Thursday, July 25, 2013

Google Unveils new Nexus 7, Android 4.3 and Chromecast

Google has unveiled what's coming for this Summer season (similarities with the fashion world are to bound to become even greater when wearables come to market in a larger scale :) and we've finally got to see everything we were waiting for, like the New Nexus 7 and Android 4.3... as well a small unexpected device that might actually be the biggest thing ever: Chromecast.

New Nexus 7

No surprises here. The new and improved Nexus 7 make Google's Android mini tablet better than ever, with a more powerful S4 Pro quad-core CPU (up to 80% faster, and 4x more powerful GPU), which will be put to good use moving pixels around in the higher-resolution 7" (1920x1200 instead of the previous 1280x800). You also get stereo speakers, dual cameras, 2GB of RAM, and optional 4G/LTE.

All this in a thinner and lighter tablet.

Prices are raised a bit, and now start at $229 for the 16GB model; $269 for the 32GB model; and $349 for the 4G version.

Android 4.3

The new Nexus 7 comes with the newest Android 4.3 - which is also deplying for the rest of the Nexus family (Nexus 4, 7, 10, and Galaxy Nexus). Most of the changes are under-the-hood improvements like Bluetooth Smart (low power) support, OpenGL ES 3.0, faster app switching, etc, but you do get some visible changes like restricted user profiles that allow you to limit what your children accounts will be able to do (like blocking purchases to avoid nasty surprises).

Google Chromecast

But the biggest announcement popped up in the tiniest form: Google's Chromecast. This small HDMI dongle is similar to many of the recent compact media player "sticks" running Android, and shows that Google has taken a new approach to winning the battle for the living room screen.

Instead of the more powerful (and more expensive) TV boxes, Google has focused on the most basic features at an unbeatable price.

Chromecast might be underestimated by many, because all it does is act a a receiver for internet streaming. Allowing you to easily launch YouTube on your Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone, and with a single touch send the video stream directly to your Chromecast device and watch it on your bug screen TV.

Sure, the lack of local media playing might put some off, but on the other side it costs just $35.

A price low enough for most people to simply buy it and play around with it, even if they don't think they'll use it much.

... The thing is: they very much might find out they'll actually begin using it, a lot!

I sincerely thing this is a tiny trojan horse that has put Google in a very strong position to lead the offensive for the living room screen that so many have been trying to do. Time will tell us if it did, or if it becomes one more footnote on the history of technological blunders.

For me, I can't stop but wonder what this tiny Chromecast might provide next. Instead of just streaming video contente, there's nothing stopping Google from using it to stream interactive videogames (similar to OnLive), or even virtualized desktop sessions, offering an instant computer on any screen. Can you see just how insidious this tiny dongle might be? :)

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