Google pulled out all the stops on the first day of it’s I/O developers conference, with lots of cool announcements to please us technology enthusiasts. If like me you couldn’t be there, here’s a summary of what we missed…
Android 4.1 proves that it’s worthy of a new dessert name (are jelly beans a dessert?), with enhancements such as Project Butter which makes the use of your Android device “buttery smooth”, Google Now where searching and voice actions learn from your actions and give more assistance in your everyday life, grouped actionable notifications and various camera tweaks.
As predicted, Google announced their new 7″ tablet manufactured by ASUS. The Nexus 7 is available for pre-order in the Play Store in 8GB and 16GB versions, and expected to ship within 2-3 weeks. Prices start at $199 (or £160) for the 8GB version, rising to $249 (or £199) for the 16GB. The device features specs rivaling more expensive tablets, including a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset with 12 core GPU and a 1280×800 HD display. However there is no SD card slot or rear camera.
In a display that makes an Apple announcement look like kindergarten show & tell, Google engineers jumped out of a plane, biked across roof-tops and rappelled down the Moscone Conference Center. All while broadcasting multiple live point-of-view Google Hangout videos from their glasses. Although not yet publicly available, they were made available to the developers attending the conference at $1500 per device.
The sphere shaped social streaming media player has been designed to centralize your home media and allow easy access to your Google Play content. Check out the video here.
The G+ app got updated with another new interface that addresses most of the issues I had with the last version, and provides true support for tablet devices. A new G+ feature called Events also allows users to send fancy online invitations to calendar events and automatically create a page with everyone’s photos after the event has finished.
The Play Store has also had a makeover, and now allows users to remotely update or uninstall apps. Magazines have also arrived allowing you to access your favorite publications online. Content seems to be US only at the moment, but hopefully this will expand to other regions soon.
All attendees will get a Nexus 7, Nexus Q and Galaxy Nexus. However I’m not jealous as they’re missing out on all the rain and flash floods where I live. Overall the first day of Google I/O has been a huge success and raised the bar for technology events. I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes out of Google I/O over the next few days.