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Apple today unveiled two new tablets, the iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2, hoping to jump back into an increasingly competitive tablet market. The iPad Air 2 is 6.1 millimeters thin and is being promoted as the "world's thinnest tablet," featuring a better screen and camera, and includes the Touch ID fingerprint technology.
iPad Air 2 pricing starts at $499, while the iPad Mini 3 will start at $399. The new iPad models will begin shipping next week, with pre-orders opening up on Friday.
The tablet market has faced pressure while consumers choose to purchase smartphones and phablets - and with each new generation of tablets, consumers seem ready to hang on to older models - and manufacturers are struggling to promote newer technologies.
NVIDIA has taken to its Facebook page to announce that its Shield Tablet is "Ready for Android 5.0 Lollipop" and that "Android 5.0 Lollipop and more is coming to NVIDIA SHIELD tablet". I'm sure we'll hear more about it soon, but it's great to see NVIDIA jumping out right away pledging support for Google's latest mobile OS.
Fifty five percent of teenagers conduct at least one voice search per day on their smartphones, according to the Northstar market research firm. A surprisingly high 41 percent of adults use voice commands, but 56 percent of adult survey respondents said using voice search made them feel like a "geek." The survey included 1,400 people using a mix of Google Search, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana.
"Voice search is a key feature of the Google app that's becoming even more important as people spend more time on their mobile phones," said Scott Huffman, Google VP for Conversational Search, in a press statement. "We wanted to learn more about how people of all ages use Google hands-free on their phones."
As a random voice-related tidbit, 22 percent of teenagers and 15 percent of adults admit to using voice search while in the bathroom.
While the headlines are always about Samsung, Google and Apple, there is a much bigger part of the pie that is currently being eyed at: China. Lenovo and Xiaomi are the two most recognizable brands in the region, but Lenovo is hungry for more.
The company is about to create an entire new smartphone brand for the Chinese market, something that will be much more official in April 2015. The new brand will focus on branded applications, consumer engagement, and selling devices online - making it easier for Chinese customers to get online, and after a few clicks, have a device shipped out to them. Lenovo will still sell Lenovo-branded smartphones through local carriers and retailers, but this new brand will compliment its main brand in the country.
ASUS has enjoyed the launch of multiple of its PadFone devices in other parts of the world, especially Taiwan, but now the PadFone X Mini is making it to the US. The ASUS PadFone X Mini sports a 4.5-inch display, but docks into a larger 7-inch tablet for a unique experience.
The device will be launching in the US for $199.99 with AT&T's GoPhone plan, off contact. The $200 price tag is pretty hot, considering you get both devices - the tablet, and smartphone - but remember, the tablet doesn't work without the smartphone inside of it. Intel is the one powering the device, with its Atom Z2560 dual-core processor. We also have 1GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage, two cameras, and a microSD card slot. Software wise, we have Android 4.4 KitKat.
What makes the PadFone series of devices unique is the tablet side of the device, which doesn't just give you a bigger screen, but it provides a much longer life thanks to its additional battery. The phone on its own has around 16 hours of use, but the tablet brings over an additional 12.5 hours.
Google has announced the first device to be based on its new Android TV platform: Nexus Player. Google's new Nexus Player is a set-top streaming box that had the company working with ASUS on, and will be Google's first take on getting into your lounge room, properly.
The Nexus Player looks like a puck, and is around 4.7 inches in diameter, with a tiny remote that has just a few buttons on it. The remote will feature a microphone, so you can do voice searches through the Nexus Player, which is a nice touch. Inside of the Nexus Player is 8GB of internal flash storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi for streaming content, and there's also a game controller that is sold separately.
Google is selling the Nexus Player at $99, with its game controller to be made available for $39. The company will be selling the Nexus Player exclusively through its Play Store, with pre-orders starting on Friday.
Another highly rumored, and now finally here device, is the new Nexus 9. Google had some massive announcements today, including Android 5.0 Lollipop, the new Nexus 6 smartphone, the Nexus Player, and now the Nexus 9 tablet.
Google's new Nexus 9 tablet is made by HTC, and powered by NVIDIA's super-impressive Tegra K1 processor. It features an 8.9-inch QVGA, or 2048x1536 display, with a ratio of 4:3, which is an interesting turn, as we usually see 16:9 displays. HTC has provided its BoomSound speaker technology into the Nexus 9, which is joined by NVIDIA's 64-bit, Tegra K1 processor. We also have 2GB of RAM, and three different models to choose from.
Starting with the 16GB Nexus 9, priced at $399, moving up to the 32GB for $479 and if you want to walk around with an 8.9-inch tablet in your bag with LTE abilities, the 32GB LTE model will cost $599. Google will be launching the Nexus 9 in 29 countries over the next couple of weeks, and when talking about the new 4:3 form factor, Google said that the Nexus 9 is "small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on".
After months of teasing, the Nexus 6 is now official. The Nexus 6 is the beginning of a new line of devices that is ready to showcase Android 5.0, which was also just announced. The biggest news here is that Google did indeed go for the large 6-inch screen size, but we're going to talk about that a little later.
The 6-inch display features a QHD resolution, so we have 2560x1440, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with OIS, a 2-megapixel selfie-snapper, 3220mAh battery that should ensure all-day battery life (especially with that QHD panel), two-front facing speakers and it comes in two sizes: 32GB and 64GB. Two colors are on offer for the Nexus 6: blue, or white.
One of the key parts of the new Nexus 6, if not the biggest, would be that it arrives with stock Android 5.0 Lollipop. Lollipop introduces some nice new technologies and features, such as a battery saving feature that will extend a Lollipop-powered device's battery by up to 90 minutes. Also, thanks to Motorola building the new Nexus 6, the smartphone includes Motorola's Turbo Chargers, which will charge the phone up with six hours worth of use, in just 15 minutes.
When it comes to pricing, Google has stepped away from the Nexus line being a cheap alternative to all of the other premium handsets out there, offering it unlocked for $649. Google will be offering up the Nexus 6 on October 29, with store availability starting in the beginning of November.
Google is planning to release Android 5.0, dubbed Lollipop, on Friday, featuring a new design and additional features. Lollipop will replace Android 4.4 (KitKat), which was released in October 2013, as the demand for a robust operating system increases along with impressively strong hardware that powers smartphones and tablets.
Lollipop will provide additional security features and improve battery life, along with new features that could make Android devices more friendly for bring your own device (BYOD) workplace use.
Android currently has almost 85 percent of the global smartphone market, the IDC research group says, appealing to consumers in emerging markets. Lollipop will be pushed out on new Google Nexus smartphones and tablets - then will spread to older Nexus devices - with other hardware manufacturers expected to release updates in the near future.
PhoneArena held a blind camera comparison test between the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy Note 4, with over 6,000 of its readers, with Samsung's phablet coming out on top.
From the 6,000 readers, just under 43% of them found the Galaxy Note 4's pictures to look better, with just 22% choosing the iPhone 6 as having the better rear-snapper. These numbers are even better considering the blind camera comparison included other smartphones, with some of the biggest devices released yet being tested. This included the LG G3, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S5 and Sony's Xperia Z3, all polled at under 12%.
This isn't a 'the Galaxy Note 4 takes better pictures than the iPhone 6, period' as PhoneArena only snapped shots in strong lighting, and didn't shoot in low-light or bad conditions. The site has promised that a more detailed camera comparison test is coming, something we should expect in the coming weeks.