Today, Google held a press conference to introduce all the new software and devices that it's releasing, on the heels of Apple's similar event on September 9. In short, Google is really giving Apple a savage awakening. CEO Sundar Pichai announced that there are now 1.4 billion active Android devices across the world, and that their numbers in developing countries have DOUBLED in the past year.
"We're well on our way to bringing the next billion online," says Sundar.
Google introduced two new phones, the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, which are available for preorder today.
The 6P is the more impressive and more expensive: While it's about the same size, the 5.7-inch screen gives the 5.5-inch screen of the iPhone 6s Plus a run for its money, and charges in half the time. The front-facing camera is said to capture the "world's best selfies." It comes in frost white, aluminum and graphite and pricing starts at $499.
However, the Nexus 5X boats a longer lasting battery as well as the same 1.55 micron camera as the 6P. In comparison, the iPhone 6s Plus has a 1.22 micron camera. Google claims its camera is much better at snapping indoor pics, with 92 percent more light collecting ability than other smartphones. Google also introduced slow-mo video and a fast-acting smart burst feature that allows you to make GIFs. YAS.
There's also Google Imprint, which is a "seamless way of authenticating with your fingerprint" by lightly tapping the back of your phone.
And Android Sensor Hub, which knows when you pick up the phone and shows you a low-power black-and-white display of the clock and your notifications. 2Spooky.
Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Google also gave the low-do on the newest operating system, called by its code name, Marshmallow (how cute).
Some of the updates to look forward to are time estimates of how long your phone needs to charge, less annoying notifications and an "app drawer" that begins to learn your usage pattern (which apps you open at which time of day, in which order, etc.).
There's also the Now On Tap feature, which basically turns your home button into a Google button - just hold it down, and it will optimize whatever you have on your screen. For example, if a friend sends you a restaurant recommendation, you can press the home button and you'll have the option to make a calendar event, call the restaurant directly or make a reservation through OpenTable.
Finally, Android now has Doze Mode, which uses periods of inactivity to optimize your battery (for all those nights you forget to charge your phone before bed).
Google Play Music
Google Play Music now has a family plan, charging $14.99 for up to six people to use one account, giving Apple Music and Spotify both some competition.
Google Photos is introducing a way to share photos with your friends later this year, so that you can each add the photos from your separate phones into one album and view them all together. This week, Google Photos launches labeling for photos, so that you can search more easily.
Google also introduced a new sleeker design for its Chromecast - still priced at $35 - with a much stronger wi-fi performance, as well as the Chromecast Audio, which is designed to work with your existing speakers. Today, Google announced that Spotify is now compatible with both Chromecasts (watch out, Apple Music).
Along with these new devices, Google has also updated the Chromecast app for Android and iOS. Now, when you visit the app, you can get recommendations from all the streaming apps you have already downloaded, like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Google Play and WatchESPN, in one spot. You can toggle between apps and decide what to play next without changing what's streaming on the screen. You can even search a TV show and find out which apps have it, regardless of whether or not you've downloaded it to your phone. Finally, the loading time to stream shows and movies has been reduced by up to 80 percent. TG...more time for Pretty Little Liars reruns.
The new Pixel C tablet was impressive with its detachable keyboard ($149) that can easily be tucked behind the touchscreen tablet when it's not in use. Four microphones allow you to wake up the device from across the room. The tablets start at $499.
If you're an Apple girl, you might be finding your allegiance starting to waver with Google's on-point new features!