Amid the flurry of new devices quietly launched recently, Google released a new Nexus accessory - a folio case for the Nexus 7 (2013). Despite my varied experiences with Nexus accessories, I'm always eager to see what Google thinks will work best with their devices. I'm particularly interested in tablet accessories. Tablets are meant to be super portable and usable anywhere, so making an accessory that retains the appeal of the device's form factor while also adding some utility is an interesting challenge.
To wrap up the year, TIME's been working on a "Top Ten of Everything 2013" series, listing off the top ten items in various categories from Pop Culture and Social Media to, of course, tech gadgets. In that category, TIME listed things like the LEAP Motion controller, Oculus Rift Developer's Kit, and new iPads, but they awarded the top spot to Google's plucky Chromecast dongle.
The piece, published Tuesday and shared by Larry Page on Google+ this evening, lauds the Chromecast's focus - it essentially only does one thing but does it so well, makes it so easy, and costs so little, that picking one up is really hard to resist.
Enchanted by the bright yellow bumper case for the Nexus 5 earlier today (by the way, how great is it that finally a Nexus device at least had proof, on launch day, that accessories were coming?) but not planning on picking up the new phone? Don't worry - Google's expanded the lineup of sleeve cases available for the Nexus 7 (2013, though the 2012 edition will fit too) today, adding a "grey/white" version and a bright yellow version to the mix.
The recently refreshed ASUS Nexus 7 is now available directly from Google's Play Store in Europe in France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and UK as well as in Asia in Japan. Both 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi-only variants are being offered - we're still counting down days till the launch of the LTE version.
The 5 new countries join the 2 existing ones (U.S. and Canada) for a grand total of 7.
I like tablets, and I love tablet apps. Don’t take that the wrong way - I love my Nexus 4, and I use it constantly, but there’s something different about tablets. A large, beautiful screen filled by an app that really shows off the functionality that comes with Android's design language is a great experience. Make that tablet super portable, fast, and priced right, and you’ve got my heart.
Okay, maybe that’s not all it takes for a tablet to win my heart.
Just like last year, the Google I/O app's source code has been released in an effort to get developers acquainted with Android best practices.
In a post to Google+ today, the Android Developers page outlined some of the things the source code has in store for those curious. Among them are techniques to implement responsive design across phones and tablets, use content providers and implicit intents in app navigation, using sync adapters to provide new content "in a battery-friendly way" and loads more.
Update: Director of Product Management for Google Wallet Peter Hazlehurst dropped by our comments section below to confirm that Wallet is not compatible with the new Nexus 7 for the same reason as the HTC One Play Edition – the device does not carry a secure element, the small bit of hardware required to store encrypted card credentials on a device. This is required in order for Wallet to function, well, securely.
Prospective second-gen Nexus 7 buyers, you've got one more option for when the Play Store is (probably) overwhelmed on July 30th. Staple has already posted pages for the 16GB and 32GB WiFi versions of the new Nexus 7, though of course you can't buy one just yet - they're both marked as out of stock. Staples was one of 11 retail partners mentioned in the Google announcement. The prices are the standard $229.99 and $269.99, respectively.