Google is regarded as one of the most innovative technology companies in the world, and last week at their annual I/O developer conference they showed us why. Google unveiled a slew of new products including: Android Jelly Bean, Nexus 7, Nexus Q, and even a preview of Google Glass.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – Buttery Smooth
Jelly Bean is the new version of the Android Operating System. A big part of Jelly Bean’s development is thanks to Project Butter which aimed to maximise speed and reduce lag; to make Android as smooth as butter. This new version of Android includes:
- New home screen animations and design
- New look notifications
- Google Now – A new feature which uses data in your smart phone to work out other helpful information.
- Offline voice typing – you can type via voice without being connected to the web
- New camera app that makes snapping and reviewing photos faster and easier
Jelly Bean also introduces a new intelligent voice search similar to Siri. Ask Google a question and the answer will be read out to you as well as displayed on an information card.
Google Nexus 7
The Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet that runs Android Jelly Bean. Importantly this is the first Android tablet made by Google, hardware and software are one – providing a “full Google experience”.
Integrating with Google Play, the Nexus 7 is designed to be a content consumption device, similar to Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The demo from Google I/O looks very good, but my full review of the Nexus 7 will be coming soon. You can pre-order the Nexus 7 now from Google Play for £156 ($199) – It ships in mid-July.
Nexus Q – The living room invader
Google also revealed another new product, a tiny android powered computer that hooks up to your TV called the Nexus Q.
Similar to Apple TV, Nexus Q lets you stream music, movies, and TV shows from your smart phone or tablet. Your tablet or smart phone also act as the remote control. Nexus Q is currently only available in the US, it will cost $299 and ship in mid-July.
Google Plus Updates
The one year old social network Google Plus is once again being updated. Google+ is now available on Android tablets, with the iPad version is coming soon.
Google+ also added events pages. But it’s not a knock-off of Facebook Events. While at the event, you can have all your photos automatically upload to the Google+ events page. Everyone’s photos show up in a nice side-show, you can then go back to the events page afterwards and see all the photos posted in chronological order.
Google Project Glass – The future of vision
Even with all these new products, the highlight of the event was a spectacular demo of Project Glass.
Project Glass has come for deep within the bowels of Sergey Brin’s secret skunk works known as Google-X. Glass is a product that could change the world in which we see technology for ever.
Earlier this year Google released a mock-up of what project glass could look like. Just a short time later a prototype is ready, and in a spectacular stunt world was given a demonstration what glass can do: See the demo here.
Essentially Project Glass puts a full computer, camera and display in a pair of glasses. Amazingly despite adding all this technology, still weigh less than most pairs of sunglasses. Lead product designer on Project Glass, Isabel Olson said: ”My inspiration is to make it as minimal as possible without being boring,”. The design also remains unobtrusive enough that a mother can use Glass to capture her babies first moments, in a natural way. See the video of that here.
This is a very exciting project, but this is still work in progress. Google is only taking pre-orders for U.S. based I/O attendees and for $1500 they will be able to get their hands on a bleeding edge Google Glass prototype early next year.