Some advice to Google: If you launch exciting new products right before the holidays, it's a good idea to have them to sell. Not only are new Nexus devices sold out, so are new Chromebooks. Worse, they're not available in stores that stock them. Ah, yeah, what a brilliant way to push a new product category to the masses: Look, but you can't buy.
The new $199 Acer and $249 Samsung Chromebooks are on display in 500 Best Buys, and Google staffs sales specialists, who are there during store hours and are contracted through the end of the year. But the search and information giant can't stock Chromebooks. Like Amazon and Google Play, the Samsung Chromebook is sold out (the new Acer model is still available from Google today but not yet stocked by Amazon). Units coming into Best Buy are generally already claimed from online orders. Even the few returns, available as open-box purchases, sell within a couple hours. Google pays sales staff to educate potential buyers, who leave stores empty-handed.
Android Open Source Project Technical Lead Jean-Baptiste Queru announced that Google is pushing the Android 4.2 source code to AOSP, after the company released the second Jelly Bean-branded operating system today. To complement Android 4.2 the Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation also uploaded the factory images for a number of Nexus devices.
The Android 4.2 source code will be available under the "android-4.2_r1" name, with the matching development branch named "jb-mr1-dev". Interestingly enough Queru says that the Nexus 10 is the best choice for AOSP work on the latest version of Android, which he considers the most open flagship device. But the Nexus 7 with 3G connectivity is not supported at the moment because of the GSM stack that is not yet licensed for the Android Open Source Project.
Today Google launches Android 4.2 alongside the new Nexus lineup. Galaxy Nexus as well as Nexus 7 owners that have the ability to run apps with elevated privileges are faced with a dilemma on whether to upgrade or not. Fear not, you can still root your Nexus using the latest version of Android.
The advantages of rooting are nothing to sneeze at. I run apps with elevated privileges more than a few times a day and I had to get the root capabilities up and running after upgrading to Android 4.2. The process is fairly straightforward and should not pose any difficulty even to less experienced users. I do have to mention that this guide can apply to the Nexus 4 and 10 as well, after developers release the compatible tools.
The wait is finally over! Google launches Android 4.2 Jelly Bean today alongside the new Nexus lineup with a treat in store for current Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 owners as well. The latest version of Android is rolling out over the air (OTA) for the year-old smartphone, with a manual update available for the ASUS-made tablet as well.
The Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OTA update, build number JOP40C, is available for the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ sold via Google Play (codename "takju"). The point oner comes in at a rather small 74.3MB and, besides the announced improvements, at a first glance the update delivers a new baseband (I9250XXLH1 from the previous I9250XXLF1) and kernel (dated November 2) as well.
Today Google released Android 4.2 and new devices -- Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 -- running the software. The Nexuses (Should I say Nexi?) are available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and United States. Unconfirmed user reports on blogs and social networks claim sell-outs in Asia-Pacific and Europe. Sales in North America commence at 9 am PT, from Google Play, representatives confirm.
LG makes the 4.7-inch smartphone and Samsung the 10.1-inch tablet, which join the ASUS-manufactured Nexus 7. The cloud services company announced the new products on October 29.
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.