Nexus 5X and 6P Smartphones Are Unlocked and Loaded

Google today revealed two Nexus smartphones, the 5X made by LG and the 6P made by Huawei, which showcase the new Android 6.0 OS “Marshmallow” via some intriguing new hardware. The new phones will have the newest USB Type-C connectors, a highly anticipated cable for computing devices that has no wrong-side up, making for quick connections and the fastest potential throughput (10Gbps) for mobile devices and accessories.

These smartphones also boast fingerprint sensors on the back that can authorize transactions on Android Pay, Google’s latest NFC-based mobile-payment scheme. Google says this sensor, which it calls Imprint, can recognize fingerprints in just 0.6 seconds. What’s more, Google says, the sensor will get even faster as it becomes familiar with the way you touch it.

The large, 12.3-megapixel sensors in the new phones are supposed to deliver strong low-light performance. The 5X has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, while the one on the 6P is 8 megapixels. A double tap of the home button launches the camera even when the screen is dark.   

These phones support Marshmallow’s No Doze, which keeps the phones in standby mode using 30 percent less energy. Part of the way it works is by only maintaining the apps you use most on standby. The rest are shut down until you begin engaging the phone. Both phones, available exclusively on Google’s Play store in late October, will be sold unlocked and support the networks of most U.S. carriers.  The LG-made Nexus 5X, which starts at $379, has 5.2-inch (423ppi) display and a plastic casing. The Huawei-made Nexus 6P, which starts at $499, is 7.3mm thick and has an “aircraft-grade” aluminum case and a 5.7-inch display. Preorders begin today.

Tasty Marshmallow Features

Here are some notable features of Marshmallow, which will become available to many late-model Android phones beginning today.

App drawer. Apps in the app drawer are now stacked vertically, from A to Z, as they have been in the App manager. Instead of flipping across screens to access them, you’ll just have to scroll down one page. Typing the first few letters of the app should take you right to the app you want.

Frequently accessed apps. Android will not only show apps by how frequently you use them, but will also consider other factors, such as the time of day when you typically access them.

Google on Tap. Essentially, these are searches you can perform that consider the context of what you’re doing. For instance, if a friend sends you a text message from the Mets game, you can easily find out when the Mets score, their current league standing, or when they’ll play again—without leaving the message. You launch the feature by long-pressing the home button.

Sophisticated voice commands. Launching apps with your voice isn’t new, but now you’ll be able to get more specific about what you want the app to do. For instance, if you launch the National Public Radio app, the app will ask you which programs you’d like to listen to.        

We’ll have more on these phones when we get them in our labs.

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