Google's Nexus 9 tablet, Nexus 6 'phablet' first with Android 5.0

The devices can be ordered on Oct. 17, and will start shipping on Nov. 3

Google's Nexus 9 tablet

Google's Nexus 9 tablet

Google is finally bringing its latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system -- code-named Android L -- to mobile devices with a Nexus 9 tablet and Nexus 6 phablet.

It took a bit more than a year, but Google has also caught up with Apple on 64-bit tablets with the Nexus 9, which was made in conjunction with HTC. The tablet has an 8.9-inch screen.

The Nexus 6, made with Motorola, would qualify more as a "phablet" with its 5.9-inch screen that can display images at 493 pixels per inch. It has a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels.

The devices can be ordered on Oct. 17, and will start shipping on Nov. 3. Prices were not immediately available. In the US Google will sell an unlocked version of the Nexus 6, which will also be available at subsidized prices through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

Google's Android 5.0 OS was introduced at the company's I/O conference in June, and it is the first version of the OS to support 64-bit programs. Google has improved OS performance and introduced many battery saving features, which will likely reflect in the devices.

The Nexus 9 tablet runs on Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 chip, which will provide a great gaming and multimedia experience through its 192 graphics cores. The 64-bit capabilities should also improve the tablet's overall performance, provided programs take advantage of the capabilities.

"With the 64-bit processor, easily move between tabs to check email, watch videos, and tweak docs -- all at once," reads Google's Nexus 9 product page.

The tablet has an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.6-megapixel front camera, and 16GB or 32GB of storage. A separate magnetic keyboard attachment has been designed, though it's not clear if the product will be sold as separately or with the product.

The Nexus 6 smartphone by comparison has a Snapdragon 805 32-bit processor, but is able to render 4K video on external displays connected to the device. Other features include 32GB or 64GB of storage.

The mobile devices are also important for developers, who can now start testing Android 5.0 apps on an actual hardware instead of using emulators.

Google will also provide software upgrades to its existing Nexus 5 smartphone and Nexus 7 and 10 tablets in the coming weeks.

The company also introduced Nexus Player, a streaming media player that supports Android TV. It was developed with Asus, and in addition to streaming movies, users will be able to play Android games via a gamepad. It will also stream movies from mobile devices and Chromebooks. It's price wasn't immediately available.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Tags tabletsGooglehardware systemsGoogle's Nexus 9 tabletNexus 6 smartphone first with Android 5.0

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Agam Shah

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