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Google announces HTC-made Nexus 9 tablet, coming November 3rd

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Prices start at $399, and you can pre-order beginning October 17th

Google has just announced the Nexus 9, an Android 5.0 tablet that the company designed in collaboration with HTC. Pre-orders will begin on October 17th and you can expect the tablet to start showing up in stores on November 3rd. Nexus 9 is available in either black or white and comes in three configurations: 16GB for $399, 32GB for $479, and an LTE-enabled 32GB model for $599. Sadly, you can't expand that storage through microSD, so we'd recommend opting for the 32GB SKU. (The LTE version and a "sand" color won't be released until "later this year.")

Google's planning to launch Nexus 9 in 29 countries over the coming weeks. In the US, it'll be sold through Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, Google Play, Office Depot, Office Max, QVC/HSN, Radio Shack, Staples, and Walmart. US wireless carriers including T-Mobile will also carry it directly; the Uncarrier will kick off sales November 12th according to this tweet.

A 4:3 screen and powerful hardware

As with most HTC-manufactured products, the Nexus 9 features a premium metal build (at least on the sides) and an 8.9-inch QVGA (2048x1536) display. That screen has a ratio of 4:3 as opposed to 16:9, and HTC has also brought its BoomSound speaker technology to this tablet. Google is also emphasizing what's powering the hardware here: a 64-bit processor — the first for a Nexus product. More specifically, it's Nvidia's Tegra K1 chipset. The device also features 2GB of RAM and, on average, around 9 hours of battery life.

Google says this form factor is "small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on." And there's a real focus on productivity here: Google is also releasing a keyboard attachment that "magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop." So all at once, Google and HTC are going after both the Microsoft Surface and the huge number of consumers who seek aftermarket keyboards for Apple's iPad line. The Nexus 9 certainly isn't cheap — especially compared to Amazon's cutthroat pricing — but seems like a solid piece of hardware meant to fully showcase Android L's work and play capabilities.


Nexus 6 & Nexus 9 Impressions from partner MKBHD