Replacing both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 in one swoop, the new HTC Nexus 9 has finally been officially unveiled by Google today. The Nexus 9 is the first Nexus device from HTC since the original Nexus One and also marks the Taiwanese company’s return to the tablet market.

The Nexus 9 boasts an 8.9-inch display, with 2048 x 1440 resolution (not quite up to the iPad mini in terms of pixel density), 4:3 aspect ratio (as opposed to the Nexus 7’s widescreen dimensions) and is only 0.31-inches thick, which is just a hair thicker than the iPad mini. It’s powered by an Nvidia Tegra K1 chip (which should be good news based on our review of the Shield Tablet) and it has 2GB of RAM, plus both 16 and 32GB storage options. There’s an 8 megapixel camera on the back, and a 1.6 megapixel shooter on the front.

As for the external appearance, it actually looks a bit like an enlarged version of the Nexus 5, but with brushed-metal sides. The display, covered by a slab of Gorilla Glass 3, also takes advantage of a 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than 16:9, and features a double tap to wake option. Unfortunately, at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536, the N9 has a pixel density of 281 ppi, which is a bit lower than expected. Google hopes to make up for it in productivity, however, as Google and HTC have designed a keyboard folio case that attaches to the Nexus 9 magnetically.

Nexus 9 Specs

CPU/GPU dual-core 2.3 GHz Nvidia Tegra K1
Display 8.9 inches (2048 x 1536), 4:3 aspect ratio
Memory 16/32GB storage
Battery non-removable 67000mah li-po 6700 mAh
Camera 8MP rear cam, 1.6MP front cam
Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth® v 4.0 (LE)
Sensors Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
OS Android 5.0
Dimensions and Weight 8.9 x 6.05 x 0.31 inches, 425grams (wifi model)

Software features

The Nexus 9 will be the first tablet to ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop, and will also be the first Android tablet to be optimized for 64-bit both on the software and hardware level.

Many of us had the opportunity to get to know the Android L developer preview and so some of the functionality in Android 5.0 will be familiar, albeit it with several new coats of polish thrown on top.

Staple changes for Android 5.0 include 64-bit support, the new Material Design interface changes, notification improvements throughout the UI, improved security and business features, battery optimization software, and even minor tweaks like searchable settings and revised quick settings.

As for any Nexus 9-specific changes? As is to be expected from the Nexus series, you pretty much get a flat-out unedited Android experience here, but then again, that’s a large part of the appeal for pure Android fans.

A couple of interesting tidbits:

1. Tap To Wake

The Nexus 9 will support a new “tap to wake” option that’s part of Android 5.0: Like we’ve seen on some manufacturers’ devices before, you’ll be able to tap twice anywhere on the screen to wake the tablet up.

2. Keyboard case accessory

We’ve known for a while that the Nexus 9 would have an optional Keyboard Folio, and now it’s official. The keyboard attaches to the N9 via magnets and pairs with NFC. The keyboard also includes its own battery that will last roughly five months between harges.

No word on exact pricing or availability for the keyboard just yet.

The details:

  • The Nexus 9 has a 8.9-in. IPS LCD display with an unusual 4:3 aspect ratio — part of “a new focus on productivity,” according to Google — and 2048-x-1536 resolution.
  • It also has dual front-facing stereo speakers along with HTC’s custom BoomSound audio enhancements.
  • The N9 measures in at 6.1 x 9 x 0.31 in. For comparison, the 2013 Nexus 7 was 4.5 x 7.9 x 0.34 in. while the Nexus 10 was 7 x 10.4 x 0.35 in. This is very much an in-betweener type of tablet.
  • The new Nexus will use a 64-bit processor — NVIDIA’s Tegra K1, along with 2GB of RAM — which Google promises will deliver “all the power and graphics of a desktop computer.”
  • The Nexus 9 has a 6700mAh battery. In terms of actual usage, it’s listed for up to 9.5 hours of active browsing over Wi-Fi or up to 30 days of standby.
  • Wireless charging? Doesn’t look like it; there’s no mention of that anywhere in the spec sheets or press materials for the device, while that is explicitly pointed out as being present on the Nexus 6. But I’m still waiting for official confirmation.
  • Please don’t be that person who takes pictures with his or her tablet — please — but the Nexus 9 has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. It also has a 1.6-megapixel front-facing lens for video chatting and (if you must) tablet-based selfies.
  • Like the Nexus 7 and 10 before it, the Nexus 9 has a soft-touch plastic back. It steps things up a bit, though, with the addition of “brushed metal” sides for a frame.
  • The tablet will come in a choice of three colors: “Indigo Black,” “Lunar White,” and “Sand.” The first two will be available at launch while the third will appear sometime later this year.
  • Once again, contrary to rumors, there is no SD card slot on this device; you can get it with either 16GB or 32GB of internal space.
  • In case you didn’t catch the brief mention above, there will be an LTE-enabled model available. Specifics on that are still slim, but Google says it’ll be coming “later this year,” so we’ll keep our ears open for details.

Price and availability

The Nexus 9 will be available in two color options, black and white, with 16GB or 32GB of storage (Wi-Fi version) or 32GB of storage only (LTE version). Here are the prices:

16GB WiFi – $399
32GB WiFi – $479
32GB LTE – $599
The Nexus 9 will ship from November 3, with pre-orders set to start Friday, October 17..

The Nexus 9 comes powered by the latest edition of Android, which was previewed at I/O earlier this year as ‘Android L,’ but which will be called Lollipop for the official public launch.

More Coverage

While the information above gives you a good idea of what to expect from the handset, we have more coverage related to Android 5.0 & Nexus 6!

Be sure to let us know your views in the comments!

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