Google I/O Offers Glimpse Into Mobile Future
This morning Google stepped up to the plate to join Apple and Microsoft with its own set of big announcements, adding to what is fast becoming the hottest month for mobile news to date. At
the Google I/O keynote in Moscone Center, San Francisco, the tech giant unveiled their Nexus 7 tablet complete with Jelly Bean Android OS 4.1 and a home computer device called Nexus Q-- an Apple TV-esque product that brings Google’s mobile technology to your home entertainment systems. But all that came before Google co-founder Sergey Brin dropped a bomb with the gimmick-filled demo of Google Glass. Complete with skydivers, bikers, and stuntmen repelling buildings, the Glass extravaganza will likely be buzzed about for weeks to come. Attendees of the conference can all pre-order the prototype of Glass, which will ship early next year. Coming back from the future though, Jelly Bean and the Nexus 7 will be available to users just next month. Here are some of the key features:
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean builds upon its earlier versions, taking advantage of the power of Google
by baking many of its search optimization features into the phone.
- Google Now takes knowledge gained from search entries to provide users with relevant cards throughout the day that help with your commute, your calendar, and more.
- The keyboard is revamped to include a sweet, new predictive text feature and a voice text option that works offline.
- An Android Beam upgrade utilizes NFC to make it even easier to tap your phone with friends to share photos and videos.
- The camera and notifications menu have also been reworked to look and feel even better.
After announcing over 600,000 apps available and 20 billion installs, as well as the addition of movies, tv shows, and magazines, Google Play also mentioned some important improvements for developers regarding the new OS, including:
- App encryption to make hacking a problem of the past.
- Smart App Updates that only require developers to download the parts of the APK that have changed, making updates quicker than ever before.
- And Cloud2Device Messaging, providing developers a tool for in-app messaging.
Appcelerator co-founder and CEO Jeff Haynie welcomed the news of the improved OS and app market. Addressing Titanium developers Jeff remarked, “We look forward to bringing the new Jelly Bean features to a near term update in Titanium soon.”
While Google followers may have seen the Nexus 7 coming from miles away, the official announcement was finally made today, confirming the numerous leaks almost word for word. Google joins Microsoft, whose Surface announcement is still just days old, as a new-to-the-scene tablet retailer. Unlike Microsoft, who will target the iPad user market, Google is making a clear move against the Android-powered Amazon Kindle Fire. The Kindle, currently the only tablet on the market that has seen a shred of success in the giant shadow cast by Apple’s iPad, runs on its own version of Android with a unique marketplace for apps through Amazon. The new Nexus 7, built by Asus, is a 7-inch tablet connected to Google Play that will be priced competitively at $199 for the 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB, available for pre-order today.
If the announcement of its own tablet wasn’t enough, Google is getting into the hardware game in an even bigger way. The Nexus Q is a small Android powered computer designed to live in your home and connect to the cloud. The little black sphere allows users to stream music, movies and YouTube videos with their mobile devices in an innovative and social way. The Q brings mobile to the living room, making it clear that consumer electronics now means hardware, software, and the cloud combined.
Google has now made the third big week for mobile in a row. They not only managed to stay competitive and improve their product; they got us excited about the future of mobile in a big way with Glass, however controversial the project may be. “Google has really upped the ante by introducing mobility-powered vision as the next big interaction paradigm,” said Haynie on Project Glass. “We’re likely to see many new types of screen and interface paradigms over the next few years as the cost of mobility devices comes way down and more consumers and enterprises bring mobility to the fore front in terms of priority and ROI. Hold on tight.” Good advice if you plan on basejumping during your next Google hangout.