In December 2011, I asserted: "Google Nexus tablet in six months is a year too late". The search and information giant proved me wrong. After failing to quickly respond to iPad and leaving Android leaderless, Google has recovered with a bang-up Nexus device strategy. Damn, this is my second tablet mea culpa -- the first about iPad nearly 18 months ago.
Tomorrow, Google expands the number of available Nexus screens to three, all running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean: 4.7-inch smartphone that replaces Galaxy Nexus as flagship; 7-inch tablet updated with more storage for purchase price and new 3G model added; 10.1-inch slate with higher screen resolution than iPad 4. The devices are "pure Google" and produced by LG, ASUS and Samsung, respectively. The original Nexus 7 released in July, receiving rave reviews and generating, ASUS asserts, about 1 million sales per month.
To be honest, you really don't want to know which one. Some tragedies are simply too painful to see. But if you delight in car crashes, then do watch Darcy LaCouvee plummet the Apple and ASUS/Google tablets to the cement. Informal drop tests like this one aren't exactly scientific, if for no other reason than Chaos theory. But they're nevertheless revealing and entertaining.
Like the iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S III drop test, the Android Authority reporter waited until the Apple device starting selling in stores to drop-test the tablets. He's back again from Hong Kong, in this riveting 5:39 video.
Even though the Asus Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus share the same version of Android and similar display resolutions, some apps are not identical. On the Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet, the Calendar app displays more information, and thanks to the modding community it's now available for the Galaxy Nexus as well.
Instead of the lines in the Calendar app from Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the modded tablet variant shows a text description for each event of the day, making it a bit more useful.
Two modded versions are available at the moment, with the first based on the Calendar that ships with Android 4.1.2 and the second on the one available as a separate download from Google Play. Both can be used, but only the latter allows users to sync events dating back one full year.
Damn, and I had so expected to upgrade.
Surely there's a metaphor here somewhere. Hurricane Sandy blew out Google's Android event, but the news came anyway like a storm raining down on Windows Phone 8's launch. Today, Google debuted the long-rumored Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet, added a 3G Nexus 7 to the product family and took the wraps off Android 4.2. But in looking over the news, I'm not nearly excited as I expected to be. The new handset is HSPA+, in a LTE world. The larger tablet lacks the design charm that makes Nexus 7 so appealing; Samsung produces what in the photos looks like a stuffed Galaxy Tab with super duper high-resolution display. Maybe I'll warm up before sales start November 13. How unlucky a number is that?
Hurricane Sandy may have dampened Google's plans for a big New York City Android event, but even with that cancelled the company pushed out the news anyway: Android 4.2 and new Nexus devices. That isn't the only mobile news today, though. Microsoft, with an event in San Francisco and safely out of the storm path, launched Windows Phone 8. T-Mobile USA was front and center for both rollouts.
The carrier will be among the first to carry the new devices, including the "Nokia Lumia 810 and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC; the Google Nexus 4 with T-Mobile as a premier launch partner; and the Samsung Galaxy Note II". That's a pretty big lineup for a company that has struggled to compete with giants like Verizon and AT&T.
I just hauled back from the local Office Depot, which has Nexus 7 32GB in stock -- well, one left, for $249.99. The 16GB model is now $199.99, replacing the 8 giger at that price. So the rumors were true, and not all that surprising. I didn't check the local Gamestop, but online the 16GB tablet is $199.99. So it's not rocket science what's coming.
Something unexpected: With all the rumors about Android 4.2, I expected that version. But the spec sheet has 4.1. So it's anybody's guess what to expect and when. The real question: What new product pops next and where. Google may have cancelled the New York Android event because of Hurricane Sandy, but that may not stop retailers from going ahead with plans to offer product. The channel isn't easily stopped, particularly when there is chance to get in front of competitors with a hot product. Retailers don't share Google's priorities.
For those of you skydiving from the edge of space or returning from a week in some Fringe alternate universe, today Apple announced iPad mini -- so far the autumn's worst kept secret. Rumormongers got right the event and sales dates, product name and screen size but flubbed the price; sorry it's not $249 or $299, Bub. That's in another alternate reality. But do dream.
I just have to ask, again: Will you buy iPad mini? I look forward to the impact facts will have on your answers. In February I asked: "Apple is rumored to be developing a smaller tablet. Would you buy an 8-inch iPad?" About 56 percent of the 3,624 respondents answered "Yes". That's a high number. But much has changed since, with Google Nexus 7 joining Kindle Fire at $199, Amazon offering 8.9-inch tablets and Apple choosing to price higher than many people hoped. So I ask the question again, offering new poll and your chance to comment.
The invitations are out, and rumors proved true. Apple will hold a special press event, presumably for iPad mini, on October 23 -- that's three days before Microsoft launches Windows 8 and Surface tablets. Talk about party crashing. Apple almost surely will steal much of its rival's thunder, splitting media coverage and assuring that most every Windows 8 or Surface blog post or news story will mention Apple and iPad mini.
Anyone who thinks the timing isn't deliberate lives in lala land. Capitalism is all about brutal competition, and if iPad mini debuts next week Apple will heap hot coals through Microsoft's Windows and onto its shiny Surface. InterWeb writers have obsessed about the rumored tablet for weeks. Its arrival will be almost as blah blah worthy as Steve Jobs returning from the dead.
What the frak? Did Microsoft hire the same artist for Windows 8 packaging that Google used for Nexus 7? Because I am absolutely struck by similar color choices and graphic fluidity. You wouldn't confuse the boxes on a store shelf, because the products would be nowhere near one another. But one wonders if Google tapped a new trend in graphic box design, and Microsoft just copied along.
Before posting, and as sanity check, I asked colleague Tim Conneally about the boxes. "The similarity is kind of shocking", he responded. "That gunmetal grey color was nowhere to be seen in tech two years ago".
Google released factory images for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean about a month after announcing the mobile operating system during its developer conference in June. But the Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation only waited two days after releasing the Android 4.1.2 update to post Google Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus factory images.
Using the factory images, the two devices can be updated to the latest Android version, 4.1.2 build number JZO54K, without waiting to get them over the air by cellular radio or Wi-Fi, or to be restored to stock after using a custom Android distribution such as CyanogenMod 10 or AOKP Jelly Bean. The factory images have only been updated for the Google Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ sold via Google Play and Google Nexus 7, yet they're likely to make an appearance for older devices as well, such as Nexus S.
As a CyanogenMod 10 user I religiously check for nightly builds, and today I received a bonus. Yesterday my colleague Joe Wilcox wrote "Google updates Nexus 7 to Android 4.1.2" and, while it will take some time for the update to push throughout the Nexus lineup, Android 4.1.2 is already incorporated into the latest CyanogenMod 10 nightly.
CyanogenMod 10 nightly, October 10 build, is based on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and sports the JZO54K build number, from the previous nightly that used Android 4.1.1 build number JRO03R. Upon a bit of research, for my Samsung Galaxy Nexus the popular Android distribution has undergone massive changes to include the "jb-mr0-release", similar to other devices such as the popular Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X or Google Nexus 7. Upon a bit further research it seems that apart from allowing launcher rotation, the build also includes a significant number of improvements from the previous build.
I typically don't post about minor Android updates, but Nexus 7 is popular among some BetaNews readers and this release reportedly comes with something many users have pined for: Desktop/launcher in landscape mode.
Jean-Baptiste Queru, technical lead for the Android Open Source Project, explains in a post on the Android Building Google group: "We're releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update on top of 4.1.1. As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity. Future variants of the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1. The build number is JZO54K, and the tag is android-4.1.2_r1".
I typically don't write about rumors, since too many are obvious (and so look like someone simply guessed and wrote a story), while others aren't adequately sourced (who and why is uncertain). But readers have asked me today about the next Google Nexus device following new rumors it's coming within 30 days.
Duh, I can reasonably speculate that based on Google's past two Nexus phone launches October is reasonable debut. But something is different this year: Way fewer rumors, which could mean: 1) There is no imminent Nexus; 2) Google has cooked up something special. Or 3) You tell me another reason. It's the silence that has my interest more than the noise.
If you went to Google.com today, you probably noticed the logo was replaced with a fun little birthday cake animation celebrating 14 years of incorporation. Google was incorporated on Sept. 4th 1998, but chose today to celebrate the birthday. What does it matter when they celebrate, after all, Google has had a great year.
In April, Google released a concept video about Project Glass, fancy glasses with computers in them. In May, the search giant closed the purchase of Motorola Mobility. During the annual developer conference in June, Google made a lot of announcements, among them: Android 4.1, Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q and creepy but useful Google Now. The fun: skydiving, bicycles and rappelling down the side of a building. Big surprise: event participants could purchase a developer version of Google Glasses.
In the land of the rising sun a new tablet --the Google Nexus 7-- is making its first appearance.
The popular 7-inch tablet sporting Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was launched by Google in Japan. Like with the European launch, the Nexus 7 only comes in one flavor -- the 16GB model and it is available for purchase directly from Google's local Play Store for a price of 19,800 Japanese Yen, which is roughly $255.