Those who stayed up to catch Google I/O stream live were certainly not disappointed as Google released a lot of new products. The big announcements of the day were the new Nexus 7 tablet, Android 4.1 (JellyBean) os, Sergey Brin’s skydiving demo of Google Glass, the Nexus Q music player and the introduction of Google+ Events.
Nexus 7 tablet
Many of the rumours surrounding Nexus 7 tablet were finally realised. Google Nexus 7 is a quad-core tablet featuring a 12-core GPU. Yup, the little tablet is getting 12 cores for the GPU !! It will also be the first device out of Google’s stables that features Android 4.1, JellyBean. Other specs include a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and a nice 1280×800 pixel screen. The best thing about the tablet has to be the price; just $199 for the 8GB version and $249 for 16GB and it’s available for order right now in Google Play and will ship mid July. Google will also include a $25 Google Play Store credit. Unfortunately Malaysia will not be seeing the tablet anytime soon.
Improved Google Play
Seeing as how Nexus 7 tablet will be relying heavily on Google Play for content; Google Play Store has received an update. It will now sell magazines, TV shows, and movies as well as its current stable of music, books, and apps. There’s also a Google Magazine app which allow users to subscribe to magazines. The updated YouTube app will also now sell episodes of TV shows, entire seasons and even movies which was previously only available for rent. As enticing as all this sounds it is not available for Malaysia just yet. We’re eagerly waiting for it Google.
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
The long awaited release of Android 4.1 JellyBean is finally here with many small enhancements that makes it a more fluid and intuitive OS overall thanks to “Project Butter”. Project butter improves speed including VSync, Triple Buffering (so the CPU and GPU work together without competing for resources) and Touch Responsiveness. Google practically went on to say how slow Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is compared to JellyBean in a video demonstration. Home screens are now easier to customize, notifications are much more robust, offline voice typing is enabled, and a new Siri competitor has emerged called “Google Now.” It goes beyond what Siri can offer and is a more complete assistant as it accurately analyzes your history of behavior to better guess what you’re saying and what you want. Android 4.1 JellyBean will be coming to Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom sometime mid July.
Nexus Q social streaming media player
The Nexus Q when it was first unveiled looked like an odd ball resembling a bowling ball to some extent. Google is creating a new genre of device to fit in the living room. It has a processor (ARM) inside and has a multicolored light up strip around it which changes colours. Nexus Q will interact with YouTube, Google Play Movies, Play Music and TV and via your Android 4.1 equipped phones and tablets. The device will connect to a stereo system and television via optical audio, Micro-HDMI, dual band Wi-Fi. It’s rather pricey though at $299 and will only ship in the next two to three weeks.
Google is once again giving more reasons to use Google+, this time with Google+ Events. With Google+ Events, you can now set up times and dates and events in Google+ (and Google Calendar) and manage parties and special occasions. The feature which I personally really like is the “Party mode,” which lets everyone at a party automatically upload their pictures to the Google+ event page.The Google+ app will be updated on both iOS and Android is available for Android right now.
Halfway through the Google+ presentation, Sergey Brin rushed up on stage and interrupted. He had something cool to showoff and it started out with a live Google+ Hangout with a bunch of skydivers all equipped with Google Glasses. They then proceeded to jump off the plane and land on top of the Moscone Center where the Google event was being held. It continued with some biking, repelling and other acrobatic stunts showcasing Google Glasses point-of-view. Following all that action, they finally talked about the Google Glass itself. Google Glass has a powerful small processor, touchpad, buttons, accelerometer, GPS, and multiple radios. The placement of the glass is to ensure it doesn’t interrupt the wearer and to make it non intrusive. Plus it weighs less than a sunglasses, so you might not even notice that it’s there. Google announced that the Glass explorer edition will be made available for US-based Google I/O attendees for $1500 (YES, 1.5k US dollars) and will only start shipping early next year.
Last but not least they also mentioned about the first official Google Plus I/O after hours event which will make use of the new Google Plus features and everyone attending will be able to upload and share the photos with the world. Of course no Google I/O would be complete without some swag and this year attendees walk away with a Galaxy Nexus phone, a Nexus 7 tablet, and a Nexus Q !!! Talk about scoring !! We are officially green with envy.
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