Review: White Google/LG Nexus 4…Same great phone, now in white

Well, I did it. I got my hands on a White Nexus 4 to review. And, as you probably would have guessed it is a lot like the black version. In fact that’s pretty much all I have to say for this ‘review': It is white and just as, if not more, attractive than the original – and that’s the back. The front is identical and still black. See gallery above.

But there are some things to note here, not the least of which is the white bumper that came along with it. It is great! Fits like a glove, and will help prevent breakage. The downside is that it adds a bit of size to the phone and doesn’t completely cover the glass backside.

Also, the Nexus 4 has been my daily driver since I got it in October. It is still my go to phone after reviewing such beauties as the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4 or even its recent cousin the LG Optimus Pro. How is the Nexus 4 holding up and why do I like it more than the ‘superphones’ released this year? Read more

Google will resume sales of Nexus 4 in US at noon PST today

According to AndroidCentral, Google confirmed that it would resume selling its new Nexus 4 smartphone today after weeks of unavailability following the Nov. 13 launch. Both the $299 8 GB and $348 16GB models were listed as sold out just shortly after going up for sale in the United States on the Google Play store. Since then, some shipments have reached customers. However, Google earlier this month notified some pre-orders customers that their device would ship in three weeks due to “overwhelming demand.” We’ll keep you posted if the device actually hits Google Play later today.

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Android 4.2 Jelly Bean SDK now available to developers

Today, alongside the launch of Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, Google is officially making the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean SDK available to developers. Included in the release are the lock screen widgets, the Daydream interactive screensaver mode, enhanced support for external displays, and more. Developers can download the Android 4.2 platform from the Android SDK Manager. Google also has an overview of what’s new on its website and an API overview here.

The full release notes from Google (via the Android Developers Blog) are below:

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What’s new in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean: Photo Sphere, gesture typing, multi-user support on tablets, more

As we covered earlier today, Google is getting ready to introduce a brand new lineup of Nexus branded devices for the holidays and to accompany the launch is Android 4.2. We already got a good look at some of the features in this latest version of Jelly Bean in a promo video and walkthrough with Google engineers, but Google has a full run down of what’s new in 4.2 on its Android website here. It also posted the video above showing off the new Photo Sphere camera experience.

One of the biggest new features that Google is talking about is the new Photo Sphere camera mode. It allows users to snap pictures in every direction “that come together into incredible, immersive photo spheres that put you right inside the scene.” You can check out photo spheres from a few photographers here.

Some of the other features included in 4.2: enhancements to the lockscreen with widgets and camera access, Miracast wireless display support, multi-user support on tablets, and improvements to Google Now and accessibility. Google explained the multi-user support available to tablet users:

It’s your fully customized tablet. And theirs, too. With support for multiple users, you can give each person their own space. Everyone can have their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games – even individual high scores and levels! And since Android is built with multitasking at its core, it’s a snap to switch between users – no need to log in and out. Available only on tablets.

Android 4.2 also includes a smarter keyboard with Gesture Typing: Read more

Google does rare Nexus 7 ad on its Google.com homepage

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Google is serious about its Nexus 7. So serious that it is advertising the product on its front page—something that it rarely does for anything. The short animation appears below the search bar and tells searchers that” The Playground is open – The new $199 tablet from Google”.

The $199 7-inch tablet was announced at Google I/O in June, and it went on sale last month. While Google has not published sales numbers, many reports claim it is a rare hit for the problematic Android tablet platform. Yesterday, Google expanded Nexus 7 sales footprint to France, Germany and Spain.

It will be interesting to see how hard Google pushes the Nexus 7 in the face of an almost-certain iPad Mini that Apple is expected to launch in time for the holidays. So far, consumers like the ads anyway.

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Analyst: Google to sell 2.9M Nexus 7s in Q3, 8M by the end of 2012

Shortly after becoming available in the United States and Canada at various retailers and Google Play in mid-July, we reported Google suspended orders of the 16GB version while reports claimed the company had simply sold out of initial supplies. It would take Google weeks to restock the device, according to reports, but the 16GB model was again available on the store just a week later. Today, we get a look at just how many Nexus 7 tabs Google might have sold with analyst Sameer Singh estimating 6- to- 8 million units sold by the end of 2012 (via ComputerWorld):

Google could sell between six million and eight million of its $199 Nexus 7 tablets by year’s end, according to a new estimate… That’s more than double the three million Google expected to sell by the end of 2012, after putting the device on sale in July and seeing the 16GB version sell-out briefly… The estimate, based on projections using expected shipments of four million touch panels for the Nexus 7 in the third quarter 2012,

Google has not released any sales data related to the device and declined to comment on the estimates. Singh’s estimates definitely blow by the “1.5 million units in five weeks” estimated by Gartner. The estimate of 8 million units by year’s end is also significantly higher than Gartner’s estimates. According to Singh, “Google and Asus may have roughly doubled their [sales] estimates and cranked up the production volume.” Singh explained how he used panel orders to come up with his estimates: Read more

Nexus Q now in stock and shipping from Google Play in 3-5 days

We knew the U.S.-made streaming device would ship sometime in July to those who preordered, but today Nexus Q is officially in stock on the Google Play store. It is shipping in “3-5 business days” to U.S. customers. Nexus 7 certainly had a good start. It sold out at several retailers, but many are skeptical the $299 media streamer will do as well.
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Google officially ships Nexus 7, all pre-orders expected in 3 business days

As noted by the official Google Play account on Google+, the company started shipping out Nexus 7 tablets today for customers who pre-ordered the device. Google informed customers via an automated message on its help line that all pre-ordered devices are expected to ship within the next three business days. Customers will receive a tracking number and confirmation email once the device has shipped from Google. Pre-ordered devices from some retailers are also now ready for pick up. Phandroid reported today that GameStop started informing customers that pre-ordered Nexus 7s have now arrived and other retailers are expected to start doing the same.

The full statement from Google (via AndroidPolice) is below:

“We’re now shipping Nexus 7 pre-orders. The first wave of orders are going out today and all pre-orders are scheduled to ship within the next 3 business days. Once your order has shipped you will receive a confirmation email and tracking number. Though our agents are unable to provide a specific delivery date for individual pre-orders, please rest assured that our shipping team is working to fulfill all orders as quickly as possible.”

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Google’s No.1 priority for US-made Nexus Q was faster design iterations, not cost

Since Google unveiled its Nexus Q streaming device at Google I/O, more and more details have come out about what is essentially a set-top box (albeit orb-shaped) Apple TV competitor with a built-in stereo amplifier. Google was first to make it clear that the device was manufactured entirely in the United States, and a report from The New York Times later confirmed the Q “was being assembled in a large factory 15 minutes from Google headquarters.”

Today, a report from Reuters quoted Google’s Senior Director of Android Global Partnerships John Lagerling explaining that the decision was based on the ability to innovate faster and not necessarily cost:

“We wanted to innovate fast. This is the first end-to-end hardware product that Google has ever put out,” said John Lagerling, Google’s senior director of Android global partnerships.

The cost of building the orb-shaped Nexus Q, a cross between a streaming video box like Apple TV and a stereo amplifier, “was not the No. 1 priority,” Lagerling said. “We wanted to see if we could do fast (design iterations) rather than having our engineers fly across the world.”

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WSJ: Google to open an online tablet store to take on Apple’s iPad, sell Google-branded tablets


ye olde Nexus One Store circa 2010

The Wall Street Journal today reports that Google is in the process of building an online store to sell tablets running the Android operating system, including some with Google branding. We heard about the ASUS 7-inch Google tablet before, but the WSJ says Samsung may make devices too.

The Internet search company is planning to market and sell tablets directly to consumers through an online store, similar to rivals Apple and Amazon.com Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. The move is an effort to turn around sluggish sales of tablet computers powered by Google’s Android software.Some of the online store’s future tablets are expected to be co-branded with Google’s name, said people familiar with the matter. Google won’t make the devices and its existing partners such as Samsung Electronics Co. and ASUSTeK Computer Inc. will be responsible for the hardware. One Android tablet that may be sold in the online store is due to be released later this year by Taiwan-based Asus, said one of these people. Some details about the project remain unclear, including when Google plans to unveil the online store. Google is expected to release the next version of its Android software, called Jelly Bean, in the middle of this year, people familiar with the matter have said.

Google killed its Nexus One mere months after opening it in 2010. However, the company said carriers were crushing its ability to sell the device (tablets often sell without contracts).

Oh, and they expect JellyBean to be announced mid-year (read: Google I/O).

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The fundamental problem with the Android ecosystem and why the Motorola purchase will help

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Up above here you have the graphic heading around the Internet today made by Michael DeGusta at the Understatement.com.  While some of it is unfair/sloppy –  He says the Nexus One was hanging back because it didn’t have Android 2.2 when it was announced, but that was a beta period before the final version was released – that’s like saying no iPhones had iOS 5 for 4 months back when iOS 5 was announced in June, Also the Samsung behold isn’t the most expensive Android phone offered ever on T-Mobile – the point is still valid

Overall it does serve to demonstrate the major problem with the Android ecosystem.  The motivations of the carriers and manufacturers are short term gains and keeping customers by locking them into proprietary overlays.  As DeGusta says: Read more

No Ice Cream Sandwich for Nexus One, says Google. Nexus S owners will get it “within weeks”

Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system meant for both smartphones and tablets, will support the previous-generation Nexus S smartphone in addition to the forthcoming Galaxy Nexus device manufactured by Samsung for Google, the search giant confirmed. However, owners of the original Nexus One smartphone, which had been manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC Corporation as Google’s showcase Android phone in January 2010, will be left out in the cold because that device is not powerful enough to run the latest Android software, The Telegraph reported today.

Google’s Hugo Barra told the paper that Ice Cream Sandwich will drop as a free software update for the existing Nexus S handset “within weeks”, shortly after the latest Galaxy Nexus device lands on store shelves in November. Realistically, there are some limits as to which software can perform well in a satisfactory manner on older devices. MG Siegler pointed out that the iPhone 3GS is seven months older than the Nexus One and yet it runs the iOS 5 software. However, it should be points out that Apple is routinely leaving out older-generation devices with its mobile operating system revisions.

iOS 5, the latest version Apple released for public consumption earlier this month, does not run at all on the original iPhone or iPhone 3G. Even though it does run on iOS 5, it should be noted that some high-end features are not supported on that handset because the hardware is just not up to the task. Apple also intentionally limits some software features to the latest hardware for marketing purposes. Search assistant Siri, for example, is an iPhone 4S exclusive.

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