In Moscone Center, today the 28Th and yesterday the 27Th Google held two keynotes highlighting their projects. When I say that I just mean Android and chrome. Before I continue, it was like Christmas for Tech developers that went to Google IO this year. They all got: A Chrome box, a Nexus Phone and the new Nexus 7 But more on that later. So, in other words if you ever saw the Late Late Toy Show here in Ireland, think that but for geeks.
On the 27th (Day 1, lets play 24 here) Google announces it’s Android 4.1 “Jelly bean”. What’s great about this version (Rather than having the energy to say Ice Cream Sandwich or ICS) is that it’s optimising a lot of problems Android has in the past, mainly visual. Now, rendering will be made a priority to ensure the user has a seamless experience on the phone. Also is it’s siri like competitor which I admit is sick, but first now Voice to text can be done offline but for the English language (US English) only but more languages will be added in the future. When I say (US English) that will be available world wide but uses the US English dialect. But also is it’s new thing “Google Now”. Think Siri on steroids. Also cool UI features such as auto resizable widgets etc. Along this 4.1 announcement the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Xoom tablets will get the update in Mid July. Other than that I’m guessing it’s going to be a long time before other devices get it (Like the Galaxy S3 which is personally better than the Nexus and Nexus S, And also the HTC One X) but hey, this is Android for you.
Google also announced their tablet lineup, the Nexus 7. So this is google getting into the hardware game, this time they are partnering with Asus. It’s a competitor to the Kindle Fire and not the iPad. It really is targeting the “Content consumption” and not “Content creation” on tablets. The Nexus 7 tablet features a 7″ display with a 1280×800 HD resolution compared to the fires 1024×600 and it will cost the same $199. Features in total 16 cores of processing power, a 4 core CPU and a 12 Core NVIDIA cpu. Google is updating Google play a lot in anticipation of this device so along with running Vanilla 4.1 Android, it will also feature updated Google Play which now features: Music, Movies, TV Shows and Magazines. With partners from ABC, NBC, Sony and more it will be a one way content gateway.
At this point I’d like to declare that the tablet game just changed. Why? Think of 3 Android tablets that are promising. The Kindle fire, The Nexus 7 and Asus Transformer prime. The Asus tablet speaks for it’s self in hardware but what about the other two? What do they have that others don’t? One word: “Content”. Lets face it, the content on all other android tablets suck. That’s why the iPad is winning but also why the Kindle Fire is winning too. It has all this content. But with Google Play getting access to all this content it will be interesting to see if there’s a rise in Android tablets across the board.
But back to the Nexus 7, it features 8 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing and 10 hours of e-reading and over 600,000 apps and games on Google play. It features a 1.2 Megapixel front facing camera for video conferencing as well. I also wonder how the other tablet competitors are feeling. Is it heat or is it the drive to do better. Personally I’m intrigued by this tablet and would love to try it. It’s really content orientated for just browsing the web, email, video chatting, music movies and more. What I’m really interested in is that just what the consumer wants as well and with the Kindle Fire being a hit for that market, how much of the market is left for a device like this? To entice the user to use the content like Movies and TV Shows, Google is bundeling all tablets with $25 for Google Play to consume this content. Pretty much how Amazon bundles all tablets with a month of Amazon Prime.
Another device Google announced is the Google Nexus Q. It’s like A sonos system of sorts. It is a sphere of sorts that you plug in and is pretty much just like Airplay from Apple but without anything else. It’s social so your friends can share songs to stream on it and videos to stream to the TV that’s connected. It can do video from Movies and Youtube and Music from Google Music. (Because that’s such a hit /sarcasm) But the bit that just gets everyone is it’s price tag: $299. For $299, you can get well a Nexus 7 Tablet, an Xbox 360 + 2 Games bundle, A Playstation 3 bundle and two Apple TVs, a couple of Roku… You want me to go on? So in any case: Don’t buy! Just get a real Sonos and a Roku/AppleTV. The device needs to be controlled by the Android devices themselves and there is no word if iOS devices or Computers can control it.
The last thing Google showed is progress in it’s Google glasses. Last year from what we saw looked like a revolution. This year, well a $1500 head camera that is just connected to the internet all the time. You heard me, we go from Terminator HUD, eye computer down to a video chatting glasses that looked like something Lara Croft had in the film “The Cradle of Light” but seriously!? That’s it, and $1500!? This better include a lifetime of unlimited data. It connects to Google Plus and can take photos and videos and hang outs. It’s placed above the top of your right eye so it’s not in the way. Rather than an earphone there’s a minispeaker and microphone so you can talk and listen. Google admits that last years super awesome demo of the device was an exaggeration of what could be done but instead they are calling this “Google Glasses explorer” and admits it’s not for the consumer but for developers instead. Nevertheless, I don’t want to look like a nut with these glasses on that get stolen unless they can do more rather than having Big brother look at what i’m doing 24/7.
Onto Day 2, it was all about chrome. We now can use Chrome mobile on iPad and iPhone with all of it’s syncing features so all geeks can rejoice. Also some ChromeBook announcements and everyone in the audience gets a “Chrome Box”. Google Drive is also available on iOS. Also a new rendering engine with a weird cirque du Soleil animation performance CSS movie animation with live editing.
Now lets take all that in and give a final result. I’m calling the Google IO event a success. The Pros are the 4.1 Jellybean and the Nexus 7 tablet. The Chrome and Google Drive for iOS and chrome’s new rendering engine. The Cons of the announcement was the awful google glasses and Nexus Q media center. I mean why google why!?
So overall I’m super excited about the Nexus 7 and I’m already as I’m typing this playing with Chrome on my iPhone, and it’s love.
Below you can watch the entire two days of announcements: