There's a new Nexus in town (another one) today, and this one's headed straight for the big screen: as in, your TV. The Nexus Player runs Android TV with a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor and talks to the web via a 2x2 AC Wi-Fi connection (there is no ethernet port). It's built in "collaboration" with ASUS.
Connecting to your TV is accomplished via HDMI. The Nexus Player will ship with full Google Cast (aka Chromecast) capabilities baked in, essentially negating the need for a Chromecast on the connected TV.
We've been speculating and making wild guesses for months about what the new version of Android would be called, but now we know. It's Android 5.0 Lollipop. There was a time when many thought 5.0 was going to be Key Lime Pie, but that certainly didn't happen. How far we've come.
The Nexus 6 is too big to be stopped. The news is out, and the phone is as large as you hoped or feared but expected nonetheless. This year's Nexus phone is essentially a stretched out Moto X packed with better specs - 5.96" AMOLED 1440 x 2560 display (493PPI), Snapdragon 805 processor, Adreno 420 GPU, 3GB RAM, 3220mAh battery, 13MP camera, and a 2MP front shooter. On the external side of things, the power and volume buttons have slid halfway down the side of the device so that they're still accessible.
Android Wear is naturally more limited than regular builds of Android, but some of the omissions just don't make sense. No battery monitor, Google? Really? Well, there's finally an app that fills in some of the gaps, and it's called Wear Battery Monitor. That's a descriptive, if predictable name.
The app can be opened on the watch to get a battery percent graph over time with a maximum of 24 hours of data.
It feels like Android L and the Nexus 6 are set to drop at any moment—you can almost sense the #NexusWarriors gathering at the fringes of the internet, ready to storm all the comment sections everywhere and tell you how great the Nexus 6 is. And maybe it will be, but for now all we have is a taste of what's to come with a leaked copy of Google's new Android ads with the slogan "Be Together, Not The Same." It includes a cameo by what appears to be the Nexus 6 running Android L.
We're in a bit of a lull for Android Wear devices. All three launch watches have been released and the second wave is still on the way. You may be wondering, have the app developers slowed down? Hell no, and how dare you ask such a leading question in your head just how? It's okay, though. We forgive you. As penance, read the following zillion words about all the new apps for Android Wear from the last few weeks.
As we've noted before, Facer is pretty cool: it's a way to make or load custom watch faces and easily apply them to your Android Wear device. While the Facer app has its own built-in gallery of submitted watch faces, FaceRepo is an impressively varied alternative that allows you to browse watch faces on the web. User-submitted designs are split into round and square watch faces for the Moto 360 and G Watch/Gear Live, respectively.
Fun fact: Microsoft was working on "smart watches" a solid decade before the current craze. Microsoft partnered with Fossil and a few other watch makers to release SPOT Watches, which received information updates via FM radio broadcasts. I don't want to say that SPOT watches were terrible, and I don't have to, because this Cnet review does it for me. Maybe Microsoft is trying to capture the not-so-glorious days of early 2000s smartwatches, because the company's research division has just posted an experimental keyboard for Android Wear.
As evidence mounts that the official release of Android L may be days away, Google began rolling out yet another update to Play services, just one week after the previous update. As it turns out, there's a bit more than just a new icon, a few UI tweaks, and the usual bug fixes. This version brings some finishing touches to a couple of features, no doubt getting them ready to launch alongside the next version of Android.