Google I/O 2012 Day 1 Hardware Round-Up

So that time is here again, no it’s not another Apple event or Microsoft revealing a new Tablet, it’s Google I/O 2012! And boy what goodies they bring with them this time.

Nexus 7

For all you tablet and eBook lovers out there, Google has cooked up something special for you all in the form of a 7″ Jelly Bean welding Tablet. Yes I am talking about the long awaited Google Nexus 7, manufactured by none other than ASUS. Most of us had a good feeling that this wee guy would make his first appearance here and what an appearance it was.

Firstly let’s talk about the specs:

  • 7” 1280 x 800 IPS LCD Display
  • 1.2-megapixel Front Camera
  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L 1.2GHz Quad-core Processor
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth and NFC
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8/16GB of Storage
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 8 Hours Battery Life (4325mAh)

Interestingly enough it seems our friends at Google have decided to leave out 3G/LTE connectivity, meaning you’ll need to have a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby at all times, as well as a distinct lack of a MicroSD slot for storage expansion. On the plus side though, the IPS display panel is expected to have great viewing angles as well as good brightness and contrast, even in a brightly lit room, making it a real winner.

One thing I’d like to point at is that the Nexus 7 does not include a rear facing camera, something I’m ok with. I have found them in the past to be too awkward to use for photos and more often than not opted to use my phone camera instead. The front facing camera will be more than enough for Skype or Google Talk video calls.

Looking at the performance side of things, they have spared nothing but the best here, loading this small tablet with a hard hitting quad-core that puts it up near the big players like the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III.

What about design? Well it’s only 10.45mm thick and weighs only 340g, making it slightly thinner and lighter than the Amazon Fire. And you don’t need to worry about branding as the tablet is of a simplistic design, with only Nexus and ASUS on the back. You’ll find the standard Power and Volume rockers down the right-hand side and Micro-USB and 3.5mm Headphone jack along the bottom.

But what about the price? Will it break the bank with all the top-notch specs? Google doesn’t believe it should have to, and so have priced the device appropriately so. The 8GB model comes in at only $199USD, while the 16GB model is $249USD.

Nexus Q

What is this? Where did it come from? What does it do? Well the Nexus Q is what Google is calling, a “Social Streaming Device” and is the first real implementation of the [email protected] standard revealed last year. With its space-age styling, this is one category-defying device that will grab your attention.

It seems the whole idea behind this device is that you, your friends and your family can use their Android devices to build up a playlist of music or videos. This should make for a nice easy way to fill your house or office with the tunes you love. You can even connect to multiple Nexus Q devices simultaneously and send separate media to each of them individually.

However each Nexus Q will require its own internet connection as none of the media is pulled from the Android devices themselves, but from the cloud instead. Unfortunately this means that if you have just filled your Nexus 7 up with your favourite TV show (all stored offline to save precious bandwidth) to stream and watch, then the Q is going to download them all again, eating your limited bandwidth or a producing poor viewing experience if you have a bad internet connection.

The Nexus Q features a 25 watt amplifier built in for the who like to go analog, otherwise it comes with a range of digital options too. HDMI and Toslink outputs are available on the back of the device. While the top half is split from it and can be used as a volume knob. Between the two halves is a ring of LEDs that glow during playback.

Finally there is the cost, $299USD. Yes for the most part this ball doesn’t do much more than a $99 Apple TV, but time will tell if people are willing to pay the extra for something a little different.

Project Glass

 

Google’s “Project Glass” has been one of the most hyped and anticipated projects to be revealed at Google I/O this year.  Inside this wearable futuristic computer is the usual components you expect from any mobile device today, a “powerful” processer and “loads” of RAM, however no hard details given. Accompanying this is an accelerometer, gyroscope and wireless radios for all your data needs. There is also a mic for voice commands, a speaker and a camera, all of which can be controlled by a touchpad on the side of this wearable device. Even with all these components sitting on one side of the device, Google claims that it is well balanced and even lighter than some sunglasses. The small heads up display doesn’t sit directly in front of your eye and instead is located slightly above your line of vision as to not interfere with everyday life.

Currently there are 3 prototypes on display – a light blue pair, a black pair and of course a white pair – allowing for some personalization. Google hopes that the project will be the next step in its ultimate goal to make information more quickly and readily accessible to the world. One of the key features of the device is the ability to capture images from a first person perspective.

If you were one of the lucky few at I/O and live in the US, then you can actually pre-order an Explorer Edition of the wearable computer for only $1500USD. These devices will be developer focused units and will be shipping early next year, however these will be a bit rough around the edges and not the mass consumer version.

Keep an eye out for more updates on Google I/O from us!

Google’s “Project Glass” – How Sci-Fi could it be?

Trust Google to infuse futuristic touch into your normal life and in a way, to continue dreaming!

Just when you thought Google could not awe you anymore; it is back with yet another never-before-seen gadget to blow your minds. The recently launched Google+ page clearly shows that Google is now gearing up to come up with “Project Glass“, which contains every imaginable Sci-Fi feature in it. These Sci-Fi glasses are said to support augmented reality. The glasses will hopefully be available to the larger public as soon as the Google researchers finish testing them and give the green signal. So, guess it’s time to think out of the box than just be satisfied with your everyday entertainment providers like your headset, MP3 player, tablet and smart phone. 2012 might just turn out to be the year you looked into the future.

While the Glasses have been spotted in the wild on Google’s Sergei Brin, have a look at an interview on the Charlie Rose Show with Sebastian Thrun, Founder and Head of Google X, where he actually takes a photo using the prototype Glasses (check the photo, here).

Let’s have a look at what could be the Pros and Cons:

The Pros

  • The main advantage that could make Google’s ‘Project Glass’ so much better than smart phones is the fact that every possible feature that a smart phone can boast of should be accessible in a hands-free manner in these glasses. All you have to do is put them on and a world of possibilities opens up right in front of your eyes.
  • Also, you can directly connect to any social forum (hopefully not limited to Google’s own) to chat with your friends, listen to your favorite songs, take and make calls, click pictures and much more, while being on the move 24/7.
  • Life just becomes so much easier when you don’t have to fumble around in your purse to search for your smart phone. With this device, your hands are never occupied while operating it.

It would not be early to say that Google is all set to start a  revolution with its ‘Project Glass’!

The Cons

  • Imagine walking into a pole, or falling down a pit while walking around looking at and through your glasses!
  • The gadget could comprise a horizontal glass frame which is supposed to snuggly sit on the top of the user’s nose. The right side possesses a wider strip of what looks like a computerized projector. While this not so traditional take on everyday glasses might sound high-class, the framework and the entire look of this device may raise some eyebrows from those who are fashion-conscious. A whole video describing the look of these project glasses can be found in the Google+ page itself.

Google researchers have mentioned their eagerness to make it as user-friendly as possible. Thus, they have requested all the viewers to give their different opinions regarding their latest creation.

It would be interesting to see the people’s reactions towards the not-so-attractive overall look of Google’s Sci-Fi glasses.

If you enjoy the virtual world more than reality, then these project glass should have the power to make all your dreams come true. These glasses are by far the most advanced and ambitious project that Google has come up with.

Images Courtesy: Project Glass Google+ Page