Here’s What Google Is Trying to Tell Android Makers

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google introduces two new smartphones, the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X.

Nexus devices, which typically do not sell as much as iPhones or iPads, are a way for the tech giant to showcase its latest advancements in mobile hardware and software. “We’re introducing the latest Nexus treats, both running Marshmallow, sweetened by amazing apps and sandwiched by some cutting-edge hardware (see what we did there?),” Google said in a blog post Tuesday.

Search engine Google is countering the release of Apple’s latest devices by unveiling its latest smartphone the Google Nexus 5X priced at Rs 31,900 in India ($379 in the US), which will be made available from mid-October here – the device has a 5.2-inch screen. The Android mobile platform is a key element in Google’s strategy to maintain revenue from online advertising as people switch from Web browser searches to smartphone apps.

Needless to say, the smartphone is priced under the posh devices from Apple like the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus – in fact Google has priced it even lower than Samsung’s offerings. It was built in collaboration with Huawei and is a 5.7-inch phone made from aeronautical-grade aluminum, with a USB Type-C port for fast charging, a 64-bit processor and a 12.3-megapixel camera sensor. The fingerprint sensors will help quickly authorize purchases made through Android Pay, the one-touch payment app on Android devices that competes with Apple Pay.

There are now 1.4 billion Android devices around the world, Sundar Pichai, Google’s surprise choice as chief executive, boasted this week at a launch event in San Francisco. The Pixel tablet puts Google in the sights of its biggest competitors, Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft Corp’s Surface tablets, which also have optional keyboards. Both phones — manufactured by LG and Huawei, respectively — will be sold as unlocked devices, meaning they can be purchased directly through Google’s digital store or at partner bricks-and-mortar retailers and used with a wide variety of carriers.

Google also unveiled a redesigned version of its Chromecast device for streaming Web content to TVs and introduced Chromecast Audio, which plugs into speakers to stream audio over Wi-Fi. They will also be compatible with Project Fi, Google’s new WiFi program, part of a trend among Google, Apple and others to take over parts of the wireless business previously reserved for carriers. Both phones include a new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which gives users quick and secure access to their phones, as well as use of Android Pay in the U.S. The devices are available for preorder on the Google Store from the U.S. and several other countries, and come with a free 90-day subscription to Google Play Music.

Both devices will come equipped with fingerprint technology similar to Apple’s TouchID, though the sensor is on the back of its phones, and will operate on Android’s upcoming Marshmallow operating system. This week Google showcased a bevy of new products, including two Nexus phones, two Chromecast streaming devices and a Pixel C tablet with a magnetically attached keyboard. Earlier this month, Apple unveiled its fourth-generation Apple TV, which comes with a remote control, Siri compatibility, and content from similar streaming services for $149, though Apple’s TV streaming device does not natively support Apple Music’s rival streaming services.

While Google Marshmallow, also known as Android 6.0, is an incremental update, in addition to fingerprint recognition it adds a different way of granting apps permission to access data. So if you find a restaurant using the Yelp app, Now Tags prompts you to make a restaurant booking using the OpenTable app or asks if you want to use your favourite taxi app. The Android app drawer remembers when and where you use apps, placing them at the top of the app drawer when you return to the same time and same place.

You can get out an old speaker and attach it to Chromecast Audio’s 3.5mm stereo plug, and Chromecast can stream music to it from apps such as Spotify and Google Music. There’s a port for a microUSB connection that powers the device and, in the case of Chromecast, an HDMI connection out or for Chromecast Audio, a stereo plug connection. Marshmallow may be a soft upgrade, but you get the impression Android is getting much more sophisticated as we head towards the second half of this decade.

That concern includes a move by Google to let advertisers match Google users’ email addresses with their activities using Gmail, YouTube and Google search called Customer Match. “Let’s say you’re a travel brand. According to the blogpost, advertisers get to upload a list of email addresses, which can be matched to signed-in users on Google, but it says “in a secure and privacy-safe way”.

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