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It finally happened: Google has formally announced the impending release of the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9, and Android L – along with a surprise in the form of a set-top-box called the Nexus Player. It’s a good day to be an Android fan.

MD9A8627Over on the Google Blog, the company laid it all out. First up is Android L, officially called Lollipop, which is set to be released to compatible devices over the next few weeks. As we heard about at I/O this past summer, Lollipop will offer a new smart notification system, a battery management feature that should help power users conserve their devices’ energy consumption, and the Material Design user interface that’ll give the Android experience a nice, new coat of paint.

Then there’s the Nexus 6 smartphone, made by Motorola. Described in detail on the Official Motorola Blog, the Nexus 6 has a 6-inch, quad HD display, a 13 megapixel rear camera, dual front-facing speakers, and the option between 32 GB and 64 GB of internal storage. It also features a Turbo Charger, exclusive to the Nexus 6, which can juice up the phone for six hours with only a 15 minute plug-in time. The device will cost $649 on the Google Play Store – which is a little less than double what the Nexus 5 cost when it debuted last fall. Google says the Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in “late October and in stores in November,” and it’ll be available through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon, so that may soften the sticker shock a bit.

nexus-9The Nexus 9 is made by HTC, and offers an 8.9-inch display, HTC’s front-facing BoomSound speakers, and a 64-bit Tegra K1 processor with either 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage. The keyboard case we’d heard about a few weeks ago is also set to come out soon, though it’s not entirely clear how much that – nor the Nexus 9 itself – will cost. We’ve heard that the Nexus 9 retail for roughly $399, but we’ll know for sure on October 17 when Google opens pre-orders for the tablet. It’ll be on shelves by November 3, so start saving now.

Finally, there’s the Nexus Player, an Asus-made media streaming device that was something of a surprise – at least to me. Also available for pre-order on October 17 with a November 3 release date, the Nexus Player is a circular black slab that comes with a small remote that’s equipped with voice search capability (similar to the one that comes with the Amazon Fire TV). Users will have access to the same media streaming apps that are available on Android now, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and all the rest.

nexus-playerInterestingly, Google will also sell a separate Gamepad for Nexus, also made by Asus, to allow for Android gaming that’ll enjoy full Google Play Store support. Apparently Android and Chromebook users will have the ability to start games on one device and pick up where they left off on another:

“With Nexus Player you can play Android games on your HDTV with a gamepad, then keep playing on your phone while you’re on the road.”

asus-gamepadJust how that’ll work isn’t entirely clear just yet, but I’m definitely interested in finding out. The Nexus Player will also act as a Chromecast, allowing users to cast media from Chromebooks, Android devices, and iOS phones and tablets to the television set. That’s a trick that Apple TV doesn’t do, and that’s kind of amazing. Hopefully it’ll work better than the Chromecast has in that department. No word on pricing for this yet either, but I’d be surprised if it was much more than a hundred bucks. TechCrunch reports that it is, indeed, only $99, so, like, Android fans should probably buy one.

What do you think of the new line of Nexus devices? Were you as surprised by the Nexus Player as I was? Will you be ordering any of these new awesome Android gadgets?

[Source: Google, Motorola]

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