Google showed off a new home media server, more features in the update to Android Jelly Bean, an expansion of Google Play as well as announcing the well-leaked tablet device, showing off Project Glass and other goodies at its developer event.
Have A Jelly Bean
The Android handsets lucky enough to be getting the 4.1 Jelly Bean update include Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S and Motorola's Xoom during July as an over-the-air update. It will also appear in Google's new Nexus tablet, which was officially unveiled, and may trickle down to other devices over time.
The Jelly Bean SDK in out now as part of a developer preview, allowing coders to check app compatibility and to start making use of the new features. These include improved app/widget arranging on the home screen. Search integration has been boosted, updated voice search features and a more Knowledge Graph-like presentation.
On the hardware side, NFC has been given a boost with Google Beam now able to send photos to devices with a bump and if you have NFC-equipped speakers (anyone?), you can pair your Bluetooth connection just by tapping them together. But the Nexus will be the star of the show for consumers, offering plenty of power and full Android at a highly competitive price.
A new feature in Google Play for all Android users (well, Gingerbread and above) is incremental updates for apps, to save having to re-download the whole darn thing, again and again for every .001 update. This will come as an immense relief and puts it one up on Apple in that respect.
Google announced that there are now over 600,000 apps on Google Play and it will now serve as a portal for movies, TV shows and magazines, putting all the main streams of media content in the one place.
Through the Glass
Perhaps the most impressive part of Google's keynote was the use of the nascent Glasses technology. This saw a parachute team leave their aeroplane, land on the roof of the Moscone Center, pass a parcel over to some BMXers who leapt across the roofs to abseilers, who came down the side of the building to deliver a pair to the speaker. All of the footage was broadcast from the glasses, streamed to Google+ Hangouts, giving a (slightly extreme) hint at how they will be used in future.
Google Glass is being made available to attendees as a pre-order in an Explorer Edition. Talking of Google+, dedicated apps for Android and iPad are now available, to bring the maximum amount of content to those larger screens. The Android version is out now, the iPad version will be coming soon.
Finally, out the blue came the Nexus Q, a home-media portal/hub device that can stream content. A squat dome that lives among your gadgets, collection you can use your phone or tablet to find content, but can send that to your speakers or TV to play on a large screen or speakers. It will cost around £300 on launch and marks another step into the home, alongside updates to Google TV.