With 400 million Android activations to date and more than one million devices lighting up each day, Google continues to innovate and improve on its services and products. Its annual I/O developers conference kicked off today with the announcement of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 tablet and the Nexus Q home entertainment system.
The new version of Android, Jelly Bean, has better touch response than older versions. It’s a lot faster (dubbed “Butter” because it’s so smooth) and makes it easier to fit widgets on your screen. Even offline, users can text input by voice, and autocorrect works well. It features new accessibility options for blind users such as speech output.
With the new camera updates, users can swipe from the shoot screen to look at older photos, pinch to see filmstrip view and swipe the photo to delete it.
Android Bean is a feature that allows users to share content over NFC and can be paired with accessories, like Bluetooth speakers, by tapping it. There is also a notifications center that shows more information from utilities, Gmail and other apps, and can perform actions within notifications like e-mailing contacts or editing a calendar update. For the social media fanatics, the notifications center lets users comment or ‘like’ status on apps like Foursquare without actually opening the app.
Of course, Siri now has a twin. The Siri clone is featured in the Google search bar, which also features image search. Google Now is a new feature that uses search history and the calendar to figure out what information users need. Updates include a variety of day-to-day tasks, like public transit features, places, appointments, flights and sports.
Jelly Bean will be available to Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Xoom in mid-July. SDK for Jelly Bean is available today.
With Google Play, movies, TV shows by episodes or entire seasons, and magazines are available for purchase.
Google’s new tablet, the Nexus 7 is a seven-inch tablet built for Google Play that runs Jelly Bean. It has a 1280 x 800 HD display, 12 core GPU, front-facing camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, nine hours of playback, 300 hours of standby and weighs 340 grams. Google Chrome is the standard default browser.
With Google maps, users can preview venues, look inside venues, look around the venue with the compass mode, and even download an entire city without data connection.
The Nexus 7 is available for $199 and will ship mid-July.
Last but not least of the Google developer announcements is the Nexus Q, an Android-powered device that is essentially an Apple TV clone. It plugs into speakers and TV in your home, lets you stream music and video and pulls content from Google Play. The home entertainment system runs on Wi-Fi, NFC, Ethernet and Bluetooth, and has ports for “hackability.” If there are multiple tablets in the room on the same network, you can all add songs or movies to the play queue on Nexus Q and they will all sync up.
The Nexus Q is available for $299 and will ship in July.
It’s Google+’s first birthday tomorrow. With 250 million accounts, 150 million active users and 50 percent signing in daily, the tablet version of Google+ launches today.
Stay tuned for an exciting week of the Google developers conference. You can watch a live video stream of the conference at https://developers.google.com/events/io/ or read a live blog at http://www.businessinsider.com/google-io-keynote-live-blog-2012-6.
TechZone360 Web Editor
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