Google Now is a feature we've been eagerly anticipating for what seems like forever now. In fact, we've been seeing hints at something like it since 2010. When Apple announced Siri last year, an official counterpart from Google became not only inevitable, but necessary - iOS' speech service provided direct Apple competition to Google's mobile search engine. Today, in one of the most notable announcements at I/O, the Big G made official its answer to Siri: the aforementioned Google Now.
One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible.
We've been hearing things about Google Glass, the Google-powered eyeball accessory, for a while now. While the device isn't quite ready for consumers (and won't be for a while), we got an extensive look at what these devices can do... right after Google-hired stuntmen jumped out of an airplane while on a Glass-based Hangout, then proceeded to bike across rooftops, rappel down the side of the Moscone Conference Center, and finally bike into the I/O keynote to deliver the device on stage to Sergey Brin.
Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering.
"Android has always put you in control when it comes to staying notified and connected. Now you can take action directly from the notifications shade," says Android's updated "What's New" page. Indeed, today's Jelly Bean announcement saw a number of improvements to the already handy notification system we've come to know and love in previous iterations of Android. Not only can the new notifications system display larger, richer notifications, developers can create actionable notification with interactive controls for telephony, music, and more.
We heard about it earlier, and now it's official. The Nexus Q is a streaming media player that is designed to centralize your media streaming in the living room. The device connects to Google Music and allows both you and your friends to add media and rearrange playlists as they feed directly to your home theater. The device will launch for $300 on the Play Store.
The device includes support for optical audio out, as well as micro HDMI video and audio.
We've been hearing about waiting for Google's first tablet, the Nexus 7, to become official for what seems like an eternity. Google just made the official announcement (finally!) - here's everything we know so far:
7" 1280x800 IPS display
Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
Super thin and light: only 340 Grams
Wi-FI, Bluetooth, NFC
4325mAh battery - 9 hours of video playback, 300 hours of standby time
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Along with ASUS, Google designed the Nexus 7 with Google Play in mind.
Over at Google I/O, the news about Android 4.1 - a.k.a. Jelly Bean, if you haven't heard - just broke.
Update: check out the Jelly Bean video:
The first announcement was Project Butter, a new processing framework for Android that should make it run much, much faster - up to 60fps, in fact. The CPU and graphics will now work together in harmony, with the latter being triple-buffered, meaning things like scrolling and transitions should be noticeably faster.
You thought that the liveblog was the only place news was happening? You thought wrong! Google has quietly updated the Play Store listing for the Galaxy Nexus GSM with a new, slightly lower price: $349. Remember, this is unlocked, off-contract pricing. The new listing page also shows the device running Jelly Bean which Google has promised will come to the Galaxy Nexus by mid July.
The Galaxy Nexus is still one of the best Android devices on the market right now.