Google tries to upstage Apple with latest devices

AP Photo/GoogleThis product image provided by Google shows the Nexus 9 tablet. Google unveiled its latest tablet Wednesday

Google has unveiled its latest tablet in an apparent effort to upstage Apple's anticipated update of its trend-setting iPad.

The Nexus 9 tablet announced Wednesday will compete against a new version of the iPad Air that Apple Inc. is expected to show off to reporters and analysts at a Thursday event in Cupertino, California.

Besides taking the wraps off its new tablet, Google Inc. also rolled out its latest Nexus smartphone. The Nexus 6 phone has a nearly 6-inch screen, eclipsing the 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 6 Plus that Apple began selling last month.

Both of the Nexus devices will run on a new version of Google's Android operating system. The latest software is called “Lollipop” in keeping with Google's tradition of naming its Android upgrades after treats.

Google also is releasing a media player to stream video and music. That device will compete against similar streaming devices made by Apple and Roku, among others.

The Nexus 9, made by HTC, will sell for $399 to $599, depending on the storage capacity. That's a substantial markup from the previous generation of Google's tablet, the Nexus 7, which was offered at prices as low as $229 when it came out about 14 months ago.

Prices for the Nexus 6 phone, made by Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary, will start at $649 without a wireless contract. That's $300 more than the previous model, the Nexus 5, released a year ago. Discounts will be offered by wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in return for two-year commitments to pay for an Internet data plan for the device.

Pre-orders for the Nexus 9 and the streaming player will be accepted beginning Friday. Both devices will reach store shelves on Nov. 3. Advance orders for the Nexus 6 will be accepted toward the end of October and be available in stores at a still-to-be-determined date next month.

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