Tomorrow (September 29th), Google is having a highly anticipated event. The invitation is as cryptic as usual, only mentioning “tasty treats” and “much s’more,” but we know this will be a Nexus event. Countless leaks and rumors have led up to this point. Tomorrow we will finally have some solid answers. Let’s take a look at what we can expect to see at Google’s big event.
Two new Nexus phones
The main event will obviously be the new Nexus devices. For a long time we didn’t know if LG or Huawei would be making the next Nexus. Turns out the answer is both. The LG-made Nexus 5X and Huawei-made Nexus 6P will finally be announced in all of their glory.
Android fans have been clamoring for a new Nexus 5, and this year we will finally get one. The 5X is believed to have a 5.2-inch display with 1080p resolution. It will have a 13MP camera on the back, and a 5MP camera on the front. Powering the device will be the familiar Snapdragon 808 and 2GB of RAM. On the back of the device, right underneath the camera, is a fingerprint sensor. The 5X will be one of the first devices to take advantage of Android Marshmallow’s fingerprint support.
Other specs include USB Type-C connector. It’s smaller than the mini-USB connectors phones have been using for years, and reversible. The 5X will be available in three colors: black, white, and a powder blue/mint green color. The design is almost as uninspired as the original Nexus 5, but we’re fine with that. Expect the Nexus 5X to work on most carriers and start around $379.
Last year’s Nexus 6 introduced stock Android to phablets, and now it’s getting a follow-up. The Nexus 6P is expected to be the more premium of the two new Nexus devices (maybe that’s what the ‘P’ stands for?). It will have a 5.7-inch 2K display (yes, that is smaller than last year), 11MP camera on the back, 7MP front camera, Snapdragon 810, 3GB of RAM, and a big battery. The 6P also has a fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C support.
The biggest story about the Nexus 6P is the design. The camera and flash are housed in an odd-looking black horizontal bar on top of the rear. It protrudes slightly, and has been the butt of many jokes. With each new look at the device in leaked photos, the hump looks less and less ugly. The Nexus 6P will cost $499, and like the Nexus 5X, will only be available to purchase online. It will come in black, white, silver, and gold.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Why do Nexus phones exist? To show off Google’s latest software. Naturally, the new phones will be the first with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We’ve already been able to use Marshmallow a bunch, thanks to the Developer Preview program. There are several new headlining features in this update, but also a lot of underlying fixes and improvements to the buggy Lollipop.
Now on Tap
In previous versions of Android, Google Now lived in its own container, accessed by swiping up from the home button. Google Now on Tap takes the feature several steps further by become an all knowing, always ready concierge. To use Now on Tap you hold down the home button from any screen in any app and it will use the context of the situation to fetch what information it believes you seek.
Some examples include showing movie times for a movie listed in an email, or giving you more information about the artist playing, and much more. It scans your screen for keywords and tries to provide useful information based on what it sees. If this feature makes you reach for your tin foil cap, it can be disabled in the Google app. Read our article on How to use Google Now on Tap.
Android Pay is a new service that started rolling out in the last couple of weeks. It can store all of your physical credit cards and loyalty cards so you can simply scan your phone via NFC to pay in stores. Android Pay can also be used to purchase items online. If a website supports Android Pay you won’t have to enter any credit card or shipping information.
This is where the fingerprint sensors on the Nexus 5X and 6P will really come in handy. You’ll be able to simply scan your finger to unlock the phone, and then tap it to the terminal to pay. For more, read our article on How to use Android Pay.
Auto app backup
One lesser-known feature of Marshmallow might be our favorite. Android has always had back-up and restore functionality, but it wasn’t a complete solution. You’d still have to go into each app and sign in and set it up again. There are plenty of 3rd-party apps that fix this problem, but now stock Android will be able to do it.
In the Backup & reset settings there is a new description that explains how app data and settings will now be backed up to Google Drive. This means when you set up a new phone and restore your apps it will also restore how you had those apps set up. For example, if you had notifications disabled in the Twitter app on your old phone it will remember that on your new phone. This should make switching phones a breeze.
There’s a bunch of other little changes throughout the update. For everything else to expect from Android 6.0 Marshmallow, read our previous coverage.
Chromecasts for video and audio
The Chromecast has been one of Google’s all-time most successful devices, but it hasn’t seen an update in quite a while. More and more services have added Chromecast support in the past two years. Strong rumors suggest that we will see not one, but two new Chromecast devices this year.
One Chromecast will be an updated version of the current model. It will still be a dongle that you plug into your TV. This time it will come in three colors (red, yellow, and black), and most likely have support for 4K displays and content. The second Chromecast will be for audio. Instead of an HDMI dongle it will be a 3.5mm dongle that can be plugged into any audio device. Both new Chromecasts will cost the same $35.
A tablet with a new name
The newest rumor about tomorrow’s event is for a tablet, but it’s not the tablet you would expect. The rumor suggests that Google’s newest tablet will not feature the “Nexus” branding. Instead, Google will opt to use the “Pixel” name that was previously reserved for high-end Chromebooks.
This Pixel tablet will run Android instead of ChromeOS. It will have a 10.2-inch high-resolution display with 308ppi. Powering the device will be a NVIDIA Tegra X1 quad-core processor. Other rumored details include 3GB of RAM, USB Type-C port, metal build, and a keyboard cover. Unlike the Nexus phones, which should go up for pre-order almost immediately, the Pixel tablet won’t go on sale until November. We also wouldn’t expect rock-bottom Nexus-like pricing.
What do you think?
What are your thoughts about the event tomorrow? With so much information already leaked and rumored, it will be interesting to see if Google can surprise us with anything. Do you plan on purchasing any of the new devices? Will you be satisfied if Google doesn’t show anything we haven’t already seen? Share your thoughts in the comments below!