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Google Android, Nexus Updates: What's the Verdict?

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 16, 2014 9:59 AM

Every year, like clockwork, Google updates Android with a new version. And every year, without fail, it introduced a new Nexus phone, along with a few other assorted Nexus-branded devices.

Why should you care? Because when it comes to the pure Android experience, Nexus devices are the way to go. They're the first devices to get updates, since they come straight from Google. And, in the past, the devices were far cheaper than their more mainstream counterparts from Samsung and Apple.

How did this year's line stack up? Mildly disappointing, at least in terms of new hardware. But for existing Android owners, the upcoming operating system update (Lollipop) represents a huge leap forward in terms of speed and battery life.

Nexus 6: Big, Bloated Phablet With a Big, Bloated Price

This is weird. The Nexus 6 is a flagship phone. It's huge at a full 6 inches, trumping even Samsung's Note 4 and Apple's iPhone 6 Plus. The internals are basically pulled from Motorola's latest update to its Moto X line, it's own take on a top-of-the-line device.

If you buy this phone, you will own one of the best Android phones out there. So why are we confused?

Google wants $649 for it, reports Ars Technica. Previous Nexus models have gone for less than $400, yet were also at or near the flagship level, spec-wise. This leaves you with only one reason to buy a Nexus device over other flagships: quicker updates to your operating system. Is that worth the price? Better yet, is that enough to keep you away from an iPhone, especially since more lawyers and legal service providers are on Apple's platform?

Nexus 9: An Android Tablet

That's a boring heading, but honestly, it's hard to get hot and bothered about tablets these days. Folks who want 'em already have 'em, which is why tablet sales are plummeting.

The Nexus 9 is an attempt to do something a little different: It has a 4:3 screen instead of a 16:9 widescreen (more iPad than HDTV, if that helps). According to Ars Technica, it has a 64-bit processor and will be the first 64-bit device with 64-bit Android L.

It'll also weigh less than the iPad Air and will cost $399 -- $100 less than Apple's main tablet. If you're in the market for an Android tablet, it beats buying one of the older models.

But is it exciting? No.

Nexus Player: Android on Your TV

This is mildly interesting, though we'll have to wait to see these devices out in the wild before we get too excited.

The Nexus Player is a $99 Android TV set-top box that is controlled by voice commands. It could be a handy video streaming device, and has an available game controller if you want to play Android-based games, reports Ars. It seems like a very cheap imitation of an Xbox One (especially the voice command part), but again, we'll wait until it's out in the wild to pass judgment.

Android L: A Whole New Operating System

We wrote about Android L as a visual overhaul of the operating system when it was first announced. We also wrote about "Project Volta," Google's effort to make Android L far more battery-friendly than its predecessors.

That means there's not a whole lot of surprises left in store for the OS's release, but that doesn't mean it's not exciting. According to today's announcements, it'll be called Android Lollipop, it'll bring the aforementioned improvements, and critically, it'll be available for all current Nexus devices (Nexus 4, 5, and 6 phones, both variants of the Nexus 7 tablet, and the Nexus 8 and 10 tablets).

When it rolls out to my now-ancient Nexus 4, we'll be sure to give you a first-hand account.

Are we being harsh? Were you excited by today's announcements? Shoot us a tweet @FindLawLP with your thoughts.

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