2014 Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, and Android 5.0 Lollipop: all you need to know

The biggest day for Android in 2014, October 15th, brought us a brand new family of Nexus devices: the first Google phablet, the Nexus 6, a powerful Nexus 9 tablet with a 64-bit Tegra K1 chip under the hood, and an interesting mix between a set-top box and a console - the Nexus Player.

However, it is the platform that powers all of these that will truly make a difference: Android 5.0 Lollipop. Yes, Google did confirm that Lollipop is the new sweet treat, and the 5.0 indicates that we’re looking at a major new release.

Android 5.0 Lollipop: “be together, not the same”

First things first, Android 5.0 Lollipop aims to unify the experience across all Android devices and screen sizes. Changes in Lollipop start with the outwards appearance that has now adopted a new ‘Material Design’ with flat looks, real-life mimicking shadows and less visual clutter. Add to this a new set of speedy animations and refreshed icons, and you have the new Lollipop looks.

Android 5.0, however, has undergone big changes under the hood as well: Google introduces a new ART runtime and the system is now 64-bit optimized, with all first-party Google apps being naturally updated for this change, while Java apps are getting the benefits of 64-bit without the need for developers to update them.

Nexus 6: Motorola-made phablet with flagship price

The Nexus 6 comes not to replace the Nexus 5, but rather to complement it: it’s the newest and most powerful device in the series with a 5.9-inch Quad HD display, a Snapdragon 805 system chip, and a 13-megapixel optically stabilized camera capable of recording 4K video.

However, it’s also one to break ties with the former Google ideology of affordable Nexus phones as its starting price is right on par with other flagships at $649 off-contract. We should also note that while Android Lollipop is 64-bit-ready, the Nexus 6 will not fully benefit from this as the Snapdragon 805 SoC is a 32-bit one.

The large size of the Nexus 6 comes with the possibility to add a larger battery, and finally fix the problems of the Nexus smartphone series with longevity - the sixth edition boasts ‘24-hour’ battery life, and it comes with rapid charging technology. The Nexus 6 goes on pre-order on October 29th, and will land on store shelves on all major carriers sometime in November.

Nexus 9: the new ‘right size’ for Android tablets, with dual front speakers

The Nexus 9, a device earlier known under its HTC Volantis codename, features an 8.9-inch screen with a resolution of 1536 x 2048 pixels, and will be the first to go on sale with Android Lollipop in early November.

The tablet has got a sturdy metal frame, but a plastic back that reminds of the Nexus 5, down to design accents like round camera eye.

It’s what’s under the hood, though, that would really make those caring for performance salivate: the Nexus 9 is the first device powered by Nvidia’s Tegra K1 in its 64-bit version with two large Denver CPU cores and Kepler graphics. The open question with the K1 is battery life, and Google claims it has managed to get 9 hours of average use, which sounds good enough (but we’ve seen better).

Nexus Player: Android TV combined with a gaming console

The $99 Nexus Player is the only real surprise Google gave us today, as there were no leaks pointing to it. It’s a set-top box with Android, coming with a remote control that also supports voice.

The Nexus Player supports 1080p streaming, and is hooked up to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube. It also doubles on some functions we’ve seen on the $35 Chromecast: you can also mirror the screen of Android devices or screencast Chrome browser tabs from Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, ChromeOS, iOS and Android.

The killer feature of the Nexus Player, however, is gaming: for an additional $30 you can get a controller to enjoy compatible games and multiplayer via Google Play.

Related phones

Nexus 6
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 805, Quad-core, 2700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3220 mAh(24h talk time)
Nexus 9
  • Display 8.9" 1536 x 2048 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.6 MP front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra K1, Dual-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 6700 mAh



1. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

The Nexus 6 price is such a bummer... Why not stick with a ~5 inch + Full HD? Not everyone likes a 6 inch device, and Quad HD is nothing but a gimmick at this point and size. That Nexus 9 though looks incredible.

3. beamsboy

Posts: 12; Member since: Dec 29, 2012

I think Nexus 6 is intended to be a phablet, for those of you who want a ~5 you can always buy a Nexus 5, thats why Nexus 5 is still up for sale. What I dont understand is why x64 5.0 for a x32 snapdragon 805? Just reminds me when I was laughting at 5s...

4. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

I think the 805 is 64-bit capable, isn't it? Or is it just optimized for Quad HD? Eh, I don't even know anymore...

5. beamsboy

Posts: 12; Member since: Dec 29, 2012

I hope you are right too, and I am confused as well. I checked the Quamcomm official website and I compared 805 and 810, while both says memory/storage is 64-bit, here's the difference in the description of CPU: 805: Quad-core Krait 450 CPU at up to 2.7 GHz per core 810: Quad-core ARM® Cortex™ A57 and quad-core A53 with 64-bit support anyone know the answer?

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Nope, only the 808 and 810 are 64bit capable. Alas :(

11. HildyJ

Posts: 338; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Still, I hope that Google will refresh the Nexus 5 to bring it more in line with the competition. Even if the price jumps, I'd still be interested in upgrading my Nexus 5.

23. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

x64 is not an architecture used by mobile devices. Neither is x32 (this isn't even a real term, I think you're referring to x86 which is 32-bit). Please don't throw terms around loosely. You mean 32-bit and 64-bit. Don't throw an X in front of it, as it doesn't belong there when we're talking about ARM.

14. arthurkc

Posts: 8; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

The Nexus 6 is getting the 32-bit lollipop, and Nexus 9 is using the nVidia Tegra K1 "Denver" which is 64-bit and thus gets 64-bit lollipop. Lets also remember the Tegra K1 in the nVidia shield which is using the K1 "Logan" which is only 32-bit, so the 64-bit nexus 9 with 64-bit L, and K1 "Denver" should surpass the shield tablet in perfoe and visuals. I am most excited for the nexus 9 because of its dedicated gaming hardware. It should top benchmarks, play super smooth quad HD video, and be capable of playing games way ahead the current tablet generation. If tegra gets enough attention it could lead to beast PC and high end console level gaming on the go in tablet form. Plus.. They were smart enough to put sound output in front.. Stereo sound at that! For now Trine 2 and that k1 shooter will suffice. Not just for gamers. Everything on the Nexus 9 will be smoother and vastly faster then other mobile os tablets. Hastle blizzard to for StarCraft 2 and d3 on tegras haha!

16. Dodols

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

I dont think so... 5 inch screen with the 3 touchable navigation @ bottom of the screen.. it's like 4.7" pure screen.. No offence.. 6" with this kind of navigation system is awesome decision..

2. knights4life03

Posts: 131; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

I'm honestly just excited for android 5.0 and all its glory. But that nexus 9 might be the tablet that I've been waiting for all along

7. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Yes! Support for band 12 and carrier aggregation!

8. bob_monkeywarts unregistered

I was drooling while I was reading this article... I like Moto phones, and I like stock Android. And I like stock Android Lollipop.

9. emadshiny

Posts: 1144; Member since: Dec 05, 2012

Waiting to taste lollipop on my nexus5. Also waiting eagerly for a smaller nexus made by Sony.

10. alegocru

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Motorola´s CEO: Rick Osterloh, is a liar: “days of the $600-$700 smartphone are numbered” and now: Motorola Nexus 6 U$650 U$700. wtf !!!

20. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Rick was just thinking of a very large number! The kind that goes Ka-ching! :)

12. Derekjeter

Posts: 1531; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

At first the size was an issue with me but since it's the first true Nexus to hit Verizon I'm getting on day one. I can't wait to have a true Nexus on Verizon.

13. yoeasie

Posts: 9; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

I kind of gripe the default Lolipop wallpapers I'm seeing #js

15. bakhti

Posts: 4; Member since: May 06, 2010

I love the wallpapers i hope to find them online soon in Quad HD for my G3

17. oubata

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

The price will abviously discourage a lot of programmers and techies, I'm already considering the 1plus1 ( one plus one) super phone.

18. Dodols

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

I Think Nexus 6 has an awesome specs and screen to body ratio.. If the price is good, no doubt this will be Best Seller...

19. Trex95

Posts: 2383; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

http://youtu.be/5Fn8OnzDO5Y nexus 6 vs note 4.

21. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Basically because Qualcomm is so far behind in their chip development, we are getting a 32-bit Nexus phone for 2014 instead of a 64-bit Nexus phone. The 64-bit Tegra K1 Denver works for a tablet, but it is likely too power hungry for a phone, at least at the moment. Next year, if there is still a Nexus line of devices, we will get a 64-bit Nexus phone. Likely a Qualcomm 810-based device, but maybe something more exotic with an Erista processor or a new Intel design.

22. lead2xl unregistered

The Nexus 6 sounds like a great phone but not likely good enough to induce me to sell my LG G3. The lack of an SD card wouldn't be a problem, in practice, with 64 GB built in and I like the fact that the cost of moving from 32 GB to 64 is only $50. Still, I find it intensely annoying that Google has a hate for SD card slots. I understand the problems with SD cards but it is the lack of choice that gets me, Google deciding for me what I can and cannot have. As far at the Nexus 9 is concerned, the wide bezels make this tablet look quite boxy and chunky compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, my current tablet, with its minimal bezels.

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