The season of much-anticipated smartphone events continues, as the day on which Google is expected to unveil its latest “pure Android” smartphones has been announced. Lauren Goode reports for The Verge that Google just announced an event planned for Tuesday, September 29, at 9 a.m. Pacific time in San Francisco. While Google’s recent reorganization revealed that the company could have “almost anything” up its sleeve, Goode thinks that it’s a safe bet that we’ll see some new Nexus 5 smartphones unveiled at the event.
It’s been rumored since last spring that two Nexus phones are on the way: one from LG and one from Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei. It’s also likely that Google will introduce a new model of the Chromecast — which would be especially timely given Apple’s and Amazon’s recent announcements of new streaming devices, the Apple TV and Fire TV. The event could also mark Sundar Pichai’s first major event since Google’s major reorganization.
Anticipation of Google’s event is mounting, especially since the company announced that the next version of Android is called Marshmallow. Jon Russell and Drew Olanoff report for TechCrunch that the Nexus line of phones has proven popular because the devices run a “pure” form of Android, and are optimized for the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. Additionally, the devices are usually relatively affordable, but Google doesn’t manufacturer the smartphones itself.
LG created the last Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones, but Huawei, which is gaining steam in the global smartphone market, hasn’t yet worked on the project with Google. Speculation about the next additions to the Nexus lineup holds that LG is working on a “regular-sized” smartphone, while Huawei’s may be a larger handset.
If that rumor proves true, the move would follow a trend set by other heavy hitters in the smartphone market. Russell and Olanoff point out that both Samsung — with the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus — and Apple — with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus — have released smaller and larger phones devices designed to suit different users and their varying tastes.
Jacob Kastrenakes reports for The Verge that Google’s new phones will reportedly be called the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P. While it’s not entirely obvious why Google would choose to put an X at the end of one name and a P at the end of the other, Kastrenakes notes that Huawei, which is expected to be building a 6-inch Nexus phone, has been using the letter P to name its flagship phones for a while.
The new Nexus phones may not be the only products to appear at the September 29 event. It’s expected that a new version of the Chromecast streaming stick will land by the end of the month, with faster WiFi connectivity, faster playback, multi-room support, and improved audio feedback. 9to5Google also reports that Chromecast Audio, which is code-named Hendrix, is expected to join the new Chromecast as an audio-specific product, one that enables users to have multi-room audio “without spending a fortune on Sonos systems.” You would reportedly be able to plug the product in to any audio device that accepts a 3.5mm jack and stream music directly to it.
Additionally, Stephen Hall reports for 9to5Google that the company is updating its Chromecast app, with new features that enable users to browse content offered through various Chromecast-supported apps, a screen that shows you which Chromecast apps you have installed and suggests apps available on the Play Store, and a new user interface with tabbed navigation, similar to the interface currently found in the Play Store app.
Russell and Olanoff note that its seems significant that press invites to the September 29 event came from Google, not Alphabet. They expect that Pichai will speak about “how all of the units at the company, including Android, are being developed together, in a streamlined way.” In the past, it has been very clear which teams at Google worked on what, and who was responsible for what from a design and functionality standpoint.
Cam Bunton reports for 9to5Google that the event will not only clarify which pre-launch rumors and leaks are correct, but will also provide a definitive answer as to how Google will price its newest Nexus phones. Bunton notes that last year’s Nexus from LG was considered a great value — while the Nexus 6 from Motorola was one of the most expensive smartphones on the market when it launched — and recent rumors have indicated that this year’s model could start at $400, similar to the Moto X Style/ Pure. “If so,” Bunton reports, “it doesn’t seem likely that the Huawei Nexus will be anything less than a traditional flagship in both specs and cost.”