Google I/O, day one: Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”, Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q media player, and more

For complete news of today’s events, visit the Google I/O 2012 page.

Today was the first day of Google I/O 2012, and with it came some awesome news. There’s the new Nexus 7 tablet, the quirky and expensive Nexus Q, and of course, the new Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” operating system that powers everything. Let’s take a look at the things that have been announced today.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Android 4.1 is awesomely impressive. It features even smoother animations, the Amazing Google Now, and an all-redesigned notifications window. These new notifications allow for quick interaction with apps without ever leaving the window, and let you do things like read emails, call and text back, and share photos.

Google Now, Google’s new Siri competitor, is also just as impressive (if not more). It allows for super-quick voice searching and is amazingly accurate. Its voice is also much improved over Siri, and it allows for even more phrases and queries.

And, on the device side of things, Google now has a so-called “PDK” that lets manufacturers give feedback to Google while the next version is still in development. It also allows manufacturers to get new versions of Android on their devices even quicker.

400 million activations

Also announced at I/O, Android has had over 400 million activations. Even more impressive, however, is that they’re getting over one million activations a day. That’s almost 12 activations a second! Although this is only a brief part of each keynote, it’s definitely one of the most impressive.

Nexus 7

If you’ve been waiting anxiously for news about the supposed Google Tablet, this is it. The Nexus 7 is Google’s answer to the Kindle Fire, and it shows. It’s a powerful but cheap beast, running NVIDIA’s latest Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.3GHz and available for only $199. It has built-in NFC and 1GB of RAM, putting it on par with the latest Android smartphones and tablets available but for much cheaper.

It also has an impressive display, with 216ppi and a 178 degree viewing angle putting it just under the display in the iPad 3, which has a DPI of 264 and the same viewing angle. It comes with the latest Android 4.1 operating system and will be shipping some time in the next few weeks.

Nexus Q

By far the oddest of the bunch, the Nexus Q is Google’s unique take on social media. It’s a $299 cloud media player, pulling data from the Play store as well as from YouTube. It has a built-in 25 watt amp, but can also output sound and video to external televisions or speakers. It contains bluetooth, NFC, and ethernet, optical audio, and micro-HDMI. An Android phone is required to control the Q, and each phone can remotely control multiple Qs, allowing you to make a housewide system.

The cool thing about the Q is its social ability. Multiple people can deposit media into the Q’s queue, which is great for things like parties where people may be interested in hearing and choosing different songs. It’s also an interesting hardware design, as the entire top half rotates to control volume and it has a touch-sensitive button for quickly muting the device.

The Nexus Q is quite expensive. Part of the reason behind that is it’s entirely made inside of the United States, and it contains powerful hardware inside. It seems almost like it’d make a better Google TV/Q device than simply a Q. Google has released a short video trailer of the Q:

Project Glass demoed

What’s more impressive than invisible glasses? How about invisible glasses freefalling through the air, riding on bikes, and rappelling down a conference center while thousands of people watch live from inside? Today at Google I/O just that happened, interrupting a relatively dry Google+ keynote.

Although still not much has been released on the glasses, Google has released this video of more skydiving from the weeks leading up to I/O:

Project Glass is currently unavailable, but US-based attendees of Google I/O can preorder developer previews for just $1500.

Google Play updated

A slightly smaller announcement this morning was an upgrade to Google Play. Now, you can rent or buy TVs shows by the season or by the episode. Movies and magazines too are now available, some for even rentable for as low as $2, including many classic Pixar films. Magazines are available for a promotional price of $0.99, including the July/August issues of many famous and popular magazines.

That’s all for today

That’s all of the main keynote for today at Google I/O. There’s the Play update, the Nexus 7 available with the new Jelly Bean OS, and the interesting but odd Nexus Q. What’s your favorite thing from today’s keynote?

Interested in Google I/O? See news from this year with the Google I/O 2012 tag.

Related Posts

  • Now Android 4.1 provides a great competitor for Siri

  • @Sreeni: Because there’s already Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs available for it, I’d say it’s very likely that the Desire will be getting custom JB ROMs.

  • Sreeni

    Will There be a jellybean custom rom for htc desire?? I guess sandvold or cyanogen will get one for desire very soon..?

  • @Chuck Wilsker: Doing that will require a factory reset too ;-) Besides, ICS should theoretically be faster than Gingerbread, if anything. Too bad manufacturers have the habit of butchering Android releases.

  • @Locutus:
    or i can go back to Gingerbread!

  • @Chuck Wilsker: I still think you should try a factory reset first. If nothing else, you’ll have to get an entirely reset device anyway.

  • Ashraf

    @Chuck Wilsker: Dont try. Insist on a replacement, and push for a new replacement not refurb (altho they will likely send a refurb anyway). It is not your fault after an official ICS update your phone is slow.

  • @Ashraf:
    never rooted.
    i’ll try verizon and see what they have to say.

  • Ashraf

    @Chuck Wilsker: Contact Verizon and ask for a replacement. Is your device rooted?

  • @Ashraf: @Ashraf:

    could be a bad download.
    getting email is very slow.
    updating apps is very slow.
    both much slower than good old gingerbread.
    what to do now?

  • Ashraf

    @Farrukh: There is no point in saying HTC is better than Samsung or Samsung is better than HTC; who is better varies from device to device.

    What is a better question is: Which device is better, Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X. In this regard I disagree slightly with Locutus.

    HTC One X has a better physical, unibody design than SGS3.

    The aluminum used in the HTC One X is of high quality than the plastix used by SGS3 ut it is also heavier. If you plan on using a case, then do you want a higher quality aluminum u will rarely touch or a lighter plastic?

    In terms of hardware internals, SGS3 wipes the floor with One X. Tegra 3 is meh compared to Samsungs quad core. Plus external ad card, removal battery, etc.

    In terms of screen both have excellent screens. One X has Super LCD 2 while SGS3 has Super AMOLED HD. There are some gripes againsr Super AMOLED HD because it is PenTile based but in real usage rarely can anyone tell difference between pentile and non pentile. You have to see both screens to decide which one you like better; they are both great.

    For software, ive always liked TouchWiz over Sense but TouchWiz is getting a bit old now; Sense is said to use a lot of ICS making it semi new whereas TouchWiz still has that Gingerbread feeling. Samsung does have great additions tho like the face detector.

    It is hard to pick between the two devices. Both are excellent. I say try before buy.

  • Ashraf

    @chucklw: Sounds like a bad update by Motorola. ICS should not behave like that.

  • @Farrukh: In the latest phones that won’t be an issue, especially in the HTC phones where there’s only one internal partition. (That’s one of the reasons behind getting rid of the SD card and switching to MTP over a faux USB thumb drive.)

  • @locutus:
    Similar feedback I got from local Mobile Phone Market. They declared HTC is much better quality phone and it has strong body and quality material used in its hardware parts.

    Actually, in HTC Desire, I have hardly 150 MB internal memory. Although, I’m using a Custom ROM (CynogyneMod) and it is setup to install software on SDCard by default, but there are lots of software which doesn’t follow such rule and take internal memory space. And software cashes do that as well.

    But SamSung seems to be wise in giving internal memory..

  • locutus

    @Farrukh: hardware wise the HTCs beat the Samsungs. Software wise they’re both mediocre but Motorola is worse.

  • Looks like, poor people like me now have to wait for a Custom ROM based on Jelly Beans to upgrade my HTC Desire…

    BTW, Is Galaxy phone sets are better than HTC???
    I mean, should I start thinking to switch to Samsung?

  • Commonkore

    @locutus: That’s great my friend. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

  • locutus

    @Commonkore: I’m not at home this week, so I can’t help til Saturday. I’ll text to help then :(

  • Commonkore

    @Locutus: Thanks for your response. So you don’t have any issues with the headphone jack eh? Could I be the problem? In other words, is there anything I can do re settings etc. that could correct the problem I’m having as I definitely can’t use my headphone jack in ICS.

  • @chucklw: Operates slower? That’s weird, it should if anything operate quicker, considering that ICS features better hardware acceleration. If worst comes to worst, you may wish to do a factory reset. That will clear any of the cruft left from changing operating systems. (In fact, if you’re feeling that much pain from the update, I recommend one anyway.) Note that doing that purposefully clears all user data, including applications, so you may wish to shy away from it. Also take out any SD cards you may have in your device! Here’s official instructions:

    @Prema: The problem is Google showed off stats of sports teams, players, etc today ;-) Overall, competition is good, though!

  • Prema

    heh not to be an iSheep but we need to wait till iOS 6 for a true/fair competition between Siri and Google Now [though from what I hear in iOS 6 Siri’s features aren’t all to important [like looking up stats of sport teams, players, etc…]

  • chucklw


    I only installed it on Monday. here are my gripes, so far:
    1. the phone operates much slower.
    2. opening apps is much slower
    3. there is an extra step to get to the home screen.
    4. when looking for an app on the phone the screen does not rotate to the horizontal mode.
    5. the email is more cumbersome – and much slower.

    I’ll send you more as they come up.

  • Ashraf

    @Locutus: Excellent I/O coverage. Keep up the great work!

  • @chucklw: What’s wrong with ICS on the Razr?

  • chucklw

    I have a razr maxx.
    Jelly Bean sounds nice but my disappointment with Ice Cream Sandwich is considerable.
    I was much happier without it.
    3 out of 10 on a good day.

  • @Commonkore: Headphone jack works fine for me o.O

    Since Cyanogenmod is based on a quick-to-update philosophy, I’m sure that it’ll be released days after the update is pushed to Android Open Source Project. This means yes, it will come, but not now, in a few weeks.

  • @Ashraf: It will, don’t worry :P I have a similar phone, the Vibrant, and I’m holding out for the nextNexus.

    @Ashraf: Yep, Siri bested and beaten.

    @chucklw: Depends! Custom ROMs will have unstable versions out in a few weeks (when code is dropped), Nexii will get stable ROMs out around that time too, and 3rd party phones (Samsung, Moto) will be updated whenever the manufacturer gets around to it. I’d guess 2-3 months for those.

  • Commonkore

    Any indications that this might work on our HP Touch Pads? Or will have to continue with ICS? BTW, is there anything new or on the horizon for a fix to allow use of the headset jack on an HP Touch Pad running ICS? I’m not that fussy about using the camera although that would be nice but not being able to use the headphone jack is a bit a a bummer. Thanks for any info you can share.

  • Ashraf

    @chucklw: a) Maybe and b) Yes, most likely

  • chucklw

    As always, thanks for the wonderful info.

    Will it be available to those of us who are now putting up with ICS?
    If so, think we’ll have to wait anither 7 months?

  • Ashraf

    Oh and I forgot to mention: Offline speech recognition. Amazing. Finally.

    Is Google Now Google’s answer to Siri?

  • Ashraf

    The best thing I love about Nexus devices are the quick updates to new versions of Android. Believe it or not when you receive an update to a newer version of Android it is almost like you just bought a new device; it keeps you satisfied for at least a few months.

    I really hope my Nexus S will get Jelly Bean. Otherwise I may have to put out for a Galaxy Nexus or wait for the next Nexus.