Google shows off Jelly Bean and Project Glass


Google shows off Jelly Bean and Project Glass
Catch all the announcements from Day 1 of I/O 2012.
Google’s I/O Conference kicked off with a bang yesterday as Google unveiled its plans to improve its mobile platform, announced a tablet and a media streamer, and revealed some more about its ambitious Project Glass.

The Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet which will run the Android operating system. Asus will be manufacturing the title which will then bear the Google Nexus brand. The tablet boasts a 1,280x800 216 pixel-per-inch high-resolution display, which will be protected by anti-scratch glass. Neither Google nor Asus has commented if this is Gorilla Glass, used on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy SIII, or the second-generation Dragon Glass. Buyers will be able to choose between 8GB or 16GB of internal storage and the Nexus 7 will feature 1GB of RAM. As you would expect, the Nexus 7 features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a range of extras including an integrated near-field communication (NFC) transceiver, GPS, gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer, and microphone. The Nexus 7 is currently available to pre-order at a cost of $199 for the 8GB model and $249 for the 16GB model. Google will begin shipping in a handful of territories in mid-July.

Google also announced that the Nexus 7 will run a new version of Android. Jelly Bean, or Android 4.1 if you like to keep track of updates that way, will feature close integration with the Google Play store and has been designed to make Android faster and smoother.

Google has stated that this upgrade provides a more responsive user interface, a more interactive notification system, better voice transcription, overhauled search, and a major new feature called Google Now. Google Now will try to anticipate what users need to know and provide it at the moment when users need it. This could be anything from weather for the day or traffic conditions to places to eat or updates on your favourite sports teams. Director of product management, Hugo Barra explained that Google Now draws on the calendar, location, and user search history to automatically present what it thinks the person needs to know.

Rumours have circulated surrounding the Google Play store and its offerings, and some of them have finally come true. Google Play will now stock digital magazines such as House Beautiful, Men’s Health, Shape and WIRED. Users can also purchase movies in addition to renting them. Google has also partnered with studios such as ABC Studios, NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures to bring TV shows to Google Play.

The Nexus Q was another product announcement from Google, designed to allow users to enjoy music with friends and family. Nexus Q utilises Android and Google Play to stream music and video in your home. The device can also be controlled by an Android phone or tablet. In addition, guests can be given the ability to add their own music, movies or videos to the mix. Google has released a brief trailer to showcase how it all works.

One of the focal points of the conference was, of course, Project Glass. The augmented reality glasses have certainly captured the imagination of tech-lovers everywhere since they were originally unveiled. At the conference, Google showcased a point-of-view stream from a skydiving engineer. The demo gave viewers an indication of the flexibility, usage and recording quality of Project Glass. This was made more impressive by the implementation of a Google+ Hangout in mid-air. A limited US pre-order of a special developer's edition of the glasses was announced, but it will set you back $1,500. So much for making our lives easier instantly.

More announcements will be made today during the second day of the I/O Conference. Google plans to showcase another skydive in the process. The second day will kick off at 10:00 PDT (18:00 GMT).

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