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Google Grows Phablet Market with Gigantic Nexus 6

Bigger than a phone, smaller than a tablet, hybrid phablet devices continue to be a surprisingly successful niche in the mobile market, evidenced by the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, and now Google’s own form factor bending Nexus 6, a colossal 6-inch smartphone.

To that end, the search engine giant held its own glitzy release event this week, unveiling its new Nexus 9 tablet, the aforementioned Nexus 6 phablet, and its Android 5.0 upgrade, dubbed Lollipop. It’s clear that the Motorola-made Nexus devices are designed solely around this latest Android upgrade, par for the course with anything Google actually puts its name on. But this time, however, it looks like Google is actually interested in making some money, evidenced by the $649 price tag for the Nexus 6, far and away the most expensive Nexus device to date.

The only question I continue to ask is how big is too big when it comes to phablets? With only one inch now separating the largest smartphones from the smallest tablets, will the two genres continue to blur into one, particularly as the popularity in stand alone tablets continues to wane while the interest in phablets only continues to grow?

 Little more than an expanded Moto X, the eye-catching feature of Google’s Nexus 6, aside from Android 5.0’s facelift, is clearly is monumental size, measuring in larger than both the iPhone 6 Plus and the latest Galaxy Note 4. Like the Note 4, Google’s Nexus 6 will featureQuad HD display, meaning that everything will still look sharp despite the large display size. The phone will has include a Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, a 3220 mAh battery, and two front-facing speakers, and is available with either 32 or 64GB of internal storage and comes in either blue or white.

As mentioned, the Nexus 6 comes with Android 5.0, a redesign of the world’s most popular mobile OS that strikes me as a marriage between traditional Android interface and something perhaps from Microsoft, sporting an interface built around simple shapes. Further, the gargantuan phone will sport Motorola’s Turbo Chargers, allowing the phone to regain 6 hours of battery life in only 15 minutes of charging.

All that to say, Google and Motorola have created a phablet platform that not only pushes the boundaries of size, but one that pushes the boundaries of battery life, interface, and overall functionality as well.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t once again mention my deep-seated confusion with the entire phablet fad. While I fully acknowledge that smartphones are used less and less for voice communication and more for texting and data consumption, the reality is that they are still phones, meaning they’re still voice-enabled devices that come with the expectation of portability (they are still mobile devices after all). At 6-inches, however, not only will the Nexus 6 obscure much of one’s face while talking on it, it will likely need to come with its own carrying case, as there’s no way any modern pair of pants can accommodate such a colossal device.

Simply put, these giant phones seem to suffer from the same drawbacks as the very first Motorola mobile devices–you know, the giant bricks from the ‘80s–in that they lack both convenience and mobility, leading me to wonder if the next Nexus device will be some sort of ‘80s throwback…and to wonder just how popular it would be.