Two days ago was Day 1 of Google’s developer conference which is similar to Apple’s WWDC(worldwide developers’ conference). Google calls it Google IO. Ironically, Google IO takes place in Moscone Center in California, USA(the same place as WWDC). In case if you missed it, here is the roundup of the different things that were announced. Let’s start off with the Android announcements. First of all, Google announced Android 4.1(AKA Jelly Bean).
Starting off with the home screen, all of the widgets will be dynamically resized, so you no longer have to place it, resize it then move it to where you want if there isn’t enough room. If your app icons are merely in the way, the widget will automatically push them to the side. In addition to that apps and widgets can be removed by flicking them off the screen.
To add to the home screen stuff, you have offline voice input. Let’s say that you are on an airplane or somewhere that does not have any network coverage. You can dictate a message or a note without having to connection to the internet over Wi-Fi or 3G.
The camera app also had an improvement as well. Starting off with your image gallery, all you have to do is swipe to the left to take a look at the photo you just took. You can either continue swiping to view your images or pinch to zoom out and view all your images in the form of a film strip. By swiping a photo off the screen, you will be able to delete it. however, if you do delete something by accident, then you can get it back by hitting undo.
There has also been a big update to the notifications system. Alerts Automatically expand and shrink as they roll in, and canned responses are even integrated. When an MMS pops up you get a preview of the image and can even view full size without leaving the notification area. You can even +1 Google+ notifications and images from same UI.
The search system and Google Now have both been revamped. The new design takes queues from the recently updated Google+, with large cards for results that you can swipe away. If you have opted in to have Google log your search history and other things you have done within Google, then you will be able to have your results personalised to match the data that it has collected. Google Now has been updated so that it will know when the next bus will be is going to come or how long it will take to get to the airport. If you have appointments in calendar, then Google Now will also tell you when you need to leave so that you can make your appointment on time.
Best of all, Jelly Bean will improve the performance of your android device.
Jelly Bean will be rolling out in Mid-July to to the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and XOOM devices. If you are the developer, then you can start using the SDK right now!.
So that’s the software, what about the hardware? Well, we had a new device announced called the Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet. It will have Google Chrome as the default browser. So here are the specs:
- A 7″, 1280×800 HD screen at 216 pixels per inch
- 1.2MP front-facing camera
- 16 GB internal storage
- 1 GB RAM
- 8 hours of battery life
- Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- A micro-USB port
- And some other features you might expect, like microphone, NFC (“Android Beam”), accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer and gyroscope.
Up next, was the Galaxy Nexus Q. It has similar functionality to the Apple TV or Roku media streamers. Essentially, it allows you to stream media to speakers and TVs around your home. It will cost about $300(£194) and will be available from mid-July onwards.
Alongside all the hardware, was a new feature of Google + called Events. You can use it as a way to manage different events such as a dinner meeting with your friends. When you invite someone, you can choose to invite entire circles or individual people or even people who are not on Google +. When you receive an invite, it looks really cool. If you want to know more, then I have left a video below. By the way, I should mention that the Google plus app has been updated for tablets. You can download the new version of the app right now for your Android tablet. The iPad version of the app will be coming soon.
And now, the real star of the show because of the awesome demo: Project Glass! Yes, it was finally unveiled by way of a group video call on Google+(AKA a Hangout). Sergey Brin interrupted proceedings to show off Google Glasses. And what better way to do it than to have some people skydiving from a plane and landing on top of the roof of Moscone Center. The skydivers handed over to some bikers which then handed over to some people who rappelled down the side of the center. Google glasses will be available soon and will cost $1500(£968) and will be available early next year. However, if you live in the US and attended the keynote speech that day, then you can pre-order a pair right now. To see what G0ogle glasses can do, you can re-live the entire stunt by watching the video below.
So that’s pretty much what happened during day one of Google IO. I was really excited about the Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet. It really looks like a Kindle Fire killer. Especially with Jelly Bean on the device, this tablet is going to scream with awesomeness. I am not that keen on the Nexus Q because of the high price for a round media streamer when something like the WD TV live, Boxee or Apple TV could do the same thing. That being said, I really enjoyed watching the Skydivers holding a Google+ hangout on air.