What a busy month it has been! Apple held WWDC from June 11th – 15th. Then Microsoft announced Surface on June 18th. Most recently, ending today, Google held their annual I/O gathering from the 27th to today, the 29th. In these three days much has happened, and we’re rounding everything together into one spot so you know everything that has happened in these past three days with Google.
Starting with day one, June 27th, Google announced a lot of their most important products. This includes the Google Nexus 7, Nexus Q, and Android 4.1, known as Jelly Bean.
Google opened their keynote announcing Android 4.1. Known as Jelly Bean, this update to their Android operating system for mobile phones features many enhancements for devices. “Project Butter”, as Google calls it, offers a large number of enhancements to both touch responsiveness and also overall smoothness of animations and the UI. Project Butter also brings up the frame rate of the system to a constant number of 60 FPS.
During the keynote Google demonstrated the redesigned widgets that scale around other UI elements, a predictive keyboard that supports voice input, and redesigned notifications. These new redesigned notifications are customisable, expandable, and collapsible. The new notifications expand to offer more information as they reach the top of the list, The voice input is improved compared to past versions of Android.
The final main feature is Google Now. This is a search product that uses customisable cards such as sports or flights to keep you up to date on important data. It also provides personal assistant-like features. It gives you information based on personal preferences, location, and even sport scores for teams you previously searched for in Google Now.
Jelly Bean will be a OTA (over the air) update in mid-July for the Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom, and Nexus S. The developer SDK is already out.
Moving on from this, it is also noteworthy to point out that Google now activates one million Android devices per day. This is twelve a second. 12. 24. 36. 48. 60. 72.
Giving some statistics about Google Play, there are now 1.5 billion application installs each month. There are over 600,000 apps on the marketplace. This totals to over 20 billion installs ever. Google Play is now offering television shows and magazines, too! A new UI, subscription billing, and movie, music and TV shows will also come to the Google Play store on Google TV this summer. Sony Google TV products are coming to nine countries in the “coming months”.
The next big announcement by Google is the Nexus 7 Tablet. This is Google’s take at creating their own tablet. The 8GB model costs $199 and $249 for 16GB. Doesn’t this make the iPod Touch seem overpriced?
Here are the full tech specs of this tablet:
- 1080×800 HD display
- Tegra 3, Quad-core CPU
- 12-core GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4325 mAh battery- 9 hours video playback, 300 hours standby
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS
- 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera (no back camera)
- Weighs 340 grams
It can be pre-ordered here. For a limited time purchasing this device includes $25 of credit to spend in the Play store as well as some free content such as a copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. This device ships with Android 4.1.
The next device announced by Google is the Nexus Q. This is somewhat of an Apple TV like product, but manufactured by Google. It is notable that this product is made in the United States. This device acts as a bridge for Android devices by streaming music, movies, and television from Google Play onto your television. You can also steam YouTube, the popular video hosting site that was purchased by Google several years back. If you are nearby and have an Android device you can use it to control what the Nexus Q is playing.
The Nexus Q has a 4.6-inch diameter and weighs 2 pounds. The device features a rotating top dome volume control with a capacitive touch sensor. Inside it comes with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, SGX540 graphics core, 1GB LPDDR RAM, and 16GB NAND flash memory. It runs Android 4.0. There are also slots for Micro HDMI, TOSLink Optical audio, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, Micro AB USB, and a Banana jack speaker outputs. The Nexus Q supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities. As of writing, the Nexus Q ships in 2-3 weeks. You can order it from Google Play here.
Next up was some Google+ updates. There are over 150 million Google+ users with 150+ million active users monthly. 50% of users sign in daily and spend over 12 minutes on average in the Google+ stream. A full featured tablet version of Google+ rolled out after this announcement. A new Google+ feature, called events, was also released alongside.
Finally, Sergey Brin ran on-stage at Google I/O to introduce skydivers above Moscone. The skydivers were wearing Google Glasses to stream a live video from the headsets via Google+ Hangouts to the keynote screen. A pair of beta, or Explorer Edition of Google Glasses, costs $1,500 and will start shipping to I/O attendees next year.
That wraps up the bigger announcements. Other smaller announcements during day one include:
- Chrome for Android now out of beta
- Google Earth and Google Maps for Android were updated (you can learn more about this here)
- The Google Play store now lets you update and uninstall apps remotely
- YouTube for Android was updated to 4.0 with a revamped UI and a remote function
Here is a video by Google explaining what is new in maps:
It has been also said that Google is working on merging Hangouts, Talk, and Messenger into a single unified service.
That wraps up day one of Google I/O! If you are interested, you can watch the full two hour keynote below.
Day two was a much quieter day compared to day one of Google I/O, as it was more of minor announcements. A lot of day two’s announcements had to do with iOS, Google’s rival mobile operating system by Apple. (how ironic!)
The first announcement is Chrome for iOS. This application is similar to Chrome for Android, but obviously for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) instead. Currently the app is doing fantastic on the app store, sitting at #1 free. You can download the universal application off iTunes here. You need iOS 4.3 or above to use this app. Chrome for iOS features many things that are found in the desktop version of Google Chrome, such as syncing. You can learn more about Chrome for iOS in this post. Other Chrome stats 310 million active users, 13 years of human life saved each day thanks to page pre-rendering, 1TB of files downloaded per day, and finally, 60 billion words typed per day.
Another Google service, Google Drive, also got some updates. Google Drive for iOS was released. After being released just ten weeks ago, the service now has ten million users. The service also launched for Chrome OS. Finally, the Android version of Google Drive has been updated with several new enhancements. The changes iclude being able to quickly find files that have recently been opened, edited, or shared with you, uploading and downloading all file types to and from Google Drive, selecting contacts to share easier, faster folder navigation, and the ability to choose text alignment in the documents editor.
Speaking of Chrome OS, Chromebooks and Chromebox are coming to 100 Best Buy stores in the United States and Dixon’s stores in the United Kingdom. You can find where you get one on Google’s website here.
Next up is Google Compute Engine, a rival against Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud-computing services. The Infastructure platform allows any sized business with large computing requirememts to run applications on Google’s data centre servers. It has already been beta tested with consumers. Compute Engine provides 50 percent more computing per dollar than its competition.
This concludes day two of Google I/O 2012. The full keynote video is embedded below.
On to the smaller day three goodies. There isn’t a whole lot worth mentioning aside from a few odds and ends.
The first thing is a ‘Save to Wallet’ API. Initially rolling out to partners, this new feature will allow consumers to save coupons and deals or even load a payment cards directly from a merchant’s website to Google Wallet.
The second highlight of day three is mobile application analytics. You can read more about this on the official Google blog. There are three main focus points.
- Acquisition and user metrics such as downloads and new users
- Engagement metrics such as retention, crashes and conversions
- Outcome metrics such as app sales and in-app purchases
This concludes the Google I/O 2012 roundup!