanwhile, are being a bit vague. While they’re respectively teasing plans to update the Shield Tablet and the Xperia Z series, they won’t say exactly when just yet; Sony has committed to the “beginning of 2015″ for Z2 and Z3 models.

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Via: TechRadar, MobileBurn

Source: HTC (Twitter), Motorola, Sony Mobile Blog

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Microsoft’s personal assistant is improving at an incredible rate. The latest update to Cortana brings new contextual app suggestions, evening glance, flight info and more. Read more…

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Apple has chosen to focus on the iPad’s camera abilities with the upcoming Air 2 (we wish they wouldn’t) and apparently, finally snagged Flickr’s attention. Yahoo’s photo sharing service somehow managed to beat Instagram to the punch so perhaps the introduction of its first iPad-ready app (four years after Apple’s slate arrived) isn’t that late. So what’s in the (now universal) Flickr iOS app? iPad-optimized layouts for members to browse pictures whether their own or others that “cascade in a lovely waterfall format.” If you must take a picture with your tablet, the app can record photos or videos with live filters and a full suite of editing tools. It requires iOS 8 to work, and some of the upgrades that stretch across devices include support for the new sharing extensions, photo detail editing and a new unified search. The update is live in the app store now, and of course there’s no time like 3AM ET on a Saturday to give it a try.

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Source: iTunes, Flickr Blog

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Nexus 9 is now up for pre-order on Amazon, but it will be a few weeks before the device lands on your doorstep. Just to torment you, here’s another hands-on video with the HTC-made tablet, from a Thai channel.

The video is a bit less fancy that the one we’ve shown you yesterday, but the straightforward editing helps with getting an idea about the table’s performance. Spoiler: it’s flawless. We spotted no instance of lag in the 4-minute video, and we were particularly impressed with the speed and smoothness of the new recent apps interface.

We also get a peek at the Nexus 9’s official origami case, which connects magnetically to the device and features folds that let you easily uncover and open the camera app, as you can see around the 3:10 mark.

Impressed with what you’ve seen so far?


Source: Phones Amazing;

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Nexus 9 vs iPad

Consumers looking for a new tablet in time for Christmas are going to be spoiled for choice this year. In the space of just two days we’ve seen the launch of the new high-end Nexus 9, iPad Mini 3, and iPad Air 2. So let’s break down exactly what each tablet has to offer.

For starters, let’s take a peek at the hardware that each tablet is packing and if it’s a good deal for the price.

 
Nexus 9
iPad Mini 3
iPad Air 2
Price $399 – $599 $399 – $728 $499 – $829
Display 8.9″ 7.9″ 9.7″
Resolution 2048×1536 (281ppi) 2048×1536 (326ppi) 2048×1536 (264ppi)
SoC 2.3GHz Tegra K1 1.3GHz A7 unspecified A8X
RAM 2GB 1GB 1GB
Memory 16GB / 32GB 16 / 64 / 128GB 16 / 64 / 128GB
Battery 6700 mAh (9.5 hours WiFi browsing) 23.8 watt/h (10 hours WiFi browsing) 27.3 watt/h (10 hours WiFi browsing)

The Nexus 9 sits right in between the two new iPad tablets, in terms of size, and the bump up in resolution for the Nexus 9 means that display clarity will be pretty evenly matched across all three tablets. Given the iPad Mini 3’s slightly smaller size, and therefore higher PPI, it will probably look ever so slightly sharper, but the same applies when you look at the Nexus 9 compared with the Air 2.

On the processing side of things, it’s a little tough to compare Apple’s SoCs directly to the Nexus 9. We’re yet to see how the new Nvidia Denver CPU cores in the Nexus 9’s Tegra K1 perform in the real world, but early benchmarks have shown that the new Tegra K1 outpaces the iPhone 6’s Apple A8 in single and multi-core performance. The 1GB RAM amount is also an interesting choice for the Apple tablets, as more demanding applications and environments that make use of the SoC’s horsepower could end up strangled by the limited amount of memory.

Nexus 9 Keyboard

Graphical power is another area where the Nexus 9 should compete well in. Nvidia’s Kepler architecture has already proven formidable in the mobile space. Similarly, Apple’s A8 chip offers up impressive graphics performance and the A8X apparently offers up more horsepower still, but it could be a much closer call between the Nexus and Air tablets this time around. The older A7 chip in the smaller Mini 3 is perhaps a little disappointing by comparison, given that’s its the same chip that powered that last generation Mini 2.

Performance looks to be a close run race, so we’ll turn to some of the tablets’ other features.

 
Nexus 9
iPad Mini 3
iPad Air 2
Rear camera 8MP, f/2.4 5MP, f/2.4 8MP, f/2.4
Front camera 1.6MP, f/2.4 1.2MP 1.2MP, f/2.2
Data WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE WiFi / LTE
Speakers Dual Front Stereo Stereo
MicroSD No No No
Fingerprint Scanner No Yes Yes
Weight 425g 341g 444g

The Nexus 9, iPad Mini 3, and Air 2 all come in both WiFi and LTE options, with the latter feature adding to the price tags quite significantly. The 32GB LTE Nexus 9 will set you back $599, while a comparable LTE iPad Mini 3 costs $529 or $629, depending on storage, and $629 or $729 for the Air 2.

As for cameras, again it’s a very close call on paper.  The Nexus 9 looks to compete with the more expensive iPad Air’s 8MP rear and front camera options, and will offer higher resolution snaps than the Mini 3. The f/2.4 aperture should result in similar levels of performance in low light conditions between all of the tablet cameras. Although we’ll have to do some hands on tests for a more definitive answer here.

ipad-air-2

The iPad range has a wider selection of storage options, which helps offset the lack of microSD card support across all the tablets. Although you will pay a hefty fee for the 128GB options. 32GB should see people through a large enough collection of music and films for your trips out, but a 64GB Nexus option would have been nice.

As for some unique features, the Nexus 9’s dual facing front speakers will provide a better stereo sound when watching moves, whereas the iPad’s two speakers are both located at the bottom end. Apple’s TouchID fingerprint security system is embedded into its new tablets, which is a nice feature for the security conscious.

Time to choose

The Nexus 9’s hardware appears to go toe-to-toe with the much more expensive iPad Air 2, but is aggressively priced against the smaller and slightly cut-down iPad Mini 3. The smaller range of memory choices might be a problem for some, but other than that there’s very little to fault with the Nexus 9.

Your preference for Android or iOS has probably already made up your mind for you. Even so, there’s no denying that the Nexus 9 is a really high-end piece of kit that easily justifies its price tag. Of course, there are other high-end Android tablets which might suite your needs too.

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Android 5.0 has been announced, although not all devices will get the new OS. Google’s Nexus range will get the update first – but just which Nexus devices will actually get a lick of the Lollipop? Read more…

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The LG G3 Vigor is the mid-tier sibling of the LG G3. Similar in looks and possessing the coveted Laser Auto Focus feature, can this mid-range handset reign supreme? Read more…

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Alcatel One Touch Pop 7

When Vodafone announced its first own-brand LTE tablet, the £125 Smart Tab 4G, earlier this week, it suddenly made EE’s £209 Eagle look a little pricey. Knowing that cost is key in the lead-up to Christmas, the UK’s biggest carrier isn’t resting on its laurels and has shot back a its rival by pricing its latest 4G tablet even lower. At £99, the vibrant Alcatel ONE TOUCH Pop 7S, is the UK’s most affordable pay-as-you-go 4G slate, according to EE, and comes with a 7-inch WSVGA 1024 x 600 display, Android 4.3 (Android 4.4 KitKat available via an OTA update), a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8926 processor, 1GB of RAM, 3-megapixel rear and 0.3 front facing cameras, 8GB storage (with microSD support) and a 3240 mAh battery. The operator will also throw in 100MB of free data every month with every 4G tablet bought between now and January 31st, sweetening the deal for parents or bargain hunters looking for a cheap connected tablet.

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Via: EE

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Nexus 9 official press (2)

At 8.9 inches, the Nexus 9 sits right in-between the portable 8 inch form factor and the larger 10 inch varieties. Compared with the previous Nexus tablets, the Nexus 9 features a lot of cutting edge hardware, which we’ll delve right on into.

By the numbers

Just like the newly announced Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 9 tablet comes with some top of the line hardware and easily competes with the biggest brands in the business. The 2048×1536 display keeps the larger tablet looking as crisp as its 1080p 8-inch rivals, but Samsung’s tablet range still retains a healthy lead when it comes to display clarity and quality.

 
Nexus 9
Galaxy TabPRO 8.4
Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Screen 8.9″ 8.4″ 8″
Resolution 2048×1536 (281ppi) 2560×1600 (359ppi) 1920×1200 (283ppi)
SoC Tegra K1 (64-bit) Snapdragon 800 Snapdragon 801
CPU 2x Nvidia Denver Cores 4x 2.3GHz Krait 400 4x 2.5GHz Krait 400
GPU Kepler 1 SMX GPU Adreno 330 Adreno 330
RAM 2GB 2GB 3GB
Storage 16GB / 32GB 16GB / 32GB 16GB
MicroSD no 64GB 128GB
Rear Camera 8MP 8MP 8.1MP
Front Camera 1.6MP 2MP 2.2MP
Battery 6700mAh 4800mAh 4500mAh

On the inside, the inclusion of NVidia’s new 64-bit Denver CPU cores sets the Nexus 9 apart from the pack. As well as being the first to 64-bit support, the Denver design goes back to a dual-core setup rather than the common quad-core arrangement. But don’t let that fool you, the new Nvidia design apparently packs a lot of punch per CPU core. The real concern is how well the tablet will manage in multi-tasking scenarios and if NVidia’s ARMv8 translation approach proves efficient enough to reach its performance potential.

The 64-bit Tegra K1 chip keeps the same Kepler GPU architecture found in the Nvidia Shield tablet, which packs in plenty of power for all your tablet gaming needs. The extra display resolution might hinder performance somewhat compared with the Shield tablet, but performance should compete with Samsung’s high-end tablets.

 
Galaxy Tab S
Nvidia Shield
G Pad 8.3
Screen 8.4″ 8″ 8.3″
Resolution 2560×1600 (359ppi) 1920×1200 (283ppi) 1920×1200 (273ppi)
SoC Snapdragon 800 / Exynos 5420 Tegra K1 (32-bit) Snapdragon 600
CPU 4x 2.3GHz Krait 400 / 4x 1.9GHz Cortex-A15 & 4x 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 4x 2.2GHz Cortex-A15 4x 1.7GHz Krait 300
GPU Adreno 330 / Mali-T628MP6 Kepler 1 SMX GPU Adreno 320
RAM 3GB 2GB 2GB
Storage 16GB / 32GB 16GB 16GB / 32GB
MicroSD 128GB yes 64GB
Rear Camera 8MP 5MP 5MP
Front Camera 2.1MP 5MP 1.3MP
Battery 4900mAh 5197mAh 4600mAh

However, in our review of the Nvidia tablet we found battery life to be rather lacking, so we’ll have to wait for a hands-on to see if this remains an issue with Nvidia’s latest SoC. Although the massive 6700mAh battery should go some way to avoid this issue. The LG G Pad is the weakest of the selection, performance wise, but the rest should all perform exceptionally well in most scenarios you can throw at it.

Other than the new SoC, the Nexus 9 fits in nicely with the current selection of high-end tablets. Camera options, on paper, seem like a step up from the Nexus 7, and the 2GB of RAM is as much as you’ll likely ever need, although doesn’t quite match some other tablets. The tablet’s storage options are also in line with expectations, although again the lack of a microSD card slot will disappoint those of you who like to keep a selection of movies with you to watch on the go.

Extra features

High end tablets these days tend to ship with 3G/LTE variants for those who want mobile data access, and all of the above tablets are available with LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, and some with NFC connectivity too.

Dual front facing speakers are becoming increasingly popular, and the Nexus 9’s HTC BoomSound speakers match Samsung’s TabPro series and the new Xperia Z3 tablet in this regard. Sound buffs will definitely want to keeps these tablets in mind. Water and dust resistance is another growing trend, and Sony is currently leading this field with its IP68 rating.

 
Nexus 9
Galaxy TabPRO 8.4
Galaxy Tab S
G Pad 8.3
Nvidia Shield
Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
Network LTE LTE LTE LTE LTE
Infrared Yes Yes Yes
TV out MHL
(unconfirmed)
MHL MHL HDMI MHL
IP rating IP68
Front Speakers Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

As far as software features goes, the Nexus 9 will be the first tablet to ship with Android Lollipop, so it might be worth waiting for if you’re eager to try out the latest Google features. Gamers should be able to install many of the Nvidia Shield’s Tegra specific software offerings, such as the Shield Hub, from the Play Store. Other than that, the Nexus 9’s stock-Android experience isn’t as feature packed as Samsung’s tablets, but some prefer it that way.

Serious gamers have a tough choice between NVidia’s and Sony’s latest tablet offerings. The Shield enables Nvidia graphics card owners to stream PC games to their tablet, while the Xperia Z3 tablet can be connected up to a PS4 to play games with the company’s DualShock controller. The Nexus 9 doesn’t come with any of these features out of the box, but the Tegra SoC might allow for some third-party software to emulate the experience at a later date.

Wrap up

The latest Nexus is full-fledged premium tablet, with hardware that competes, and in some cases exceeds, some of the tablet markets other high-end offerings.

As with most Nexus products, the slightly cheaper price tag comes with its share of compromises on some non-essential features. But overall, the Nexus 9 is an excellent tablet for the price.

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