Benchmark reveals Google-branded 7-inch tablet running Android 4.1, dubbed ‘Google Asus Nexus 7′

Google’s much-rumored 7-inch Asus tablet surfaced in a RightWare benchmark test recently and teased those eagerly awaiting a Mountain View, Calif.-branded slate.

The outing revealed a “Google Asus Nexus 7″ that boasts a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, runs Android 4.1, and carries a 768-by-1,280 resolution. The screenshots above and below detail the full specs. 

Mum’s the word for Google and Asus, but recent rumors suggest the 7-inch device will unveil at Google’s I/O Conference next month. It is worth mentioning, however, that past reports also indicated an April and May launch. One thing is for sure, with Asus on board for this project, many believe the Nexus 7 will look similar to other offerings by the Taiwanese manufacturer.

Google’s flagship Android-powered tablet is set to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 2, so a $200 to $250 price tag is in the radar.

In related news, a Federal Communications Commission filing for the Asus MeMo Pad 370T appeared this morning. This, as one might recall, is the $249 CES device that put the rumor mill into overdrive regarding a potential Google tablet, and now it causing the blogosophere to brim with reports about a 7-inch form factor on the I/O horizon.

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New Google+ Local tab features Zagat ratings, opinions from friends in circles [Video]

It is no secret that Google touts social as important, and the search engine is reiterating that focus today by announcing a new social feature combined with local search: Google+ Local.

“Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+,” explained Google’s Director of Product Management Avni Shah on the Official Google Blog.  

Users can search for places under the “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, and once they select a place, they will find a local Google+ page equipped with photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people in their circles, and other related information.

Google+ Local also integrates with Search, Maps, and mobile, so it can streamline the experience across Google. It is rolling out now, including to Android and iOS, so as Shah put it, “if you don’t have it yet feel free to begin furiously refreshing your browser.”

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Sergey Brin shows off Google Glass trackpad [Video]

Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page have sported a pair of Google Glasses while appearing on just about every major talk show/news outlet across the country at this point, but the company’s cofounders seem to do a lot of talking and not much showing.

However, Brin finally took the first step and let a non-Googler experience the augmented reality handset last week. He appeared with his wife, Anne Wojcicki, on California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Current TV show on May 23 and briefly let the politician in on the secret. A video of the interview is above.

“You can easily forget you have them on, and sense the capacity of use in the future,” Newsom later told Wired, while detailing how the headset felt “incredibly light, comfortable and inconspicuous” on his head.

During his demonstration on “The Gavin Newsom Show,” Brin subsequently gave the world a glimpse as to how the space-age spectacles work. According to Wired:

In the video, Brin navigates the system via a touchpad on the right side of the headset behind the display. He slides his finger forward and back to locate a photo he took of Gavin Newsom with the contraption. He then places the headset on Newsom’s face, and continues to navigate until the photo is located. [...] ‬After returning the glasses to his own face, Brin swiped down on the touchpad of the glasses and continued the interview. The down-swipe could possibly be used to exit the photo album he was demoing to Newsom. Whatever the case, Brin’s swipes answer questions about how the interface is navigated.

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Google introduces the new Chromebook and Chromebox, available today in US and UK [Video]

Google took to the official Google Blog today to introduce its new Chromebook and Chromebox, two devices we spied earlier this year at CES—complete with an enticing new reel (below).

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s Vice President of Engineering and Director of Product Management Linus Upson reminded the world about the launch of Google’s Chromebooks last year, and then he unveiled the new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox.

“Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office,” explained Upson in the blog post.

Google partnered with Samsung to produce the Series 5 550 Chromebook starting at $449. It boasts a 12.1-inch 1,280-by-800 display, six hours of battery life, 4 GB RAM, built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11, an optional 3G modem, an HD camera, two USB 2.0 ports, a 4-in-1 memory card slot, and a DisplayPort compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA.

Samsung manufactures the $329 Chromebox with similar specs as the Series 5 550, but it carries six USB 2.0 ports, a 2x DisplayPort, a DVI single link output, and Bluetooth 3.0 and Kensington key lock compatibly. However, it lacks the 3G modem option and HD camera.

A gallery is available below.

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Virgin’s LG Optimus V discounted $120—Price of entry into Android is now $28

Virgin Mobile’s LG Optimus V, which usually retails for $150 and at some retailers such as Amazon for around $100, is currently being offered for just $28 through LetsTalk (at bottom). That is under $30—with no contract—to get a device that competes with most of the $150 Android competitors on the market. It is unclear whether this is for the retailer’s Memorial Day weekend sale currently taking place, but it is a great deal for a more than decent smartphone either way. You will of course have to grab at least a month of Virgin prepaid service starting at $35, which means you still walk away at $63— less than half the original suggested retail price.

There are tons of cheap Android devices on the market, but the Optimus V packs a 3.2megapixel camera, 2GB onboard memory, a 600 MHz TI OMAP 3610 processor, and 3.2-inch touchscreen. Even if does not replace your main device, this is a great deal for a backup phone, car GPS, media player, etc., at just $30. The deal is currently backordered, but the price will be honored when more stock becomes available.

Note: You will have to buy the first month of service with this phone, pushing the cost to $63 with one-month of service. Still, not bad!

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Report: Samsung Galaxy S III review (Video)

The Verge’s Vlad Savov just completed an extensive breakdown of the Samsung Galaxy S III that unveiled in London earlier this month. The review is fully-equipped with video, imagery, and hordes of information. One such video is above, while a snippet of its wrap-up and a grading chart are below:

[...] the Galaxy S III is a technological triumph. Not at first sight, perhaps, but Samsung has done the overwhelming majority of things right. The camera is easily the best I’ve used on an Android device, the processor claims the title of benchmarking champion, and the customizations layered on top of Ice Cream Sandwich are mostly unobtrusive and sometimes even helpful. They never really gel into one coherent user experience, meaning you’ll have to learn what each new feature does individually rather than intuiting it from the phone’s general behavior, however that’s a trifling complaint when compared to our usual disappointments with Android OEM skins. TouchWiz may still have its illogicalities, but it’s been cleaned up and streamlined sufficiently to make it an adequate alternative to Google’s stock experience. While neither the display nor the construction materials on the Galaxy S III are the best possible, both represent acceptable compromises that help Samsung balance out the rest of its class-leading spec sheet.

The extra-large size of this phone, even with its great ergonomics, may prove to be a stumbling block for those who can’t comfortably fit a 4.8-inch handset into their daily routine. Still, the popularity of the Galaxy Note has shown that phone buyers are willing to look to more exotic form factors in their pursuit of novelty and extra functionality — and the Galaxy S III suffers no shortage of either.

Links to 9to5Google’s coverage of the S III launch event are after the break.
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Google posts new page detailing URL takedowns, Microsoft leads with most requests

Google posted a new page on its Transparency Report that details content the company has been forced to remove from its search engine (via The Verge). The information is interesting, because it gives us a look at how often Google is asked to remove something for all to see. During this past month, the team in Mountain View, Calif., was forced to remove 1,246,713 links from its pages, and non other than Microsoft is leading the requests. The Redmond, Wash.-based Company requested that Google remove 543,378 links this month, followed by a British recording company and NBC Universal. As you can see in the graph below, the number of takedown requests served has increased dramatically over the last nine months—ever since Google started keeping track in July of last year. So why is Google publishing the data now? The company said, “As policymakers and Internet users around the world consider the pros and cons of different proposals to address the problem of online copyright infringement, we hope this data will contribute to the discussion.” The takedown requests by the record labels are not surprising, but Microsoft leading the pack certainly is.

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iHeartRadio app launches on Google TV

Google TV just launched iHeartRadio on its Smart TV platform in an effort to bring live radio to the big screen.

iHeartRadio is a four-year-old website and mobile radio network that aggregates local radio brands, personalities, and on-demand content. The new Google TV app offers 800 live stations and the ability to create a custom station based on an artist or track. It also sports high-resolution imagery, quick jump options, and seamless navigation for finding local broadcasts by genre or location. Moreover, the app “dims the lights,” so users can listen to music without a blaring screen in the room.

A screenshot of the app is above, while a reel of the service is below. 
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Google+ for Android app v2.6 showcases tweaked UI, mobile Hangouts, and inline editing

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Google unveiled an updated Google+ app for Android this morning.

The improved app features the option to start a hangout while on the go, as well as the ability to edit posts inline. It even offers an upgraded user-interface with a built-in stream to display content shared across the social network.

With Hangouts we want to help people connect face-to-face-to-face—at any time, from anywhere. Of course, there’s really only one device that’s always by your side—your phone—so we’ve invested in mobile hangouts since early on,” announced Google’s Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra on the official Google blog. 

Tap “Hangout” in the new navigation ribbon, add friends, and then tap “Start” to begin using the mobile feature. If friends miss the Hangout call on their smartphones, Google gives them an opportunity to easily return the call. As for the new stream, Gundotra said Google owes the world an experience “that’s both intimate and immersive.”

“Your time and your relationships are precious, after all, so your posts should make you feel proud. Today’s new Android app takes this to heart, with full-screen media in the stream, conversations that fade into view and instantly-touchable actions like +1,” he added.

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IDC Q1 2012 Numbers: ‘Android and iOS have successfully distanced themselves from the industry’

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Today’s IDC numbers show that iOS and Android continue to dominate the smartphone market. They now account for 82 percent of all smartphones sold when combined, which is up from just over 54 percent a year ago. Android accounts for 59 percent of Smartphones sold, while iOS more than doubled its raw sales numbers by gaining 23 percent of the market. Meanwhile, Symbian, Blackberry, and Microsoft (although the chart above incorrectly doesn’t note it) all fell.

With iOS and Android continuing to grow, and not much in the way of innovation coming from the competition, it seems the smartphone industry is heading toward the same type of duopoly that the PC industry saw over the past three decades.

From the report:

Android finished the quarter as the overall leader among the mobile operating systems by accounting for more than half of all smartphone shipments. In addition, Android boasted the longest list of smartphone vendor partners. Samsung was the largest contributor to Android’s success, because it accounted for 45.4-percent of all Android-based smartphone shipments. But beyond Samsung was a mix of companies retrenching themselves or slowly growing their volumes.

iOS recorded strong year-over-year growth with sustained demand for the iPhone 4S after the holiday quarter and the addition of numerous mobile operators now offering the iPhone for the first time. Although end-user demand remains high, the iPhone’s popularity brings more operational pressures for mobile operators through subsidy and data revenue sharing policies.

The full IDC press release follows: Read more

The verdict is in: Android did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents

A jury decided this morning that Google did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents.

The verdict came unanimously as jurors in the Google vs. Oracle trial found six claims in U.S. Patent RE38,104, including two claims in U.S. Patent number 6,061,520, did not infringe.

“Today’s jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle’s patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem,” announced Google in a public statement, according to CNET.

Oh, and here is Oracle’s public statement on the decision: “Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java. We plan to continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle and ensure it is protected for the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility.”

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