Google’s September 29th event — the company’s biggest press-facing event since Google I/O 2015 — is scheduled to kick off tomorrow. And while there are definitely some things that haven’t managed to hit the rumor mill quite yet (or maybe not?), a lot of the company’s biggest announcements for tomorrow aren’t secret. The company is planning to reveal two different Chromecast devices, we’ll certainly see the unveiling of the company’s Nexus 5X and 6P, and we’ll hear about the official launch of Android Marshmallow among many other announcements…
2nd gen. Chromecast
First up is the new Chromecast hardware itself, which you can see pictured below. As we reported, the device is definitely a departure from the original model (possibly leaving behind the “dongle” form factor altogether?). Besides evidence that it will come in three different colors (yellow, black, and red), we still haven’t quite figured out what it is we’re looking at here. A balloon? A pair of ear muffs? Your guess is as good as ours. It kind of looks like a dongle, but I can’t see why you would release a behind-the-TV dongle in three different colors.
Google’s not only changing the appearance, though — this thing has a lot of changes coming to the inside as well.
While we haven’t seen the exact specifications of the new device, we have learned that one of the changes Google is bringing to this version is improved WiFi connectivity, which likely means support for the faster 802.11ac band. Phandroid previously surfaced FCC documents it claimed were for the next Nexus Player showing 802.11ac WiFi support, but it seems that those documents are actually describing this new 2nd generation Chromecast. The original Chromecast only supported 802.11b/g/n.
The 2nd generation Chromecast is also going to include support for content feeds on the Chromecast home screen. It’s not clear yet what kind of “feeds” you’ll be able to add, but this probably means adding social media feeds or image feeds that can play when your Chromecast is in its screensaver “backdrop” mode. This will be configured through the new Chromecast companion app. Currently, the Chromecast backdrop is only customizable in that you can toggle things like weather and art, as well as add your own personal photos.
There’s also a new feature called “Fast Play”. Assumably, along with the improved WiFi features, “Fast Play” will allow Chromecast to establish a connection much quicker and play content more seamlessly when pressing the “Cast” button on a connected device. This is one area many users find frustrating with the current Chromecast, and if Google has made the experience anything close to this, Fast Play might be the device’s most compelling feature.
Not to be confused with Google Cast for Audio, which is Google’s platform for making speakers and other audio hardware directly compatible with the Chromecast protocol, sources say that “Chromecast Audio” is a second Chromecast device scheduled to be made official at Google’s September 29th event. Sources have also informed us that the device goes by the codename “Hendrix,” which makes sense given it being audio and music-focused.
As seen in the image we published previously, this device can plug directly into any speaker by way of 3.5 mm headphone cable, and it appears Google might plan to include one with the device itself. This device forgoes what appears to be a dongle at the top of the regular 2nd gen. Chromecast.
Chromecast Audio will, according to our reports, have multi-room support, which could mean that several devices could power multiple speakers outputting the same audio at the same time. The device is also said to have the ability to mirror the audio coming from your Chrome browser or an Android phone. Google brags that the device will feature “high-quality” audio.
New Chromecast app
As we exclusively reported, there’s also new Chromecast app that has at least a few notable additions over the current version. First, there appears to be a section referred to as “What’s On,” which allows you to browse content offered through various Chromecast-supported apps. As we mentioned earlier this month, the app will show you different movies, videos, and other content from within the apps you have installed on your device.
On top of suggesting actual content, the app also seems to have a screen that shows you which Chromecast apps you have installed and suggests Chromecast-supported apps available on the Play Store. The current version of the app also has a “Discover apps,” tab, but it redirects to a page within the Play Store app. The new app serves as more of an intelligent hub to all the Chromecast-castable content found within your apps.
Finally, as you can tell in the admittedly blurry images to the right, the app is getting a completely new user interface. While it might still have the sidebar found in the current version, there also seems to be a section with tabbed navigation like that which can be found in the Play Store app.
New Google Photos app features including Chromecast support
Last week we told you that a teardown of the latest version of Google Photos revealed some interesting new features: album collaboration, people labeling, Chromecast support, and more. Now we’ve learned thanks to a new report that Google is planning to make these exact three features official at its Nexus and Chromecast event tomorrow.
With one of tomorrow’s focuses being on the Chromecast lineup, it makes sense that Google is reintroducing this feature to Photos. The app is also said to be getting the ability to share your photo albums with friends, as well as easily tag people the app doesn’t auto-tag. Evidence of these features first appeared in Google Photos 1.5, available on the Play Store.
Spotify for Chromecast
While Chromecast has long supported Google Play Music, Netflix, Pandora, and other subscription services, Spotify — one of the most popular music streaming services — has long been left off the list. As we exclusively reported earlier this month, Spotify is preparing to support Chromecast, and it’s going to be made official tomorrow.
Alongside the several Chromecast announcements outlined above, Google is also planning to announce two new smartphones in its Nexus line. The first of which is the long-awaited successor to 2013’s Nexus 5, called the Nexus 5X.
The Nexus 5X will have a 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 LCD display clocking in at 424 ppi, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front camera. The main camera sports an f/2.0 aperture, IR laser autofocus, support for 4K video capture and dual-tone flash. The front camera has 1.4 nanometer pixels and a f/2.2 aperture.
As was previously speculated, the Nexus 5X has a 64-bit Snapdragon 808 processor clocked at 2.0 GHz, paired with an Adreno 418 GPU. You’ll also find 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and availability in both 16 and 32 GB capacities. On the back you’ll find a fingerprint sensor, and the bottom is adorned with a wonderful USB Type-C connector.
The phone of course has a plethora of sensors: Sensor Hub, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a barometer, a proximity sensor, and an assortment of others. In terms of its dimensions, the Nexus 5X is clearly the smaller of the two devices at 147 mm x 72.6 mm x 7.9 mm and a weight of 136 g.
Previous rumors pitted the LG-made Nexus 5X at $400, but the latest reports say that pre-orders will start on September 29 from $379 for the 16 GB model. 16 GB and 32 GB storage options are likely for the phone’s three colors, and it will only be available in US, UK, Korea, Japan and Ireland.
The Nexus 6P will have a 5.7-inch AMOLED display clocked in at 2560 x 1440 pixels and 518 ppi, a 12.3-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The main camera sports an f/2.0 aperture, IR laser autofocus, support for 4K video capture and dual-tone flash. The front camera has 1.4 micrometer pixels.
Ac was previously speculated, the nexus 6P has a Snapdragon 810 system-on-a-chip, alongside a full 3 GB of RAM (up to par for 2015, unlike its brethren) and availability in three capacities: 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB. The phone will have an all-metal build, and you’ll also find USB Type-C on the bottom, and a fingerprint sensor on its rear.
The phone of course has a plethora of sensors: Sensor Hub, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a barometer, a proximity sensor, and an assortment of others. In terms of its dimensions, the Nexus 6P is clearly the larger of the two devices at 159.4 mm x 77.8 mm x 7.3 mm, not far off from what we saw with the Nexus 6.
A report this morning from Android Police says that the device be on sale exclusively through the Google Store, with prices starting at $499.99 for the 32GB model. The Huawei Nexus will be available in Canada, unlike its smaller and cheaper sibling.
Android Marshmallow is largely an iterative update, foregoing the drastic visual overhaul changes we saw with Android Lollipop. Material Design is last year’s news now, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow is here to refine everything the Mountain View company started with Lollipop. The new OS features — as announced at Google I/O 2015 — deeply-integrated fingerprint support, Android Pay (which has actually already launched), granular app permissions, power and charging improvements, Google Now on Tap, and other features.
The Android Marshmallow previews have been out for a few months, and Google is now ready to start pushing Android Marshmallow to the masses. The new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will surely be coming with Marshmallow out of the box, and that means it’s about time for Google to announce general availability of Android Marshmallow for the rest of us. The latest leaks — via Canadian mobile carrier Telus — suggest that Android M is going to start rolling out on October 5th, and if that’s the case, Google will probably mention it in some capacity at its event tomorrow.
Google Play Music All Access family plan
According to a new report out this morning from Android Police, Google is planning to launch a new Google Play Music Family Plan at tomorrow’s event. This is a move to take on competitors like Spotify and Apple, and will allow users to use the service on 6 devices at once for $15 per month.
While this list probably outlines most of the important announcements for tomorrow, there are surely some things that haven’t managed to leak out. The presentation kicks off at 9 AM PT, tomorrow, September 29th, and we’ll be here keeping you up to date on all of Google’s announcements as they come. In the meantime, it seems that the leaks leading up to the event aren’t stopping — so we’ll be keeping this post updated.