Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google Unveils new Android, Nexus 7, and Much More

If sometimes we feel let down when having high-hopes for any presentation, and then finding that it wasn't really that special... that wasn't the case with yesterday's Google IO opening keynote. (Sorry for the links to my portuguese articles, but there was really a lot going on, and I didn't have the time to write them all over again in english - so, you'll have to rely on Google auto-translate tool - which you can also select manually on the sidebar on my portugues blog... sorry about that!)

So... what did Google had in store to show us? A LOT!
And... as usual, Google made it very worthwhile for all Google IO participants, that ended up receiving a Galaxy S smartphone, a new Nexus 7 tablet... and even a Nexus Q!

Some short thoughts about it all:

The new Android 4.1 has a lot of improvements, from the aptly named Project Butter, that promises to turn the Android experience as fluid as possible; to a much improved notification screen which gives access to lots of operations that can be made without leaving it; and a new Google Now that... well... it really sounds like science fiction, learning from your routines, and the providing valuable info: like suggesting you take another route to work because your usual one has traffic; or reminding you to leave now to make to that appointment on time, based on the time it takes for you to get there using your usual public transportation... and lots, lots more.

As for the Nexus 7 tablet, it really was what we were all expecting: a seemingly high-quality Android tablet, with the lateste Android 4.1 version, 7" LCD screen (1280x800), and a Tegra 3 quad-core CPU (12 core GPU), with 8/16GB versions... starting at just $199! Looks like we have a winner, and a lot of losers as well... who can justify buying a "low-cost" sub-par Android tablet like the ones we had until now, when you can have such a machine for this price?

With the Nexus Q, Google offer a very good looking media streamer, not in box format, but in a strangely spherical shape with a glowing ring of led lights around it. Looks very nice... but... I'm afraid it didn't quite "hooked" me. Apparently it requiring an extra Android device to control it, and although it has an integrated amplifier to connect it directly to speakers... it costs $299... a steep price to pay for such a device.
You can do everything it does (and more) with much cheaper media player streaming devices (like Apples own Apple TV at $99).

For the Project Glass, Google really had a treat for everyone. Doing a videchat hangout with people flying well above the Moscone center, which then sky dived down, landing on top of the building, and then rappelling down the building, and finally entering the auditorium in bikes. It really showed as a glimpse of what such technology will eventually provide in the future - with "always streaming" connections that will allow us to see what any other person around the world sees... (if he/she allows it, of course.)

To show that this is indeed coming, Google made these glasses available for pre-order for the atendees, for $1500, with availability starting early next year.

... And there's a lot more, but I think this will suffice for now... Be sure to check each of the links for further info on each of the new gadgets. :)

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