[Introducing the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6, powered by Android Lollipop. Photo Courtesy of Google]

Google’s Nexus family keeps on getting bigger.

The Internet giant on Wednesday introduced the Nexus 9, a tablet with an 8.9-inchdisplay manufactured by Taiwanese hardware maker HTC, the Nexus 6, a smartphone with a 6-inch display made by Motorola Mobility, and the Nexus Player, a streaming media player by Asus and the first device running Android TV. As with past Nexus launches, the devices serve as a showcase for the latest version of Google’s Android mobile operating system, dubbed Lollipop, but previously referred to as “L.”

The Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will be available for preorder on October 17, and will hit stores on November 3. The 16GB version of the Nexus 9 will cost $399, the 32GB version will cost $479 and the 32GB version with LTE will cost $599. The Nexus Player and remote control will cost $99 with an optional controller for $40.

The Nexus 6 will be available for preorder on October 29 and available in November, sold unlocked or through carriers. Sprint, US Cellular, AT&T and T-Mobile will sell the Nexus 6 in the US. The 32GB version of the Nexus 6 will cost $649 unlocked, while the 64GB version will cost $699.

The phone marks Google’s entrance into the “phablet” market, a large-screen device that serves almost as a hybrid phone and tablet. The Nexus 6 — which wasreportedly code-named “Shamu” after the famous killer whale — is larger than Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, announced at a splashy press event last month, as well as the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which is launching on Friday. A listing for the Nexus 6 made a subtle appearance on AT&T’s website Tuesday night, with a $50 on-contract price. AT&T declined to comment on pricing.

The Nexus line has been Google’s attempt to create devices running the “pure” Android experience, in which the hardware manufacturer — in this case Asus, HTC and Motorola — is forbidden from making tweaks to the Android user interface, altering the software or preloading custom apps. Nexus products are seen as the closest thing to a “Google” product, and typically garner buzz among the Android fan community, helping past vendor partners such as LG gain credibility.

The Nexus announcements come ahead of an Apple press event scheduled for Thursday, at which the company is expected to unveil new iPads and Macs. For the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant, which last month introduced new larger-screen iPhones and a smartwatch, iPad sales have been a sore spot. The iPad still leads the tablet world with more than 32 percent of the market, but its share has dwindled 40 percent last year. Samsung tablets, which run Android, have gained ground this year with 22 percent of the market, up from 17.5 percent, according to IDC.


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