Hugo Barra, director of product management of Google, unveils Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference. (Photo : REUTERS/Stephen Lam)
Google's annual developer's conference, Google I/O, follows on the heels of big announcements by both Apple and Microsoft. With Apple coming out with a new operating system and a new line of computers, and Microsoft unveiling their phone and tablet agenda, Google needed something big to keep pace with two tech giants. So far, based on the first day, Google has done a good job, and might have taken the crown of best keynote presentation from Apple.
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Here's a look at the major announcements from the first day:
Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean"
The new operating system will not be a major overhaul worthy of a "5.0" tag, but will instead offer improvements and some additional features. The new Android will feature "Project Butter" designed to make it run extremely smoothly and fast. Comparisons to the current Android version show Jelly Bean to be far superior.
Text and voice-activated input will also be upgraded, as will camera features, and notifications. Also, a new technology named Android Beam will allow users to share videos with other NFC devices with just a tap.
Google Nexus 7
Google is trying to shake up the tablet market with their latest offering, the Google Nexus 7. The tablet will be produced in partnership with Asus, and will be priced at an attractive $199 for the 8 GB model and $249 for the 16 GB model. While it may not compete with the iPad, it looks like Google has their sights on the budget tablet market (think Amazon Kindle Fire).
Google Nexus Q
Google calls this one "The first social streaming media player." A futuristic black sphere, the Nexus Q can stream videos from Google Play, Youtube, HD movies, and music to your entertainment system around your house. It can be controlled by any device running Android 2.3 or higher, allowing everyone to be a DJ.
And last but not least, Google's augmented reality glasses. First unveiled in April, Google officially presented them to the crowd with skydiving, cycling, and rappelling. They will be sold to developers for $1500, and consumers should get their hands on a cheaper version by 2014 if everything goes according to plan. For more details, see here.