Nexus 7 hands-on. Super-light and super-bright

I did not spend a lot of time with the software, but a quick look at the hardware is impressive. At 340 grams, this feels more like a heavy phone (see anything HTC made last year) than a small tablet. We are not sure how the mA hours/16-core processor/9-hour battery life will reconcile, but it seems impressive at first blush. The plastic back will have its fans and detractors.

One important note: Like the Kindle Fire, but unlike Samsung’s 7-inch tabs, it charges via Micro USB. That will please many…unless they are looking for a quick charge. It will be interesting to see if you can do video out of the Nexus 7 using the micro-USB port—or if Google steers you to its new Q orb.

The screen is very nice. Colors are crisp, even in the bright demo area, and it feels a bit sharper than the now-boxy Kindle Fire.

As a product, the Nexus 7 feels like a media-heavy direct attack on the Kindle Fire. I think there is no question that this is better, though. The issue is that the Kindle Fire is now almost a year old, and rumors of the next version landing at around the same time as this device hits the Google Play store have already started.

I will have my device to go deep into tonight.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

Read more

Sergey Brin’s Google Glass skydiver demo from I/O keynote [Video]

If you do not know by now, Sergey Brin just interrupted Google’s I/O keynote to give a demo of Google Glass. The demo consisted of skydivers jumping from above to land on the venue’s rooftop, and it included a few other Google Glass-wearing helpers. We have all the information on what unveiled at the event—even details for the $1,500 Explorer Edition of Google Glass offered as a preorder to attendees (shipping early next year). The video above is of the entire skydiver demo.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.
Read more

Sergey Brin interrupts keynote to demo Google Glasses, says I/O attendees can pre-order headset

Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin just ran on-stage at Google I/O to introduce skydivers above Moscone—who are wearing Google Glasses and streaming live video from the headsets via Google+ Hangouts to the keynote screen.

The divers lept from the plane, filmed the journey down to Moscone, and quickly landed on the building. Rooftop bikers donning the headsets then scaled down the building, while also filming the adventure, and the two extreme sports groups eventually met inside Moscone to greet Brin.

The demonstration showed the video quality of Google Glasses, as well as the product’s durability. Gimmicky, yes.

From there, executives detailed how the Google Glass project began roughly two years ago. The current prototype weighs less than sunglasses, but Google is still experimenting with different form factors. There are also microphones and speakers to receive information, including sensors and gyroscopes to make it aware of location, and there are multiple radios for communication.

Read more

Google+ has 250M users, dedicated tablet version rolls out today

Google’s Vic Gundotra is on-stage at Google I/O to give some updates on Google+ and beyond. The first numbers announced are 250 million Google+ users with 150+ million active users monthly. He also said 50 percent of users sign-in every day and spend more than 12 minutes on average in the Google+ stream.

He also announced a new, full-featured tablet version of Google+ that will roll out to users today. It is equipped with video hangouts redesigned specifically for the tablet experience and other usual UI enhancements that we see in Google’s other apps. Also new to Google+ is a new feature called “Events.” Events are essentially invitations, which we are used to from other social networks, but are fully integrated with calendar and a “party mode” that allows partygoers to easily share pictures and other content during the event.

Google made a blog post on the official Google blog highlighting the new Events feature alongside four introduction videos below:

Read more

Google unveils orb-like, USA-made Nexus Q streaming device

Google executives are now on-stage at Google I/O to unveil the Nexus Q—an orb-like, social streaming-media device with a $299 price tag.

It is notably made in the United States and acts as a bridge for Android devices by streaming Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, and YouTube to “the biggest speakers and screen in the house.” Anyone nearby can use an Android device to control what is playing through the Nexus Q.

It touts a 4.6-inch diameter and weighs only 2 pounds. It also features a rotating top dome volume control with a capacitive touch sensor. The Nexus Q comes equipped with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, SGX540 graphics core, 1GB LPDDR RAM, and 16GB NAND flash memory. It even runs a version of Android 4.0, while boasting slots for Micro HDMI, TOSLink Optical audio, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, Micro AB USB, and Banana jack speaker outputs. The Nexus Q supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities.

Google’s streaming device is available for pre-order at Google Play today, but it will not ship for another two to three weeks.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

Read more

Google officially announces the Nexus 7 tablet, ships in mid-July for $199

Although the official introduction video for Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet leaked before the announcement, the company just unveiled the 7-inch device on-stage at its Google I/O keynote. While announcing the device’s specs (listed below), the company gave a number of demos for the Nexus 7’s UI, including a content recommendation page, Gmail, YouTube, Chrome (first device to ship with Chrome as default, stock browser), and a full-featured Google Maps with offline mode. Google also gave a demo of the 12-core GPU in action with some impressive 3D games, as pictured above.

Pre-orders start on Google Play today for $199 (8GB) or $249 (16GB), with the device shipping to the United States and Canada in mid-July alongside Jelly Bean.

  • -1,080-by-800HD display
  • -Tegra 3, Quad-core CPU
  • -12-core GPU
  • -4325 mAh battery- 9 hours video playback, 300 hours standby
  • -Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer
  • -1.2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • -340 grams
The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

Read more

Google Play eyes 1.5B app installs every month, introduces magazines and TV content

Google’s Chris Yerga is on-stage now to announce Google Play numbers: The marketplace boasts over 600,000 apps and games, roughly 1.5 billion installs every month, and 20 billion total app installs to date.

The executive also said magazine subscriptions and television rental options are coming to Google Play. The magazine-reading experience is premium, Yerga touted, while explaining new interactive aspects to magazine thumbing on the newly unveiled Nexus 7. Television viewing is also exceptional due to download options for offline access. A few of the big television partnerships, Yerga said, include Disney, ABC, Sony, and Paramount.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

A picture gallery is below. 

Read more

Google officially unveils Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, rolling out OTA mid-July

Google execs are live on-stage at Google I/O to kick things off with the official unveiling of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The first aspect of the latest version of Android discussed at the event is “Project Butter,” which is a number of enhancements that improves touch responsiveness and overall smoothness of animations and the UI. It also brings the system frame rate up to a consistent 60 frames per second.

Google moved to demos of the redesigned widgets, which scale intelligently around other UI elements, and a new Predictive Keyboard that supports voice input. There was also a demo of redesigned notifications that Google explained are now fully customizable, expandable, and collapsible.

Execs gave a demo of new notifications that expand to offer more information as they reach the top of the list (such as sharing options or artwork related to notification), and they can be expanded and collapsed at any time via gestures. Google next showed improved voice search in Jelly Bean that appears to be its much-rumored Siri-like assistant feature.

Read more

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet introduction video leaks out [Video]

A leaked image of the widely rumored Nexus 7 appeared on Google’s Play Store servers this morning, but an official video of the tablet just surfaced on YouTube moments ahead of Google I/O.

The video’s description even details a few specs:

With a stunning 7″ display, powerful quad-core processor and all day battery life, Nexus 7 was built to bring you the best of Google in a slim, portable package that fits perfectly in your hand.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

Read more

Video and images of Nexus Q home media device also leak ahead of Google I/O

Update: The Verge dug up pricing for the $299 Q and companion $399 triad speaker option, and the video above from Google has surfaced on YouTube accompanied by the following description:

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.

Following the leaked images of the Nexus 7 tablet from Google, new leaked images, posted by The Verge, point to an announcement of a new Nexus Q device. The feature-set or the purpose of this new device is not clear from the images, but DroidLife reports on some possible information about the product:

Nexus Q Addendum

The following paragraphs only apply if you purchase a Nexus Q.

You understand that the Nexus Q currently supports only Google Play Music; Google Play Movies and TV; and YouTube, and that your use of those services is subject to the Google Play Terms of Service.

The Nexus Q has built-in Wi-Fi and a built-in ethernet controller. You are solely responsible for obtaining internet connectivity through an internet service provider as the Nexus Q does not support mobile connectivity.

In order to use the Nexus Q, you understand that you will need your own: (i) phone or tablet running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher with access to Google Play; (ii) compatible speakers, AV system or HD TV; and (iii) 802.11a/b/g/n access point Wi-Fi router.

Google provides a limited warranty for the Nexus Q. Please visit this link for more information.

It appears that the Nexus Q might be some sort of AirPlay connection device from Android smartphones and tablets to their televisions. This would be sort of like the Apple TV + iPad/iPhone/iPod touch integrated approach.