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Along with the new Motorola-made Nexus 6, Google pulled a couple more hardware announcements this morning with a new 8.9-inch tablet and a streaming media player that marks. The latter is the first Android TV device since the company revealed its renewed effort to target living rooms, after Google TV and the Nexus Q failed to pick up much interest.
Dubbed Nexus Player, the $99 device is made by Asus and will compete directly with the likes of Apple TV, Roku and Fire TV. Users will be able to rent movies and TV shows from Google Play, or stream content from a myriad of apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora, Plex and a bunch more available from Google’s app store. The device also mimics Chromecast’s functionality by letting you stream content from a smartphone or tablet.
Gaming is apparently a big focus for Google, and much like Amazon, the company will be selling an optional gamepad for $40 so you can play Android games on it -- it’s unclear if the entire Google Play library will be available, as developers will likely need to adapt their titles for TVs first.
The device itself sports a sleek hockey puck shape around 4.7-inches in diameter and comes with a voice search-enabled remote control -- again, like Amazon’s Fire TV. Hardware specifications include a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 8GB internal storage, and HDMI-out.
The Nexus Player will be available to preorder on Friday, and you'll be able to buy it in stores beginning November 3rd. It’ll be interesting to see how Android TV measures up against the competition -- from what little we’ve seen of it, the interface looks really nice, and Google has probably learned a thing or two with the success of its more-limited and inexpensive Chromecast dongle.
Google is replacing its previous two tablets, the Nexus 7 and 10, with a single slate this time around. The HTC-made Nexus 9 has an 8.9-inch, 2048 × 1536-pixel display and is powered by the 64-bit dual-core variant of Nvidia’s Tegra K1 SoC -- which, unlike KitKat, Android Lollipop can actually take advantage of.
Design-wise the tablet has a soft-grip back and brushed aluminum frame. At 7.95mm, it’s a little thicker than an iPad Air, but it’s not quite as tall or wide, and it’s even a little lighter -- although that could change tomorrow.
Features include an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, a 6700mAh battery, comes in either black or white and in three configurations: 16GB for $399, 32GB for $479, and an LTE-enabled 32GB model for $599. There’s also an optional keyboard cover for an extra $129.
Google's planning to launch Nexus 9 in 29 countries over the coming weeks, with pre-orders going live in the US and Canada this Friday.