In what seems to be a fairly arbitrary move, Google has trimmed the fat from the Play Store's Nexus 7 cover selection. The lineup, which formerly included pink, light blue, and gray, has been cut down to just the light blue color in the US, with the pink cover variant appearing outside the US. The gray cover has been axed completely.
It's been over four months since Google officially announced Android 4.2 and slightly less time since the initial round of new Nexus devices running it went up for order. Much like the gunshot that kicks off the 100-meter tortoise race, that launch signaled the silent contest to see which manufacturer could get out a non-Nexus update first. Today, we have our winner: ASUS, with a shiny new version of Jelly Bean for the Transformer Pad (TF300T).
Yesterday, we attended a press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where we were treated not only to the unveiling of ASUS' new Padfone Infinity and aptly-named Fonepad 7" tablet phone (with which we later got some hands-on time), but also to the dazzling (ly awkward and hilarious) antics of a "tech illusionist," and plenty of other awkward moments.
We were able to share a pretty detailed account of the event, along with a short video, but those who want to see the full unveiling from start to finish can now do so, thanks to ASUS' own YouTube channel.
At an afternoon press conference across the street from MWC 2013's enormous venue, ASUS has just wrapped a (hilarious) press conference that saw the introduction of two new devices (or three?) – the Padfone Infinity and the Fonepad. Before we dive in for hands-on, let's take a quick look at the specs and pricing for the devices.
Jonney Shih with the Padfone Infinity
The Padfone Infinity is the tablet/phone combination we were expecting from ASUS today.
After months of speculation, pre-orders, and cameo appearances, it's finally here (kind of) – one of the precious few official Nexus accessories users have ever been able to purchase: the Nexus 7 Dock. After snapping one up when they appeared at B&H, I was one of the unlucky handful to receive a "we regret to inform you" email, noting that the dock was not, in fact, available yet.
Less than a month after its last firmware update (to build 10.4.9.6), ASUS' Padfone 2 is getting another incremental bump. The Padfone 2, which we know as the turducken of the mobile world, already got Jelly Bean 4.1.1 in December, so updates hence have naturally focused on the usual performance, stability, and other enhancements. Today's update to build 10.4.11.13 brings, among other things, new camera firmware, improved navigation, and a handful of optimizations.
It's that time again, Transformer Pad Infinity owners! The latest incremental update to Android 4.1 is out and ready to flash for US, Japan, China, and Taiwan models, and the international version to boot. You can check your Settings menu for the over-the-air download, or head over to the ASUS download page if you're not seeing it immediately.
So what's new? A few bugs for the camera, Mio map, and movie studio app are fixed, and compatibility with newer MicroSD cards is enhanced.
ASUS, in a bid to sell to "several emerging markets," has just announced the MeMO Pad – a seven-inch tablet sporting ASUS' nearly-stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience, a 1GHz VIA CPU (with Mali-400 GPU), a 1024x600 display, 1GB RAM, and up to 16GB internal storage with a refreshing microSD slot available for expansion.
Just like the Nexus 7, the MeMO pad just offers a front-facing camera, though it's a 1MP shooter with a back-illuminated sensor.
Okay, so the Google TV world has been a little stagnant lately. Alright, a lot stagnant. But! This is CES! There are plenty of new devices and gadgets and stuff to play with. While LG is on the other side of the show floor showing of its Google TVs (that is, TVs running Google TV), ASUS would like to introduce you to its Google TV box (that is, a box that runs Google TV that plugs into a TV...TV TV TV Google Google TV Google).
The folks at eBay must love the Nexus 7 as much as we do, because it's been on their Daily Deals page several times now. Today you get another chance to pick up the larger 32GB model of everyone's favorite 7-inch tablet: the Daily Deal is selling it for $228, with free shipping. That's $22 off the retail price, and considerably more if you live in a US state where eBay doesn't have to charge taxes.