In the Google I/O 2012 just commenced, Google announced quite some new projects and products that have long been expected. As someone who strongly believe in cloud-living, I am particularly interested in software and hardware developments that bring people closer to the cloud. Here are a few new things I observed:
Google Nexus 7 Tablet
There have been rumors about Google’s own branded tablet, and now it comes true. This 7-inch device is seen by many as a strong Kindle Fire competitor, not only because of the same price tag ($199), but also its capability to handle content streaming from Google Play. Buyers can get a $25 Google Play credit (as a temporary incentive though) to purchase content from Google Play store, including songs, movies, TV shows, magazines and books.
I always believe that in the future mobile devices should have small local storage but great streaming power. Instead of storing everything offline, we could download contents and run apps by accessing the cloud. The Chrome browser + web apps combination has been a (quite) successful demonstration. Obviously Google is aware of the huge demand for streaming content, probably due to the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, so besides making a great budget tablet, Google also makes Nexus 7 a nice device for retrieving content from the internet.
Interested parties could pre-order a Nexus tablet now, however it is limited to some countries only.
Google Nexus Q
As an Apple TV user, I know how great it is to easily bring content to the TV via set-top boxes. Google Nexus Q, a streaming device in the shape of a globe, can do basically what an Apple TV do but in the Android way. Same as the Airplay technology by Apple which streams media from iOS devices and Mac (by OS X Mountain Lion), Nexus Q can stream media from Android devices to the TV. It also streams media from the cloud to your TV. It was said that Google has content partnerships with Disney, ABC, NBC and Sony.
However, the $299 price tag makes Nexus Q not very attractive compared to Apple TV. Yes, I know the high price is partly due to the fact that the whole Nexus Q ball is manufactured in USA. Besides, Nexus Q has a 25 watt amplifier built-in. Would customers be willing to pay more for these?
Another thing to note is that, according to Chrome Story, Chrome for Android will be the default web browser for Nexus 7, and it is also possible that it would be the default browser for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It that’s true, then the seamless synchronization across all Chrome browsers would make life much easier.
We should also expect to see something different in the new Chrome 20 just released. As I introduced earlier, Google told us that Chrome 20 is many about security fixes. Is it true? CNET has a forecast that there may be big announcements about Chrome and the web on Day 2 of Google I/O.