Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q media streamer, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google+ & Project Glass
Google announced a slew of new hardware and software at this year’s I/O event for developers. From tablets to a funky-looking media streamer, to the next version of Android and even the futuristic Project Glass, the boys of Mountain View covered it all so let’s dive right in.
The Nexus 7 serves the same purpose as the Nexus smartphone lineup: it provides a pure Android experience, but on a tablet. The 7-inch slate was made in collaboration with hardware manufacturer Asus, and it packs a 1280×800 back-lit IPS display with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla glass. It measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm and weighs an impressively light 340 grams. A quad-core Tegra 3 processor from NVIDIA and 1GB of RAM power the tablet, and a 4325 mAh battery 9 hours of HD video playback and 300 hours of standby time. As far as sensors go, there’s an accelerometer, GPS, a magnetometer, and a gyroscope. WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and NFC are also on board. Ports include Micro USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack, both located on the bottom of the device. There’s rear-facing camera, but you’ll find a 1.2MP front-facing camera for video chatting. 8GB and 16GB storage capacities are available to pre-order today through the Google Play storefront at $199 and $149, respectively. The tablet ships later this month and comes with a $25 credit for the Play store plus a copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and other media-related extras. It runs the latest version of Android (that is 4.1 Jelly Bean, more on this later) and Google says it was “made for Google Play.” On the homescreen you’ll have quick access to games, your music, movie, and TV show libraries, and your book and magazine collections. In related news, the Google Play store has been updated and now sells magazines, TV shows, and movies can be rented and purchased.
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your Xbox 360 controllers or adding an additional one to the mix, I highly recommend you opt for one of these brand spankin’ new chrome models. Microsoft is branding them the Xbox 360 Special Edition Chrome Series Wireless Controllers and they will come in hues of red, silver, and blue when they hit the market mid-May at $54.99 each. The chrome controllers feature the “transforming D-pad” that Microsoft introduced in the matte silver version back in August 2010. Check ‘em out in the gallery below and let the oos and ahhs commence. Heck, even the packaging is drool-worthy.
In a not-so-surprising move, Google has brought its desktop Chrome browser to Android mobile devices. Dubbed Chrome for Android Beta, the new mobile browser focuses on speed, simplicity, and seamless sign-in and sync. The Chrome omnibox rests up top and search results are loaded in the background instantly as you type in it. Intuitive tabbed browsing is in tow, as is link preview and incognito mode. When you first launch the browser you are asked to sign-in with your Google account. Connecting your account to the browser allows you to view open tabs you left on your computer on your mobile device, get autocomplete suggestions based on searches you made on your computer, and sync your bookmarks across devices. Chrome for Android is now available to download from the Android Market, but for now it’s only compatible with Android phones and tablets running version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Hop after the break to watch an introductory demonstration.
Yesterday and today Google hosted its renowned developer’s conference dubbed Google I/O 2011. Literally thousands of developers flocked to San Fransisco’s Moscone Center to find out what Google’s been cooking up on their end. This year’s event proved to be leaps and bounds more exciting than last year’s conference. Google introduced their new cloud-based music service called Music Beta; they unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that promises to bridge the gap between Gingerbread and Honeycomb; Android is going into the home automation business with Google’s impressive initiative Android@Home; Chrome OS is finally ready for the big leagues–Samsung and Acer are prepping Chromebooks for mass consumption; and Angry Birds has landed in the browser!
So much to discuss–it’s all a hop, skip and a jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
Just signed out of Gmail and was prompted to check out a new feature in beta called Gmail Motion.
Gmail Motion uses your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.
Head over to the elaborately detailed website Google has dedicated to this fun prank. There you’ll find more information about the technology behind Gmail Motion and hear what a “paralanguage expert” and “movement specialist” have to say about it. In due time, the search company plans to expand Motion into Google Docs (creating a pie chart is a riot).
Update: Looks like Google’s pulling a handful of pranks this year. Hop after the break to see what they’re all about. (Click here for more…)
On September 2 Google celebrated Chrome’s second birthday by releasing version 6.0.472.53. The faster and more streamlined version of Chrome features an even more minimalist and stripped down user interface. “We combined Chrome’s two menus into one, revisited the location of the buttons, cleaned up the treatment of the URL and the Omnibox, and adjusted the color scheme of the browser to be easier on the eyes,” reads the Google Chrome Blog.
Wow, that was a mouthful. Go ahead and download the new version of Chrome here.
Google intros Voice Actions, Chrome to Phone; updates Gmail UI and contacts section, enables multiple account sign-in
On Thursday Google introduced a new app for Android devices called Voice Actions. “Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice.” Sounds simple and yet it is extremely helpful. There are a total of twelve voice actions you can perform by speaking into the device’s mic. Including the already implemented method of performing a Google search with your voice, other actions include:
Here’s how a number of them work. You can complete a text message or email without touching the (physical or on-screen) keyboard simply by saying “send text to Bill Will” or “send email to Bill Will” respectively. The phone will take a second to understand your speech input and then present your message all ready for delivery. Tapping send will shoot your message off. Speak and send, it’s that simple. Voice actions extend beyond text messaging and emailing. Say there’s a restaurant you want to call to make reservations for dinner. You know the name and location of the restaurant, but you don’t have the business’ phone number handy. You could bring up the browser and find the number that way, but with voice actions you can more quickly and efficiently obtain and dial the restaurant’s number. The voice action “Call Sarabeth’s in NYC” will prompt your device to quickly search the Internet (using Google Maps) for the restaurant’s phone number by pinging the name and specific location. Within seconds of your voice action you’ll hear your phone ringing the restaurant or place of business. You can even use voice actions to find and listen to music. When you say “Listen to The Decemberists” your phone will search across your music library and any number of related apps (Pandora, last.fm, etc.) to start playing music from that particular band. “Note to self”, as cliche as it sounds, serves as another interesting voice action that’ll likely come in handy from time to time.
Voice Actions require Android 2.2 (Froyo) and they are currently available for U.S. English speakers only. Droid 2 owners will find the app preinstalled on their device. If you have an Android 2.2 device, search ‘Voice Search’ in the Android Market to find the free download.
Google also announced Chrome to Phone, a Chrome browser extention and Android app that communicate with each other to send browser-specific information from your desktop to your phone. Once you have Chrome to Phone installed on your desktop and phone, you can send websites, directions, and phone numbers from your desktop Chrome browser to your Android device. For example, say you’re catching up on national news at The New York Times website but you are interuppted and forced to leave home. Simply tap the new phone icon located at the top right corner of your Chrome browser window and the website will appear on your Android phone. Now let’s say you are planning a road trip using Google Maps in Chrome. Instead of wasting paper by printing out the directions, now you can send the directions from your desktop to your phone. The instant transfer will automatically open up the Google Maps app on your phone and you’re just a tap away from initiating a Google Maps Navigation route using the transferred location information. One more example. You want to make a reservation at Sarabeth’s in NYC and you found the restaurant’s phone number on your desktop. Ready to make the call? Highlight the phone number, tap the new phone button in Chrome, and the transfer will bring up your phone’s dialer prepopulated with the restaurant’s number.
The Google Chrome to Phone Extention is available (in English only) to download today. The free Chrome to Phone app requires Android 2.2 (Froyo) and can be found in the Android Market by searching ‘Chrome to Phone.’
Look after the break to learn about Gmail’s latest updates. There you’ll also find brief video demonstrations for Voice Actions and Chrome to Phone. (Click here for more…)
After going gold, it’s only proper for the Playstation 3 Slim to receive the chrome treatment. The XCM Cyberchrome case is not a cover, it’s a complete shell casing that fits over the Slim’s body. It’s on sale at TotalConsole for $79.99 if you’re looking to get your PS3 a-shinin’.
Today Google revealed its take on the operating system. And it’s called Chrome OS. What’s that you say? You’ve heard of Google Chrome, you are using it right now? Google Chrome is a browser, just like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox. What Google has announced is an operating system (think Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS X) that runs in the Chrome browser skin. The desktop and the entire workplace resides in what looks very much like the Google Chrome browser you may be using today. The team at Google knows that when most people turn on their computer they go directly to their browser of choice to access the Internet. Their plan is to streamline this process by making the browser the home base of your computer.
Now let’s talk hard facts. Chrome OS is based on Linux and the current Chrome browser. It is entirely web-based and only runs web apps. All your storage will live in the Internet “cloud;” this means that all of your data (documents, music, pictures, etc.) will be stored online. Local hard drives will only be accessed to cache data and keep your computer speedy. Think of the cloud in the same terms you think of how your email is handled. You don’t download your email messages to your hard drive; it is all stored on the Internet, whether you use AOL Mail, Gmail, whatever. An advantage of an OS based on the cloud: You can take your virtual space with you everywhere; all you need handy is your login information and a Chrome OS-capable computer to sign in and access all your data. The OS itself is “light;” it will take just seconds to fully boot up your computer. And this is one of Google’s main goals: to get you on the Internet as fast and safe as possible. Speaking of safety, Chrome OS will be highly resistive to viruses and malware; Google has designed a security layer based on its own binaries and the OS easily upgradable with over-the-Internet updates for the entire OS.
After hearing many rumors about Google concocting an operating system of its own, the company has officially given word that it is indeed creating a full-fledged operating system extending from its Chrome web browser. According to the official developer blog, “Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks” and “most of the user experience takes place on the web.” “That is, it’s “Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel” with the web as the platform.” It will be capable of running on Intel Atom chips and ARM processors. Google responded to the current rumors about its mobile Android OS making a jump from cell phones (think T-Mobile G1) to netbook computers (think Eee PCs): “…choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.” Google plans on releasing the new OS onto netbooks in the second half of 2010. Until Google reveals more information and the overall plan for the Chrome OS, there is not much else to say on this matter. One thing’s for sure, though–with Google plunging into the OS wars with Microsoft, Apple, and Linux, only good things can come from competition like this. So exciting!