Last Week In Tech – Week Of October 13th
Another week past and another set of announcements, leaks, and more. Since most of them leaks we reported on came true before the week’s end, we won’t be including those in this run down.
First off, let’s start with Google, and there’s a lot to talk this week. Early in the week we caught a glimpse at some new Android ads (since officially released) which emphasize Android as a family rather than just individual brands or devices. On the day those were finally released, we got a truck load of other Google and Android news.
First let’s go for the somehow lighter news of the two, Android 5.0 Lollipop. Originally seen at Google I/O in a developer preview, Android Lollipop is the next generation of the operating system and it’s frankly pretty awesome. The new update brings tons of new functionality along with a fresh coat of paint and material design. The update isn’t final just yet, but a final developer preview is available now for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. You would think that would be the big news, but wait, there’s more.
Nexus! The Nexus line lives and it’s back this year with not one, not two, but three brand new devices. First, the Nexus 6. This 6-inch, Motorola made Nexus behemoth packs the specs (and pricing) to rival any competition. Specs are basically equivalent to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but we’re looking at stock Android out of the box. The device will be coming to all 4 major carriers, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon (no I’m not kidding) and as an additional surprise, US Cellular. Pre-orders start later this month.
Next up, tablets. Google also unveiled the Nexus 9 in collaboration with HTC. This 8.9″ inch tablet will be the first device to ship with Android Lollipop and brings a NVIDIA K1 to the table along with a premium build, Boomsound speakers, and more. The device is up for pre-order from several outlets in White and Black starting at $399. We’ve already placed our order so expect our coverage to start the moment it arrives.
Lastly Google unveiled the Nexus Player. This is the first consumer device with Android TV. It brings some respectable specifications in a $99 price tag. Pre-orders are now open for both the player and the optional game controller. We’ve also placed an order for this so expect plenty of coverage when it arrives.
Next, let’s mix things up with some Apple news. Thursday the company made some announcements in several of their product lines. First, we got new iPagrds. The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Neither of these devices are huge steps forward, but their release do lower the price of the older iPad models. The original iPad Air is now a mere $399 and the original iPad Mini starts at just $249.
Apple also made iOS 8.1 official with some improvements, bug fixes, and a couple added features. One of those is Apple Pay. That functionality rolls out this Monday and brings NFC payments to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners.
Apple also made some announcements in their Mac lineup and I gotta say, I’m pretty impressed. First, OS X Yosemite is now final and available to the public. The update brings a fresh coat of paint along with some great new features. The update is free through the Mac App Store. Second, we got a new Mac Mini with some updated internals and a new base price of $499. Lastly and more excitingly, Apple unveiled their new Retina iMac. The 27-inch beast packs a 5K, not 4K, but 5K resolution and some beastly specifications. Pricing starts at $2499 which is actually a pretty solid deal considering the sheer amount of pixels you get.
Now that the big news is out of the way, let’s talk about some other rumors. First, it seems like Google is prepping to launch Android Wear 2.0 in early November. While Android Wear is pretty good already, there is a long list of things that could be fixed and/or added. Right now it seems November 3rd is the day to watch out for.
Following up with that we also caught a glimpse of a refreshed Chromecast as it made it’s way through the FCC. While we’re not looking at any major changes, it does seem like 5GHz WiFi will be the big addition.
Last but not least, Samsung released a refreshed version of their Chromebook 2 with an Intel Baytrail processor, replacing the previous Exynos processor. This addition should make the device a bit faster than it already is. So far this change has only been made on the 11.6″ inch model.
This week in reviews we didn’t have too much stuff. First, the Lenovo N20P Chromebook made it’s way through with a pretty positive review. TL;DR, it’s a great choice if a touch screen is your priority. Second, the Kyocera Brigadier came and went and to keep it short, it’s the first rugged phone I’d ever even consider picking up. Last the Moto 360 has finally been given it’s official score. Links to all three reviews are below.