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Nexus 9 not supposed to be an iPad Air 2 killer, just a template for one

Published Oct 27th, 2014 7:45AM EDT
Nexus 9 vs. iPad Air 2
Image: Google Inc.

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Google this year announced a hight-end new Nexus tablet that’s closer in size to Apple’s iPad Air flagship, but also when it comes to performance and price. However, the company doesn’t see the Nexus 9 as an iPad Air 2 killer, even though it announced it just before Apple unveiled its own 2014 iPads. Instead, it’s supposed to be just a model Google hopes other Android tablet makers will follow when they build the upcoming iPad killer, according to Engadget.

FROM EARLIER: New video gives us a fantastic up-close look at the Nexus 9

“We wanted to accelerate the premium market for Android tablets,” head of Nexus 9 industrial design Alberto Villarreal told the publication. “[The Nexus 9] has a lot of attributes and definitely will bring the quality for other companies to do better.”

Build quality is apparently the reason why HTC was chosen for this particular task.

“We saw the One and really liked how their designs were very simple, focused on usability and removed things that didn’t need to be there,” Villarreal added. “They have nice craft and precision details and materials.”

The exec also explained the Nexus 9 is also supposed to be sort-of a fashion statement at least when it comes to color options, as the company decided it’s time to be “moving away from technology-driven black and silver, which is very common in the industry, and trying to bring more of a fashion look to the portfolio.”

Even though Google now wants to encourage its partners to create premium tablets to rival the iPad Air 2, after pushing affordable ones in previous years, other OEMs might not have timely access to one critical piece of the puzzle.

As expected for a Nexus device, the hardware and software teams worked closely on the Nexus 9. “We worked together with the software team from the onset —it was a super-close collaboration,” Villarreal told Engadget. The Nexus 9 will launch with Android 5.0 Lollipop on board, Google’s latest mobile operating system update, but it’ll be a while until OEMs are ready to launch Lollipop-running flagship tablets of their own, or upgrade existing ones to Android 5.0.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.