Name five devices that run on Google's Android TV operating system. If you managed to do that without hurriedly running to a Google search, you are a rare breed. Ask the average user, even someone who is a longtime Android user, and you will probably get a blank stare.
Google said that Android M is still on track for a fall release, which means that we are likely to see a new Nexus device as well by then. So far, there have been two rumors about which manufacturer will get the chance to make the device. On the one hand, there is LG, already a proven Nexus maker. On the other hand, Huawei's name also came up, which would make it the first Chinese OEM to be given the distinction. And apparently, there might be other reasons for this rather novel team-up.
Just a while ago we looked into the reasons why it wouldn't be in Microsoft's best interests to suddenly switch to Android as its mobile platform. And then head honcho Satya Nadella dropped the huge bombshell. Microsoft has, for all intents and purposes, stricken off Nokia from its books. This has lead many to conclude Microsoft's surrender in the smartphone market. And they might very well be right. Or not. Like many things in life, things aren't as clear cut as we would like, and Microsoft's struggle with mobile is far from over.
The next Nexus smartphone has been tipped this week with a 3D camera akin to Google's Project Tango device line. Two Nexus smartphones have been tipped to be released this year, both with Android M under the hood. One, a relatively normal Nexus device with low cost and a vanilla edition of Android, made by Huawei. The other, an LG-made Nexus device with a 3D camera - not as cheap, but still running the next version of Android nonetheless. The LG-made smartphone won't necessarily be called "Nexus" - it might be released on completely different terms.
It's time to get a handle on ASUS' best effort in the affordable smartphone space yet. This is the ASUS ZenFone 2, and it's more than ready to take on the rest of the unlocked, low-cost, high value smartphone space. This device isn't mean to take on the $600 phone market. It's not meant to be pitted up against your Galaxies and your HTC ones. Instead, this is a warrior taking on the often forgotten "I just bought a new phone and didn't need to tie myself down to a 2-year contract or sell a kidney" crowd.
It's tough to stand out when you're still in the shadow of a skydiving co-founder, and Google I/O 2015 ended with many still holding their breath for the big bang. Even with Android M on the agenda, what we got instead was a more rounded view of how Google sees computing evolving, not only in near-saturated markets like the US and Europe, but for the "next billion" whose first taste of the internet will most likely come through an affordable smartphone. It was a lot to fit into even an extended keynote, at times feeling like Google was rushing to name-check projects without giving them the context they perhaps needed. In fact, most of the really cool stuff didn't even get a spot on the big stage.
Android Pay is coming, and it's impressively streamlined compared to the overly-complicated and feature-bulging Google Wallet. Officially revealed alongside Android M at Google I/O today, the mobile payments system supports both NFC for dropping virtual cash out in the wild, and in-app integration for retailers wanting to enable easy payments. I grabbed a Nexus 6 and a Nexus 5, both equipped with pre-release versions of Android Pay, to go shopping on Google's dime.
Developers and press arrive at Google I/O 2015, the company's development-aimed yearly conference. This year the folks at Google will be live-streaming events like their first and only keynote and a number of universally important developer talks. This year's conference is rumored to contain everything from Google VR to "Smart Socks", with predictions of a new Moto 360, Android M Developer Preview, and Chromecast 2 circling the water cooler. Is this the Google I/O where Google finally skips the product announcements and keeps it tuned to developers, like the conference was meant to? Or will this be another wild ride down speculation lane?
Google puts their Nexus Player nearer its end-of-life with a change in presentation just days before Google I/O. This isn't a coincidence. The Nexus Player is about $20 cheaper than it debuted at, now coming in at $79 through the Google Store. This and the oncoming rush of Android TV sets like NVIDIA SHIELD and Razer Forge TV may have Google pushing a second generation device just in time for Google I/O 2015. As the operating system gains speed, Google may just put the 2nd generation unit in developers hands this week.
With Google's I/O developers conference only two days away, Android enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting news and details on the next version of the operating system, codenamed Android M. But while the event may primarily focus on software development, it can also be a starting point for speculation about what hardware will be released under Google's Nexus brand later in the year. One of the latest rumors building up is that there will be two Nexus smartphones to see release in 2015, however there may not be a Nexus tablet.