I told you so, in April. Contrary to pundits at the time viewing Google's tablet as an iPad competitor, I saw something else: Google isn't gunning for Apple but Amazon. After getting my hands on the tablet this evening, and comparing the experience using my wife's Kindle Fire, there is no doubt. Google will probably save Android from Amazon, but the end cost may be greater gains for iPad.
By just about every measure -- the exception being buying tens of thousands of retail goods -- using Nexus 7 feels like Kindle Fire, only better in every way. Significantly, the experience is different from using Google Nexus smartphones or other Android tablets. That's because Google Play is so visible. I can't say if that's a function of Android 4.1 Jellybean or how Google has set up the tablet. But content pushes to the forefront, like Kindle Fire, and much of it is similar.
The cat is finally out of the bag. After weeks of speculation surrounding Google’s vaporous "7-inch Kindle killer", the Nexus 7 is now real. And as I suspected, the search giant’s new reference platform is nothing more than another in a long line of cheap, uninspiring Android tablets.
I mean, what is there to differentiate the Nexus 7 from similarly-sized tablets by Samsung or Acer? They all have the same crappy build quality, the same limited output options (no HDMI?) and the same tinny, poorly-placed speakers that have come to define the 7-inch Android tablet category.
Perhaps my biggest surprise walking around Google I/O 2012: Autodesk, and a Chromebook! Cough, cough, gag, gag. What the hell is this? Why would Autodesk demo its big-iron 3D design products on the Samsung Series 5 550. This is not MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
As Randy Young explains it's all about the cloud and extending Autodesk customers' capabilities in the cloud. Let's say you're a builder. You've got AutoCAD and your client doesn't. They can view the design in Chrome. Sure enough, there's an AutoCAD WS plug-in available in the Chrome Webstore. Yes, apps for Android and iOS are available, too. But the developer is here promoting Autodesk 360 cloud service. The concept: Store and share design files in the cloud. If your customer is crazy enough to buy Chromebook. No problem.
This morning, before Google I/O 2012 keynote kicked off, I spoke with three developers from Ice Development Solutions, all from Phoenix, Arizona. They expressed excitement about Android and imminent Nexus 7 tablet announcement.
They feel real good about Chrome, too, but not as much about Chromebook. Some of their work involves games, and they say the hardware Chrome OS currently runs on isn't good enough. Get this: Their games run better on Ubuntu on the same hardware. Damn, good thing I don't game on the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook.
It appears that this round of mobile operating system updates will be incremental for all platforms involved.
Following Apple's announcement of iOS 6, and Microsoft's announcement of Windows Phone 8, Google on Wednesday outlined the upcoming features of Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean," and revealed the update will provide mostly under-the-hood changes that aren't geared toward "wowing" users.
If Boxee shook up the design world by turning the standard set-top box form factor into an odd geometric shape, Google has completely eliminated the "box" from the equation, and unveiled the Nexus Q, a streaming home entertainment hub for connecting your TV to your Android devices and to Google Play for content distribution.
At Google's I/O 2012 developer convention on Wednesday, the long-rumored Asus tablet sporting the Google Nexus brand was finally revealed. Confirming the rumor from Gizmodo Australia earlier this week, the tablet is known as Nexus 7.
As the rumors had suggested, the $199 device is going to be the first to run Android 4.1 (aka Jellybean), sport a 7-inch, 1280 x 800 display, run on a quad-core 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAM and a "12 core" GeForce GPU, be Wi-Fi only, and offer a 1.3 megapixel forward-facing camera, accelerometer, and NFC chip for device-to-device communication. The total weight of the device is just 340 grams.
I'm here in San Francisco, undeterred by cancelled and delayed flights, and it's madness. At 7 am PDT, when the doors were supposed to open, the line wrapped around and down the block and around the next one. Man, you should have come. I/O closes an exciting month of developer events -- Apple's WWDC, Microsoft's TechEd, Windows Phone and surprise Surface announcement. But the last word goes to Google, which is expected today to debut the Nexus tablet, expand cloud services and delight with lots more. I'm too rushed to go through them all.
The keynote commences at 9:30 am PDT -- that's 12:30 pm Eastern Time, and all updates here will be in chronological order reversed -- meaning newest first. You'll want to refresh often.
Google I/O starts tomorrow, and if rumors are right -- and I believe them -- developers get a big peak at the 7-inch Nexus tablet. About a month ago, I asked how much would you pay for one. Now with more details available, I ask if you will buy the Google device.
The Nexus tablet, manufactured by Asus, features a 7-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 800 resolution; 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB RAM; 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera; near field communications; and Android 4.1 "Jellybean". There are two capacities, 8GB and 16GB, selling for $199 and $249, respectively. This information comes from a leaked training manual that Gizmodo Australia obtained. The big differentiator is price. As I explained in April, "Google isn't trying to save Android tablets but kill Kindle Fire".
The existence of a 7-inch Google-branded Android tablet has been rumored for a couple of months, and Asus has proudly taken credit for manufacturing the device. Still, the specifics have not be officially laid out, so we have to rely on unnamed sources and ambiguous evidence for the next few days until Google I/O begins.
Reportedly, some "training materials" uncovered by Gizmodo Australia related to a tablet known as the "Nexus 7" provide some confirmation to prior rumors of an Asus-made Google Tablet, similar to the MeMO 370T that was debuted by Asus earlier this year.
The Google TV platform kind of flopped when first launched in the United States two years ago. Anemic hardware and wonky UI made the experience a total cluster bomb of grief and end-user cursing for anyone that purchased it. Logitech took a $30 million write-off and ditched their failed Google TV product, Logitech Revue.
The set-top box that "augmented" your television viewing experience also launched with the Sony NSZ-GT1 and Sony Internet TV with Google TV. The old consumer electronics behemoth that is no stranger to showing gumption for beating a dead horse will try again. Starting July 25, Sony will release the NSZ-GS7 set-top box in the UK for £200/$199. International launch will follow.
Just ahead of Google I/O 2012, The Street claims that "Android users don't know enough to matter". Interesting story, especially considering the timing, and one that’s bound to stir lots of criticism just because it puts down all Android fans in the world.
There are plenty of references, but they sustain a flawed point of view.
I don't own shares in Google -- or any other company, for that matter (conflict of interest). But were I a shareholder, I'd want to know why Google's CEO missed this week's shareholder meeting and will skip next week's I/O developer conference. Given that Page has only been on the job (his second time as CEO) since April 2011, visibility at big events should be a top priority. His absence already has raised health questions, and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt isn't helping by giving a health reason (laryngitis) as reason why Page will miss Google I/O.
Google shouldn't pull an Apple and play the privacy card. Apple withheld critical information about then-CEO Steve Jobs' health during crucial junctures. He died, which says much about the severity of his illness and impact on his ability to run Apple. I've long contended shareholders had a right to know. Apple is a public company owned by them. Google is much less since cofounder Sergey Brin, Page and Schmidt are the majority stakeholders. They should be informed, and surely are, if no one else. Nevertheless, Google's shares are publicly traded. If something is up (or down) with Page's health, Google should say so. If he's okay, stop the ill-health rumor stories by publicly saying so.
The annual Google developer convention I/O will take place next week. Like Apple's WWDC and Microsoft's TechEd, it is the big summer event where the world is given a look at each of the respective companies' plans for the coming year.
Google is expected to announce a lot of staggering new stuff, like its own branded sub-$200 tablet and its own Cloud platform to rival Amazon Web Services.