Google slims Android with Lollipop

Google has unveiled a new rev of Android, Android L (for Lollipop). The updated OS only requires 512 megabytes to run so it should be able to run on even the least expensive mobile devices.

But Google isn’t just shooting for the low end. According to Sundar Pichai, who runs Google’s Android, Chrome and Apps businesses, “With Android L, we wanted to show the entire spectrum.”

And to back up that statement Google showed off three new devices that will run with Lollipop; a new Nexus 6 smartphone, a Nexus 9 tablet and the Nexus Player set-top box.

The Nexus 6 will have a screen that measures 5.9 inches diagonally (compared to Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus that measures 5.5 inches). The Nexus 6 will be made by Motorola Mobility (that Google is selling to China’s Lenovo Group). The phone is expected to retail for $649 (compared to Apple’s $749 price tag).

The Nexus 9 tablet will feature an 8.9 inch screen and will be manufactured by HTC. It is expected to sell for a starting price of $399 with an optional keyboard cover (that doubles as an external battery) that sells for $129. (We’ll have to wait until tomorrow for Apple’s next event where they are expected to reveal their latest iPads and perhaps prices.)

The Nexus Player, manufactured by Asustek, will cost around $99 with an optional game controller at $39.99. It is expected to be able to play Android games and also stream movies and TV shows.

Google is not expecting to jump into the device manufacturing biz with these three devices. They are just showing them off to let people know that Lollipop can run on a wide range of devices.

While none of these devices are particularly groundbreaking and many people will say that Google is just doing this to try and steal a bit of Apple’s thunder, the fact that the new OS only requires 512 MB will mean that a lot of lower-end device manufacturers will embrace the new OS around the world.