The opening day and keynote of Google IO 2012 seemed to go pretty well for Google. They made some big reveals and then bam! right when the Google+ talk started to get boring they hit you with skydiving. Things introduced include: Android 4.1, Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q media player, Google+ new features, and more on Google Glass.
One of the anticipated unveils was the next update to Android. The code-named Jelly Bean even got a statue on the Google lawn. The main features in the minor update to Android 4.1 focuses on “Project Butter”, smoothing out the UI. The framerate increased and other display specs improved. Responsive widgets that can change size, improved voice typing, accessibility features, improved notifications, and Google Now (getting the right information automatically) amongst other features were boasted in Jelly Bean.
The Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom should see the update in the middle of July. For all the details, check out the Developer page on Jelly Bean.
A year ago, Google+ was launched as a social network project. A recap post on the Official Google Blog announced a tablet version of the Google+ app and Google+ Events.
The Nexus 7 is a slim 7-inch tablet with a 1280×800 resolution display. It promises 8 hours of HD video playback and more for browsing or e-reading. The Nexus 7 was built by ASUS and uses a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. You can pre-order the Nexus 7 from Google Play. The tablet runs $199 and will ship in 2-3 weeks. At the price point, it could give the Kindle Fire a run for its money and build off of its momentum against the iPad.
NVIDIA also discussed the Tegra 3 in Nexus 7 along with the Tegra games that were used to show off the tablet’s capabilities.
Nexus Q streams your favorite entertainment directly from the cloud to your living room. Just use the Google Play and YouTube apps on your Android phone or tablet to surf an ocean of music, TV, movies and music, and Nexus Q will play it all on the biggest speakers and screen in the house. There are no downloads, no syncing, no running out of space. Just the stuff you love — at home and out loud.
The Nexus Q also ships soon. It will run $299 and is available for pre-order from Google Play. They refer to it as a social streaming media player.
Personally, it seems a bit pricey when set top boxes like the WDTV Live can do a lot of that minus the social element for much cheaper. I’m surprised Nexus Q does not use Google TV.
Some other updates in the Day 1 keynote included an update to the YouTube Android app. The big thing is that playback is supposed to be faster. A setting called Preloading allows you to get smoother playback from your subscribed channels and watch later queue.
Skydiving with Project Glass
At Google I/O 2012, the Project Glass team took product demoing to a new level. Come with us and see how we spent the weeks leading up to the Google I/O demo … living in the moment, doing Hangouts in Air, and freefalling with Glass.
During the conference, skydivers with Google Glass headsets jumped from a blimp and landed on the conference venue’s roof.
A special Google Glass “Explorer Edition” runs $1500 and gives developers access to the platform to start developing on. It is a pre-order with shipping expected to start next year. Interesting that Google is able to put this technology out there so soon. Perhaps that is telling of where they are with it but I think that would be unfair speculation to say they are struggling to turn it into a daily-use product.
Google went on to talk about most of today’s updates in a blog post.