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.
There's an encore to Jelly Bean Build 1. Android Open Kang Project team has announced the availability of the second release named Jelly Bean Build 2 that should be even more impressive that the first.
So what's new? AOKP Jelly Bean Build 2 is based on Android 4.1.1 , build number JRO03L and adds stability improvements, improved functionality and larger supported devices list, that now includes Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy S III for Verizon Wireless and even the venerable Samsung Galaxy S. As a nice bonus for Google Nexus 7 (grouper) owners, 720p video recording is enabled for the front-facing camera.
CyanogenMod 10 is one of the most popular Android 4.1 Jelly Bean custom distributions available today, but keeping up with all the nightly releases can be time consuming, which is why the team behind the project announced the rollout of the M-Series build -- releases of CyanogenMod 10 that will be available at the beginning of every month.
CyanogenMod team wants to offer more stable builds on a timely manner, that is a departure from the ever present CM10 nightly builds that can vary in quality from one release to another. A code freeze was announced, blocking new features and focusing instead on stability that is of utmost importance for a build designed to work for a month and be adequate for daily use. They will still be labeled as "experimental" considering that at their core they still come from nightly builds.
The popular Google Nexus 7 tablet is now available in three new European locations: France, Germany and Spain, for a total of seven. The ASUS-made tablet is available for purchase directly from Google's own Play Store.
Only the currency has changed from the US pricing, with the 8GB Google Nexus 7 selling for EUR199, while the 16GB model will set you back EUR249.
I must preface by clearly stating that I absolutely love my Nexus 7. I recommended it to dozens of people, and fully plan to hand out a few as birthday gifts before the year is over. The tablet is incredibly solid, and worth every penny of the $200 selling price. As far as hardware is concerned, Nexus 7 is remarkable in nearly every aspect.
That said, Google’s approach to Android 4.1 on this device leaves me with a sense of practiced uncertainty and no clue where the tablet fits into the Android ecosystem.
Android Open Kang Project, the team behind the popular custom Android distribution AOKP, has announced the availability of the first Android 4.1 Jelly Bean official build named Jelly Bean Build 1. The number of supported devices is currently limited to the Android smartphones used by the team behind the project, but it has been announced that availability will be extended once "things slow down" and new device maintainers will join the AOKP project.
Although there is no official changelog accompanying the release of the first official AOKP Jelly Bean build, some details are available as to what changes to expect from AOKP Jelly Bean Build 1.
The CyanogenMod team has announced via Google+ the official release of CyanogenMod 10 nightly builds for a limited number of devices. The list includes popular Android smartphones as well as tablets that will now be able to run the latest CyanogenMod, which is based on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean.
The nightly builds are compatible with a select number of Android smartphones and tablets.
We've heard a handful of complaints about Google's Nexus 7 screen dimming and flickering, but they pale in comparison to this story from New York tech industry professional Ed Zitron, who is currently dwelling in Nexus 7 support hell.
I was really excited about the Nexus 7, for just two hundred dollars I could get a device that I could sling in my bag, play with, enjoy mindlessly and then put away --a nicety, a frivolity, something enjoyable and cheap that I wouldn’t worry about.
To understand why Google subsidized the Nexus 7, you have to first understand what makes the tablet market unique from all other forms of personal computing. All personal computing devices fall into three major categories: PC, cellphone, and tablet (with possibilities for more in the future such as “smartglasses”, which Google and others are developing).
The PC market is mature, there have been very few changes since the nineties; functionality has steadily improved and the only big change was the advent of the laptop, which changed the form, although, it didn’t change the two main players: Apple and Microsoft, with Microsoft’s hardware manufacturers also playing an important role. The players in the PC market have changed little (sure HP bought Compaq and IBM sold out to Lenovo). It would take a truly revolutionary product to change anything even though there have been attempts -- the constant presence of Linux, and the recent (relatively) introduction of Chromebooks for example -- none have have managed to have any impact.
When the larger model of the Nexus 7 vanished from the Play store a week ago, it was generally assumed that demand outstripped supply. After all, the tablet has been insanely popular since its launch, and pretty much sold out everywhere. The fact that the 8GB model was still available in the store just suggested that people were more interested in physical memory than cloud storage.
But then the conspiracy theories began to kick in. There had been a lot of complaints about the 16GB model prior to its disappearance, with most focusing on screen issues, which led my colleague Joe Wilcox to question whether the model had been withdrawn for reasons other than just overwhelming popularity. His article certainly struck a nerve and generated some interesting comments, including further complaints about the device. Could he be right? Was there more to the story than Google was telling us?
Ever since the release of the Nexus 7, analysts have wondered what impact, if any, it would have on Android tablets' market share battle with the iPad. The possible release of the iPad Mini, later this year, could throw another wrench into the works. Fortunately, we have already seen an Android vs. Apple battle in the smartphone market. Let's take a look at the parallels we can draw between the smartphone and tablet market and project the possible market share trends in the tablet market.
Before we begin, we need to understand the global smartphone market share trends over the past couple of years. It is important to understand that ever since the iPhone and Android were launched, the market segmented into legacy smartphone platforms (BlackBerry, Symbian & Windows Mobile) and modern smartphone platforms (iOS, Android & Windows Phone).
Over the weekend, Google pulled one of two Nexus 7 models from the Play store, presumably because of demand. The tablet is sold out pretty much everywhere, and had long wait times (3 to 5 weeks) for delivery, so that's not unreasonable supposition. However, a groundswell of user complaints also burst forth over the weekend, and largely directed at the 16GB tablet -- the one Google suddenly stopped selling.
I honed in on the 16GB model after receiving email complaints, seeing others online but having absolutely no problems with the two Nexus 7s in my household. Both are 8GB models, which Google still sells and isn't the brunt-taker of end-user complaints. I got to wondering: Is it coincidence that Google stopped selling the model for which there are end-user complaints?