Project Glass is finally venturing outside Google employees. The glasses will cost $1500 and unfortunately are only available to Google IO attendees that are also US residents. Pre-orders begin soon for a release in 2013, but are being built as a really early developer/enthusiast device. Translation, they’ll be buggy, expensive and have limited functionality. Project Glass is the best chance we’ve seen for wearable technology to actually take off.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is the next release of Google’s mobile OS. The sub-point released surprised many of us who were expecting a bigger, full point release. There are however many new interesting features coming to Jelly Bean Android devices.
Coming in the next release is a revised, more functional notification center. These application and OS notifications can now provide basic interactions like replying to a call, text, email or even liking a Facebook post, without launching the app. This will speed up time and the visual overhaul is a welcome change.
Google spent a lot of time discussing their new buttery smooth animations and reactions to touch gestures. Android users have tolerated some delays in scrolling and application interactions but those days are numbered. Its great to see Google focus on this area, but managed to make ICS look like a slow pile of crap in the process.. oh well, its only 7% anyway.
Google NOW is a card system that presents what Google thinks is the relevant info at any time. Walk into the movies and out comes your ticket card, sit down at a restaurant and a card will let you know what the top meals are. This kind of convenience is great, on the proviso that it accurately guesses what you want. If not, it’ll be just as frustrating as an incorrect voice dictation.
Read more about the upcoming Jelly Bean features at http://developer.android.com/about/versions/jelly-bean.html
Nexus Q is a an home media device that sits somewhere between a Boxee Box and a SONOS system. The small sphere shaped devices contains an amplifier to pump audio to your home audio system, but strangely lacks support for a sub. The ball houses some pretty fancy technology, first off its touch enabled, just tap it to mute or rotate the top half to change the volume. Alternatively you can tap your Android-powered phone or tablet to get the Nexus Q controller software and operate it via WiFi.
Nexus 7 is the latest in a line of Nexus branded devices from the Google mothership. While the US will see it for $199, Aussies will fork out $249 for the device. It’s a new reference design that shows other manufacturers how Jelly Bean can work on a tablet form factor. Personally I’m yet to be convinced that a 7” device has a serious place in the device lineup. It often seems the mythical 7 inches of glass is more about filling a gap between 4.5” phones and 10” tablets rather than a serious demand from consumers. If I’m wrong and you care about 7” specs, then you can see them here.
Google+ Events are now competing head to head with Facebook events. Full credit to Google here, this isn’t a direct copy, they have iterated on events with gorgeous themes. Selecting from a decent offering of animated themes gives events a clear goal, take my example snow trip, it really does frame the occasion. There’s also some smarts built into events for Android users who attend events. Photos that you take at the event can automatically be posted to the event wall. This is fast, simple and a great new feature assuming the user feels in control the whole time.