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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Samsung Music Hub officially launches today, 100GB of cloud storage for £9.99 a month

With the hopes of taking on Apple’s iTunes, South Korea-based Samsung launched its Music Hub product today. Music Hub offers 19 million streaming music selections to Galaxy S III customers, along with 100GB of storage space to match songs in the cloud for those who choose to pay—much like Apple’s iTunes Match offering. Samsung’s matching service will run for £9.99 a month; however, you can still access the 19 million songs without paying to browse. Interestingly, a lot of the Music Hub technology comes from Samsung’s acquisition of mSpot earlier this month. New Galaxy S III owners can register for an account upon setting up their new device to get going. You can go past the break for all of the juicy details.

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Samsung Galaxy S III launches today in 28 countries, 145 countries planned by July

Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy S III officially launched worldwide today in 28 countries. The Galaxy S III unveiled earlier this month as a successor to the popular Galaxy S II. The smartphone features top-of-the-line specs, including a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED (1,280-by-720 pixel) display, 8-megapixel rear-camera, 1.9-megapixel front-camera, 1.4 GHz Exynos processor, and Android 4.0. While it may not be as exciting as the HTC One X and others, the Galaxy S III is definitely destined to be a hot-seller. The 28 countries include most of Europe and the Middle East; however, there is still no word on a U.S. release date, which is most likely coming soon. Samsung said the Galaxy S III should make its way to at least 145 countries by July. Who is picking up this Exynos beast?

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Beyond Retina: LG Display announces stunning new 5-inch screen, featuring 1080p HD resolution and 440ppi pixel density

Apple’s Retina Display featured on both the iPhone and iPad is one of the hottest displays on a handset to date, and it is one of the key selling points for both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Originally manufactured by LG, the display features a 326 PPI pixel density on a 3.5-inch display with an 800:1 contrast ratio. The eye cannot even make out the individual pixels, but the Retina Display is now being trumped. LG has announced a new 5-inch smartphone screen featuring a full 1080p HD resolution, a 440 PPI pixel density, and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Can you imagine HD movies on this display?

Such a high quality display is causing a few red flags to be thrown up. The first is battery life. This display has to drain that sucker fast by requiring a lot of power for so many pixels. Second is the need for a GPU that can power something that high. Do not be mistaken, though. This has to look amazing.

According to LG, the display will be available by Q3 and should be ready to ship in phones shortly after—ideally before the holidays. We are excited to get our eyes on this bad boy to check it out. You can peruse the full press release (via Engadget) after the break for all the juicy details.

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Cisco discontinues Android Cius tablet due to BYOD trend in enterprise

According to a blog post by Cisco’s TelePresence Technology Group OJ Winge (via NetworkWorld), Cisco announced it is shutting down its Android-based Cius business tablet project. The roughly $1,000 tablet solution started shipping less than a year ago and clearly is not doing too well. The reason for killing off the 7-inch Cius tab? Winge noted 95 percent of organizations Cisco surveyed now allow employees to bring their own device, which he said underscores “a major shift in the way people are working, in the office, at home and on-the-go.”

There is no denying that iOS devices and cheaper Android solutions are taking the place of Cius. Recent studies show Apple with 97 percent of tablets in the enterprise, while 94 percent of the Fortune 500 is currently testing or deploying the iPad. The result is no further investment in the Cius tablet line and only limited support for what is currently available. The company will instead “double down” on Jabber and WebEx:

Over the last year, Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences… Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.

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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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