So today was the first day of Google’s I/O developer conference and the biggest news was something I predicted would happen (So Yeah Me) Google co-founder Sergey Brin showed off Google Glasses with an X Games exhibition of a sky dive,then BMX race into the convention center.
Maybe because I was fighting with a power chord or I was enjoying the Twitter commentary but I wasn’t floored by Glasses, as Brin’s team called them. Don’t get me wrong the idea is straight out of science fiction, but its also something we have (albeit in far clunkier forms). I think it was because the way they talked about how the glasses would revolutionize our lives was lazy; take a picture without having to hold a phone or camera (First world problems). Now from the presentation, the Google Glasses camera was clear and crisp. We weren’t treated to any extras like heads up information; the presentation was about showing the technology and to have people to sign up for the prototype (priced around $1,500 and only for attending developers and press). I suspect we will see a lot of hacks when the prototypes hit this Fall.
(I’m sorry they are cool in concept, but you now these things will be used for porn or world domination)
Now as follows tradition, today was all about Android. While Google talked about Jelly Bean (Android 4.1); they also introduced Android 3.2 an update to the tablet OS version Honeycomb. Android 3.2 brings multitasking and other feature put into 4.0 to devices running the Honeycomb OS. As expected updates came for Google Maps (offline support) and Google Earth. Google Play is coming to Google TV. Google introduced Google Now (think Bing Live Scout and Siri) and talked up the uncomforting fact that you won’t need to tell Google who’s your favorite team is because it knows from your search history.
Google Play played a large part in the presentation, especially as Google set up its ecosystem story. See before Sergey “crashed” the party, the big news was about the Nexus 7 and Q. The Nexus 7 is a seven inch tablet built by Asus and running Android 4.1 and as Google said built to showcase Google Play. The Nexus Q is a black sphere almost like the one in Gantz and is basically a Google media player somewhat like the Apple TV.
Both Nexus devices are interesting because they usher in the end of the prelude before the Fall’s big ecosystem battle; the one where Apple, Google, and Microsoft will formally be going after each other in mobile Google, like Microsoft, is now pushing a branded product. The difference is in the Nexus 7 they partnered with Asus on a tablet that in look and function is clearly aimed at Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Google spent time really going into the Nexus’s consumption skills; including the introduction of magazines to the Play store.
Looking at the tablet my first reaction was it was the Fire but it a better UI. From the pictures Asus basically made the Fire’s and Nook’s love child; rectangular like the Fire, but with the Nook Touch’s rubberized material. And at a price under the Fire, it’s an attractive offer. The Nexus Q is basically a hub for content off of Google Play and can only be used with Android devices.
To be honest today’s keynote was about stating Androids bone fides; with over 10 million activations it is the Windows of mobile. I really like what the User Experience team has done with the OS and its tempting (more so it illustrates the need for Microsoft to expand developers notions of Metro beyond the brightly colored square). I can’t help but feel that the Nexus 7 is about discouraging forking of the Android platform. There was news about software upgrades, with three phones eligible for upgrades to 4.1. So as with Apple, Google marches steady on.
And as always the link Nexus
Note: if you want to purchase the Nexus 7 you have to be in the US