If you did not have time to watch the Google I/O keynote, nor the time to read through the myriads of news that every tech site and many others posted about the devices and technologies introduced during the keynote, then this short to the point overview of what happened may be to get you on a par with people who did spend the time.
First up is Google Glass, Google's glasses with extras technology that has been making the rounds even before the keynote day. It basically consists of a pair of glasses that you can interact with. Unlike regular glasses, Google's device ships with a small screen that is displayed on the right side. According to journalists who had the chance to use the device, the glasses feel very light, and the contents on the screen are outside the normal field of view.
As far as things go that you can do with the device right now, it appears limited to photo and video taking, and maybe a few other features that were not revealed yet. Hardware spec-wise Google revealed that the glasses make use of an accelerometer and gyroscope, and that controlling the glasses will actually be a mixture of voice commands and using the big - rather bulky - touchpad area at the front.
Google Glass remains a prototype throughout 2012 and probably 2013. Developers interested in the device can get their hands on a prototype in 2013 for $1500, with the first consumer versions expected to arrive at the end of 2013 or even 2014 at a lower price point.
My take: For now, it is more of a play-thing than something that you can really work with. It is however likely that we will eventually see some professional uses for Google Glasses, like connectivity between the glasses and a smartphone to display notifications right on the glass. For now, it is science fiction, and it will stay that way for the next one or two years. It shows promise, but Google did not reveal enough to come to a conclusion right now.
When you look at the current tablet market you will notice that it is dominated by Apple's iPad, and that only Amazon managed to push out a solid number of Kindle Fire devices. With Microsoft preparing the tablet-friendly Windows 8, Google had to do something. The Google Nexus tablet is a 7-inch tablet that is powered by a quad-core processor and Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system that was revealed yesterday to the public.
Probably the most interesting aspect of the tablet is its price, which is starting at $199, and will cost $249 for the 16 Gigabyte storage version. A 7-inch tablet at $199, does that remind you of something? Right, Amazon's Kindle Fire. Google's tablet therefore competes with Amazon's Android tablet, and not Apple's iPad (which has a larger screen and a higher price).
And just like Amazon, Google's trying to get users to spend money at the company's Google Play store. For that, Nexus owners get $25 in store credit and free media (magazines, a book and a movie) on top of their purchase.
The specs and price are definitely the strong selling point of the device. It too, unwillingly or not, puts lots of pressure on other manufacturers of Android tablets, as they now have to compete with a well-priced high performance system. We will have to wait to see how this one performs.
The Nexus tablet is already available for pre-order on Google Play, but unfortunately only for people from select countries. I received a message that Devices on Google Play is not available in my country yet.
My take: Great price, great device. Will put lots of pressure on other manufacturers, not so much on Apple or Microsoft (with its Surface tablet) as both cater to a different audience.
This is without doubt the strangest device that Google showcased, and the one thing that most sites concentrated on is that it is made in the US. Google calls the device a social streaming media player. It is capable of streaming media from the cloud, represented by a Google Android phone or tablet, to a television. The social options seem rather weak at this point, with Google pointing out that you and your friends - provided they too have an Android device - can create social playlists while connected to Wi-Fi that the Nexus Q is connected to as well.
To best understand how this device is working, I'd suggest you take a look at the following video introducing the Nexus Q.
My take: The price destroys the device. Sorry to be that blunt but there are cheaper solutions available. Even Google TV, or Apple TV for that matter, are viable alternatives. Sure, you do not get the social interaction, but to be honest, who really needs that anyway?
Lots of new devices, all either not available right now or country-locked. The Nexus 7 tablet will likely make an impact on the tablet scene. The Nexus Q is too expensive and will likely bomb unless Google has an ace up its sleeve in terms of functionality or features. And the glasses, well, they won't be available for a year or two.
What's your take on what Google has shown so far?Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.