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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Google Nexus 7 Tablet Set To Take on Apple, Amazon

Google has finally took the wraps off its first tablet computer on Wednesday. The "Nexus 7" tablet runs on 4.1 "Jelly Bean" version of Google's software and will retail for $199.

The company also announced enhancements to Google+ and Nexus Q, a smart device that can wirelessly stream music and video at home controlled by an Android device. Last but not least, Google also started selling prototypes of its experimental augmented reality glasses (Project Glass) to people attending its annual conference in San Francisco.

Looking to replicate its smartphone success in the tablet market, where the company will face the tough competition from Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, Google developed with Asus the 7-inch tablet, available on the Google Play website and apps store from around mid-July.

Nexus 7 features a 1280x800 HD display and it is powered by the Nvidia Tegra-3 chipset, with a quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU. The device weighs just 340 grams, lighter than most tablets out there. It also comes with a front-facing camera, Chrome browser and Gmail.

Nexus 7 also comes preloaded with some entertainment, including the movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the book "The Bourne Dominion," magazines like Conde Nast Traveler and Popular Science, and songs from bands like Coldplay and the Rolling Stones. Google also included a $25 credit for users to purchase movies, books and more from Google Play, for a limited time. Nexus 7 is available for preorder today from Google Play in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

The Nexus will also feature the new 4.1 "Jelly Bean" version of Google's software, which delivers faster performance, according to the company. For example, notifications are now more dynamic: "if you're late for a meeting or missed a call, you can email or call directly from notifications," Google said. The keyboard is also smarter and more accurate, and can predict a user's next word. And voice typing is also faster, working even when users don't have a data connection.

Google has also redesigned search from the ground up in Jelly Bean, with a new user interface and faster, more natural Voice Search. Users can type their query or simply ask Google a question. Google can speak back to users, delivering an answer, powered by the Knowledge Graph, if it knows one, in addition to a list of search results.

"Today's smart devices still rely on you to do pretty much everything - that is, until now," said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content at Google. "Google Now is a new feature that gets you just the right information at just the right time. It tells you today?s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, or your favorite team's score as they're playing. There?s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most," he added.

Starting in mid-July, Google will start rolling out over-the-air updates to Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and Nexus S, and will also release Jelly Bean to open source.

At $199, the Google's Nexus 7 tablet takes aim initially at the Kindle model, which analysts consider a window into Amazon.com's trove of online content.

Google also unveiled today Nexus Q: A sphere that combines the power of Android and Google Play to easily stream music and video at home - all controlled by an Android phone or tablet. Designed and engineered by Google, Nexus Q is a small sphere that plugs into speakers and TVs. It's the first-ever social streaming device - like a cloud - connected jukebox where everyone brings their own music to the party. Available first in the U.S., it can be preordered today from Google Play for $299, and it will ship mid-July.

Google also talked about Google+, saying that more than 250 million people have upgraded the social network. The company is rolling out two major updates: Google+ for tablets, and Google+ Events.

Back in May Google introduced new versions of Google+ for Android and iOS phones. The new Google+ app for tablets includes:

- A stream that styles content based on popularity, type and orientation

- A "lean back" Hangouts experience that's great for the couch or common room

- Crisper text, fuller photos and easily-tappable actions like +1 and comment

The Android app is rolling out to phones and tablets later today (v3.0), and the iPad update is coming soon, Google said.

Google+ Events allows Google+ users to send personalized invitations to their friends that in clude cinemagraphic themes as well as video greetings from YouTube and animations.

Google+ events also appear in Google Calendar automatically, and guests' updates arrive instantly in the stream.

Another feature of Google+ events is the Party Mode. Once enabled on a mobile device, all of the new photos taken in an event get added to the event in real-time. And as more guests turn on Party Mode, more pictures will instantly appear to fellow invitees. Google has also added a "live slideshow" that can be projected by users during the event.

With Google+ Events users can also relive a party whenever they want, with a captivating set of photos. By visiting their event pages after it?s over, users will see everyone's pictures and comments in chronological order. Photos can be browsed by popularity, photographer or photo tag with a few clicks.

Project Glass prototypes On sale

Google is also selling prototypes of its Internet-connected glasses known as Project Glass to people attending its annual conference in San Francisco.

Priced at $1,500, the glasses are expected to be widely available at a loer price in early 2014.

With the glasses, directions to your destination or a text message from a friend can appear before your eyes. You can converse with friends in a video chat, take a photo or even buy a few things online as you walk around.

Google created the glasses for people to interact with the virtual world without distracting them from the physical world, according to Isabelle Olsson, an engineer on the Glass project. She added Google had two broad goals in mind: communications through images and quick access to information. The device has also a camera to capture fleeting moments and allow others to see the world through your eyes.

Google Nexus 7 specs

- 7" 1280x800 HD display (216 ppi)
- Back-lit IPS display
- Scratch-resistant Corning glass
- 1.2MP front-facing camera

WEIGHT: 340 grams

- 8 or 16 GB internal storage
- 1 GB RAM

BATTERY: 4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)
CPU: Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
SIZE: 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm

- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth

USB: Micro USB
OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

- Microphone
- NFC (Android Beam)
- Accelerometer
- Magnetometer
- Gyroscope

Google Q specs

- Diameter: 4.6 inches (116mm)
- Weight: 2 pounds (923 grams)
- Die-cast, precision machined zinc bottom housing
- Injection-molded, interactive balanced top dome with precision bearing and satin touch coating

- Rotating top dome volume control
- Capacitive touch sensor for mute

- 32 RGB perimeter LEDs
- 1 RGB LED for mute indicator

CPU: OMAP4460 (dual ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs and SGX540 GPU)

- 16GB NAND flash memory

OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

- Google Play Music
- Google Play Movies and TV

- Micro HDMI (Type D)
- TOSLink Optical audio (S/PDIF)
- 10/100BASE-T Ethernet (RJ45)
- Micro AB USB (for service and support)
- Banana jack speaker outputs

- Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth

AMPLIFIER: 25W class D (12.5 watt per channel)

- Integrated 35W switching power supply
- World-ready 50/60Hz 85-265V AC input
- Automatic shutdown for audio amp supply when not in use

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