So it looks like the bulk of what we predicted to be released in the fall only weeks ago has been announced. A couple weeks ago, iOS 6 was announced and most features too, much of the final Windows 8 has been seen, Windows Phone 8 has been announced last week along with Microsoft’s tablet competition, Surface, and now Google is showing us their OS update and tablet to go with it.
Yesterday, Wednesday, Google surprised us with their all-new line of Nexus tablets, kicking it off with the Nexus 7 tablet, a release eerily similar to Microsoft’s Surface, and a device similar to the Kindle Fire. This device is running Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”, and the update did turn out to be what looks like a tablet-focused update as expected, and we’re not sure what other devices will run it, phones or tablets. Another impressive announcement is the Nexus Q, a media-streaming device which will allow any device with Android and Google Play to access all music and send their music via the cloud. More than the new Nexus devices, Project “Glass” has been previewed. More yet, Google has shown us some new features to their mobile services which could be revolutionary.
The Nexus 7 tablet
An impressive (actually, astounding) device for a meager $199. Google seemed to get it right by announcing all of the specifications, the price, and the rough launch date of mid-July. Here’s everything you need to know and more:
- Well-named for its 7″ screen
- 1280 x 800 screen resolution
- 8 GB or 16GB versions
- significantly large 4325 mAh battery
- Bluetooth support
- Android 4.1
- Chrome browser for Android as default
- Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor (CPU) clocked to 1.2 GHz
- headphone jack and microUSB port
- Front-facing camera 1.2 Megapixels
- built-in GPS along with offline Google Maps
- NFC support
- Oh, and a 12-core Tegra 3 GPU
Beyond the above specs, the device is cutting back for price, lacking a rear camera and expandable storage. But that seems like a small loss. The Nexus 7 tablet is dressed to impress with a consumer-friendly simplicity and accessible price. The device is built for media-consumption, bringing Google Play at its best for books, movies, music, magazines, and all the apps and games of Android, unlike the Amazon Kindle Fire or Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. The seemingly ridiculous GPU power should also give media consumption a headstart. The hardware superiority should bring this tablet an intense edge to other Android tablets, and brings a full-on Android experience, hopefully giving customers a true “tablet” experience.
The Nexus 7 Tablet is available for preorder already in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, if your heart is set.
The Nexus Q
Somewhat interesting, if not a confused effort. The bowling-ball-reminiscent sphere has a Tron-like colored light around the middle and an attractive design. The purpose of the device is to stream music from the cloud to devices and from devices to other devices via Google Play. The device accesses all information uploaded to Google Play libraries.
Or more accurately, Project Glass, is a project which brings with it some extremely interesting ideas, but at the low, low price of $1500. Just kidding. Thankfully, this was only the price attendees of Google I/O were offered to buy the glasses for. No consumer price was mentioned, but the smart specs are set to ship early next year. Aside from live-streaming video via a Google+ hangout, the glasses didn’t seem to do much. As USA today, reported, Google, with Project Glass, “envisions a day that information is delivered so quickly, people feel as if they know the answers to things right away.” The idea of instantaneous information presentation in such a gloriously simple way is very enticing, but we’re all waiting to see what other features the devices will bring.
There’s a lot of stuff happening this fall. The updates, news, hardware, and tantalizing prospects of the future in consumer technology we’re all looking for are going to come “en masse” this late summer and fall. There are a number of updates and promises and rumors that we should see coming all around this time. Software from Apple, Microsoft, and Google–the big three, of course–are all launching new versions of their mobile OSs. This means not only devices to current phones we love and behold, but a whole new fresh round of devices. From everyone, hopefully. This unified release could lead to some serious competition. When everyone has their latest and greatest on the field, it will be even more crucial to get the public eye, to compete, and to win the individual’s checkbook. Here’s a look at a few of the things which we’re heading into.
- iPhone 5. This phone may have been the most rumored device in history. This extremely-long-awaited phone could have some difficulty in competing in hardware to some Android devices like the HTC One X or Galaxy S III. The amount of time that Apple has made consumers wait for this phone will also mean the expectations will be extremely high. Larger screen? LTE? 1 GB RAM? Quad-core? Full HD screen? 20 MP camera? Built-in keyboard projector? … Apple released the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, but rumors do seem to be pointing to later fall. We’re just going to have to wait.
- Windows 8.The only computer OS which is getting a major update is getting the most major update it’s seen in years. Microsoft is bringing its revamped and reinspired OS to tablets, PCs, and everything in-between. The shear number of products that should come with this release will probably be overwhelming.
- Jelly Bean. The next iteration of Android is rumored to be coming this fall, but hasn’t truly been confirmed. (We should get more details this summer.) Supposedly, we’ll be looking at more tablet-friendly interfaces and some potential Jelly Bean notebooks. There was also word of a dual-operating system feature with Chrome, allegedly allowing you to dual-boot without having to reboot. Stay a little hesitant there.
- Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 7.5 “Tango” should be just around the corner for many users, if their carrier is willing to give it to them. New devices, however, have been limited by the hardware limitations of the current Windows Phone version. Windows Phone 8 is rumored to be a complete rebuilding of the OS, and will likely unify the experience with Windows 8 even futher, while allowing for more impressive hardware specifications.
- iOS 6. If Apple continues to follow their pattern of releases, it is likely we’ll see a new version of Apple’s operating system, which should make way for the iPad following the 3rd generation iPad, and likely also the iPhone 5. Given that Apple has waited so long for the iPhone 5, it’s possible we’ll see something big with this update. The OS has been around for a long time now, looking practically the same. The features of iOS 5 enliven the experience, but a whole new homescreen redesign may be in order. Surprise us, Apple.
We’ve got a lot coming to us, but we should get peeks and leaks before we get our hands on anything. It’s going to be a wild ride this fall. Stay tuned.