Google’s mega event – Google I/O 2012 kicked off to a great start today. Here, we bring you a roundup of all the significant happenings at one of most noteworthy developer events of the year.
As part of the very engaging and action-packed proceedings, the world was given the first glimpse of Google’s very own tablet – The Nexus7. Built in association with Asus, this tablet has Google written all over it.
The next Android update – the Jellybean 4.1 will be the platform on which the Nexus7 will operate. Touted to be the
World’s first Quad core, 7 inch tablet, it has quite impressive specs :
- Eye-candy: 1280×800 HD display at 216 ppi (more than 1 million pixels), back-lit IPS (in-plane switching) display, protected by Corning glass.
- The Power House: Quad-core CPU, 12-core GPU, NVIDIA Tegra 3 chipset and 1GB RAM.
- Robust battery: A 4325 mAh battery powers the tablet that gives you almost 9 hours HD video playback, 10 hours of browsing, an equal amount of time to read e-books and much more.
- Portability: Quite sleek and compact, perfect for toting around – lightest so far at 340 grams, the actual dimensions being 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm.
- Connectivity and peripherals: A Micro USB port, Bluetooth, the slow but steadily expanding NFC (Android Beam), WiFi and GPS.
- Storage: Two variants – 8GB and 16GB.
- Gamers alert!: Enriched gaming experienced on the super-fast, reportedly lag-free, smooth-in-transition Jelly Bean 4.1 powered by a Quad core processor, accelerometer and gyroscope. Hop, skip, duck, slide, climb and jump to the top of the boards.
- More goodies inside: the staples – Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Chrome (the default browser, obviously!). Newly released Google Now – your intelligent personal companion that informs you about the weather outside as your start your day, traffic on the routes you frequent, reports scores when your favorite team is battling it out on the field and even tells your when the train you are waiting for is scheduled to arrive. Jelly Bean comes with ‘smart notifications’ – missed a call? Email or leave a message for the caller directly from the notification bar.
Nexus7 is all about Google Play – the app mega-store that houses more than 600,000 apps and expanding as we speak. This year’s edition of Google I/O announced the introduction of magazines to Play. In addition, you can now purchase movies apart from renting them. A wealth of TV episodes of popular shows are also being added to the Play Store for your viewing pleasure. And Nexus7 comes with a taste of all these to whet your appetite – pre-loaded movie (Transformers: Dark of the moon), Book (The Bourne Dominion), Mags (Conde Nast Traveler, Popular Science), Music (songs from Coldplay, Rolling Stones and other popular bands) along with $25 credit that you can use to buy apps, music, books and anything else that you fancy from the Play Store.
- Release date: There is no day marked out specially on the calendar for that, but you can start pre-ordering the Nexus7 on the Play Store right now. Shipping is expected to start around mid-July. This facility is available in the U.S, U.K, Canada and Australia.
- Price: $199 (U.S)
Nexus Q – all ’round’ entertainment
The image imprinted in our minds of Google is that of a leading search/marketing engine and that of a software developer. Google is now aiming to break stereotypes by bringing out an in-house product – the Nexus Q. Designed and built entirely by Google’s engineers, the Nexus Q is a social entertainment hub.
The looks are quite futuristic – an enticingly elegant black sphere with a slim band of light running around the circumference, much like a planet and its planetary ring. It is supposed to the perfect entertainment companion for a social gathering at home – both aesthetically and functionally. The basic concept on which Nexus Q operates is cloud storage. All you need is an Android device (either smartphone or tablet) to interact with this ball. Pick a song to play from the Google Play music app – the Q will immediately start streaming this from Play over WiFi and play it out loud through speakers hooked up to it. For a device that is devoid of protruding controls, there are quite a few slots at the rear end -
- Micro HDMI (Type D)
- TOSLink Optical audio (S/PDIF)
- 10/100BASE-T Ethernet (RJ45)
- Micro AB USB (for service and support)
- Banana jack speaker outputs
The Nexus Q is quite hefty at 2 pounds and has a diameter of 4.6 inches. Those who followed last year’s Google I/O will remember an announcement being made for a device with similar functionality, called Project Tungsten. The actual product which was in the design stages at that point was a rhomboid whereas the finished product, a year down the lane looks much more mystical and mysterious in its spherical avatar. It lights up, but doesn’t spin. The slim band in the middle is made of 32 LEDs of myriad hues that shine through in five different modes according to your mood – spectrum, warm, cool, blue and smoke. It has been made quite sturdy with a die-cast, precision machined zinc bottom. It houses a 1 GB RAM and 16 GB of NAND Flash memory. It can interact with any device running Android 4.0 ICS. Apart from pulling content from Google Play, it can also stream videos from YouTube.>Nexus Q is under close scrutiny for its likeness to the Apple TV, its less pricier counterpart.
The Nexus Q will start shipping from mid-July at $299, a full $200 more than Apple TV. The only apparent distinction between the two seems to be the ‘social’ element in the Q. When you’re throwing a party, distribute the DJ rights to anyone owning an Android device. They can add songs to the queue, move their choices up and down the list or even completely dishonor the host’s preferences. Of course, if you are tired of obliging your control-freak guests, you can turn off Guest privileges altogether.If that ensues in an altercation, drown out the voices by a twist of the upper hemisphere of the Q that doubles as a volume control. The sound is quite powerful and the design has been executed for a completely satisfying listening experience with a 25 Watt, Class D amplifier. You can have more than one Nexus Q at your pad, hooked up to the WiFi and select which one to play music on or use them all simultaneously with different outputs.
Android aficionados who have been thirsting for drool-worthy accessories can head straight to Google Play to pre-order their Nexus Q and in the meantime pick up the perfect companion for the musical ball – Triad Bookshelf Speakers and cables designed specifically for this purpose. So the next time you’re feeling groovy, ask some friends over, bring out the food and start the party! Build your own dance floor at home – only there’s no tacky mirror ball this time. Go classy and tech-ed up with the Nexus Q!
Watch this space for more updates from Google I/O 2012.