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Google's IO Conference launches Nexus 7, Nexus Q

Google's IO Conference launches Nexus 7, Nexus Q

Google's Nexus 7, manufactured by Asus, is the first outing for Nvidia's Kai cut-price Tegra SoC platform.

Google's annual IO Conference has always been where new product are announced, but the company's offerings have never before been so hardware-themed as this year: late last night, Google launched the Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q streaming media client and opened limited pre-orders on its Project Glass augmented-reality glasses.

Google's Nexus 7, to start, is - as the name suggests - a seven-inch tablet running the Android operating system. Made by Asus for sale under the Google Nexus brand - matching the company's Samsung-manufactured Nexus Smartphones - the device boasts a 1,280x800 216 pixel-per-inch high-resolution display behind which beats an Nvidia Tegra 3 system-on-chip processor with four primary ARM cores and a fifth battery-saving 'companion core.'

As well as being remarkably high-resolution, the display uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology for excellent viewing angles, and is protected by Corning's anti-scratch glass - although neither Google nor Asus is confirming whether this is Gorilla Glass or the second-generation Dragon Glass product.

1GB of RAM is included along with the choice of 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth connectivity as well as an integrated near-field communication (NFC) transceiver, GPS, gyroscope, magnetometer, accelerometer, and microphone. A 4,350mAh battery offers a claimed eight hours of active use, but keeps the weight down at a very pocketable 340g in a 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm casing.

The Nexus 7 also comes with Android 'Jelly Bean' 4.1, a new version of Google's mobile platform which boasts tighter integration with the Google Play store - previously known as the Android Market. Users will be expected to spend heavily on app content as well as films, TV programs, music, books, magazines and even newspapers, all of which gives Google a cut of the proceeds. It's a direct answer to the threat of Amazon's Kindle Fire sub-$200 tablet, which uses a customised version of Android which points people away from the Google Play store and towards Amazon's own Appstore.

The Nexus 7 is the first official outing for Nvidia's cut-price Tegra implementation Kai, which the company is aiming at sub-$200 tablets. You'll be pleased to hear that translates into a very affordable sum across the pond: the tablet is already available to pre-order through Google Play at £199 for the 16GB version or £159 for the 8GB version.

If you're curious to know more about the Nexus 7, Google has provided a little video walkthrough:


The Nexus 7 was joined by a wholly new device in Google's ecosystem, the Nexus Q. Described as the world's first social media streaming player, the Q is an entirely in-house effort and designed like nothing else on the market. As Google's blatantly Apple-inspired product page shows, it's a sphere with an integrated Android media hub and high-grade amplifier designed to pair with Google's various media streaming services including Google Play and YouTube.

It's Google's answer to the Apple TV, basically - but it comes at a cost: while a UK price hasn't yet been confirmed, Google is taking US pre-orders for the Q at an eyebrow-raising $299 - a $200 premium over the cost of Apple's rival product.

Trying to figure out how a sphere-shaped media streamer looks in action? Here's Google's four-minute advert for the high-priced device:


Finally, Google wowed the crowds with a live demonstration of its Project Glass augmented reality glasses project, giving attendees a point-of-view stream from a skydiving engineer. While most footage was filmed with a Go Pro action camera, Google's stunt demonstrated the flexibility - if not the recording quality - of Project Glass with mid-air Google+ Hangouts.

The demonstration impressed with its capabilities, but Google's original plan to release the device before the end of the year for the cost of a high-end smartphone appears to have been lost along the way: a limited pre-order system was announced at the event, allowing attendees with US addresses to order a special developer's edition of the glasses for a massive $1,500 with delivery not due until some time early next year. As for a commercial release, that wasn't part of Google's presentation.

Wondering what skydiving Google+ looks like? Behold:


Google's IO Conference announcements show that the company is keen to compete with Apple, but run the risk of alienating its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners. The Nexus 7, in particular, is a very tempting device and one which could cut into sales of rival Android-based devices from Amazon, Samsung, and even Asus itself.

20 Comments

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faugusztin 28th June 2012, 11:57 Quote
Nexus 7 is going to be bestseller.
Nexus Q is born dead at that price and no local network storage support.
coolius 28th June 2012, 12:11 Quote
The Nexus 7 is extremely tempting at £159 - I hope the sales don't get hit when Amazon release the Kindle Fire or its successor here which is rumoured to happen soon.

As for the Nexus Q - underneath it is running full Android so I am looking to see what the devs/hackers can do to unlock its full potential.
faugusztin 28th June 2012, 12:32 Quote
Unfortunately at that price Nexus Q is simply impossible to be a successful product. Apple TV is $99. Other streamers like xtreamer, wd tive live etc are all sub $200 products, most are sub-$100 products. Nexus Q is even priced higher than most Atom+ION/E-350 based miniPC's.
In short, Nexus Q priced itself out of the market. Like if someone would try to sell you a $3000 ultrabook with specs corresponding to the other $600 ultrabooks.
steveo_mcg 28th June 2012, 13:09 Quote
I'm sorely tempted by a Nexus 7 to compliment the iPad my wife has basically requisitioned.

The Q is very cool looking bit of kit but yeah too expensive.
wuyanxu 28th June 2012, 13:24 Quote
Nexus Q looks fantastic. but why would people spend that much money when RaspberryPi with XBMC and Airplay plugin could do the same thing?

i loved the idea of pushing media to TV from the moment Microsoft demonstrated it on their xbox. bought into Apple's airplay using an AppleTV. i don't see how Q could compete with ATV at that price with less features and less cloud media.


even after been hacked, it still doesn't make sense as a media player compared to every other sub £100 players. no, i don't think running current touch Apps on a TV is a good idea, just like tablet apps vs phone apps, you can't just port it over without a complete UI overhaul.
runadumb 28th June 2012, 13:33 Quote
I read up a lot on the announcements yesterday but never figured out what the hell the Nexus Q actually was and after watching that video I have no idea why I would buy one, especially at that price. It seems utterly pointless IMO and as Faugusztin said DOA.

The Nexus 7 looks decent. I am still not convinced by the tablet form-factor for my uses but could see how something like that so well priced would have its place in the home. I wonder how much storage I would need though. I won't be putting music on it as that will be on my phone but 8GB seems like very little, maybe 16GB would be fine? I have no idea and its not like you can just add more...

Which leads me to a little rant. I know everyone is pushing the cloud but the cloud is NOT a replacement for local storage, its a compliment. Would many people care if the price went up £5-£10 for a microSD slot to be included?
Every phone I've owned the last 8 years has had expandable storage, hell, the first one (SPV) took a full sized card! It really disappoints me that we seem to be losing that with the Nexus series and now even HTC are at it. Annoys the hell out of me!
Amsalpedalb 28th June 2012, 14:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by runadumb
I read up a lot on the announcements yesterday but never figured out what the hell the Nexus Q actually was and after watching that video I have no idea why I would buy one, especially at that price. It seems utterly pointless IMO and as Faugusztin said DOA.

The Nexus 7 looks decent. I am still not convinced by the tablet form-factor for my uses but could see how something like that so well priced would have its place in the home. I wonder how much storage I would need though. I won't be putting music on it as that will be on my phone but 8GB seems like very little, maybe 16GB would be fine? I have no idea and its not like you can just add more...

Which leads me to a little rant. I know everyone is pushing the cloud but the cloud is NOT a replacement for local storage, its a compliment. Would many people care if the price went up £5-£10 for a microSD slot to be included?
Every phone I've owned the last 8 years has had expandable storage, hell, the first one (SPV) took a full sized card! It really disappoints me that we seem to be losing that with the Nexus series and now even HTC are at it. Annoys the hell out of me!

I have an HTC one X and the worst thing about it is the lack of micro sd slot. Other than that its brilliant to be fair. But I thought the industry was heading towards expandable storage on everything. A shame.

If the Nexus 7 had a micro sd slot I would already have ordered one.
Snips 28th June 2012, 16:19 Quote
Not interested in the slightest. I'll happily wait for my WindowsRT
Nexxo 29th June 2012, 07:31 Quote
At a third of the price of a Windows RT unit, it's going to interest a lot of people, and that is what Google wants: market penetration of its ecosystem.
BLC 29th June 2012, 09:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
At a third of the price of a Windows RT unit, it's going to interest a lot of people, and that is what Google wants: market penetration of its ecosystem.

The only way they're going to compete with Apple's market penetration is to get it into the mass market in the first place. Selling it through other distribution channels - such as high street stores and supermarkets - would be a good start. It's all well and good selling to nerds, geeks or those already interested in tablets, but to really make Google Play/Android a success they need to get it in the hands of the general public.

Android might be making waves with smartphones, but I still think there's a lot of work to do in order to convince the mass market consumer to get this tablet over an iPad. "Joe Average" may well look at the price of the Nexus 7 and instantly think: "There's no way this can be better than an iPad, just look how cheap it is". That is, assuming Joe Average is able to stumble across one in the first place, which isn't likely to happen unless there is a wider distribution channel than just the Play Store. Otherwise they'd have to be actively looking for a tablet, and in that case it's going to be very hard to see past Apple's marketing.

It looks like a fantastic product and, if my own experience of Tegra 2 is anything to go by, the Tegra 3 SoC should make it blisteringly fast. Plus it has the advantage of being a reference implementation of Android, so you don't have any operator/manufacturer cruft getting in the way and slowing things down. Of course there could still be poor driver implementation hampering performance, but I doubt that would be the case; I'd like to think that they paid more than a little attention to that sort of stuff for a flagship/reference product. Even if it was £100 more expensive, it would still be a tempting prospect.

Of course, the previous paragraph is from the point of view of a complete nerd; I can see the value in the product, but none of that makes a difference to Joe Average wandering round Tesco or Currys in the mood to do a bit of impulse gadget buying.
steveo_mcg 29th June 2012, 09:37 Quote
Have they explicitly stated it'll only be on the Play store? My local Tesco has a huge range of tablets from both the main OS players, they even had a Blackberry one for a while.
Harlequin 29th June 2012, 09:49 Quote
any rumour of a 10.1" model?
BLC 29th June 2012, 09:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Have they explicitly stated it'll only be on the Play store? My local Tesco has a huge range of tablets from both the main OS players, they even had a Blackberry one for a while.

I don't think they've explicitly said that it will be the only place to get it, but that's the only place you can get it at the moment. Amazon certainly dropped the ball with the Kindle Fire in that regard - hell, you can't even buy it from Amazon if you live outside of the US - so I hope Google don't make the same mistake.
faugusztin 29th June 2012, 10:01 Quote
@steveo_mcg: i am pretty sure it is a vanilla Android with a huge special Play Store widget on main screen. And if not, there is nothing easier to do than install Nova Launcher or Apex Launcher and you have the stock Android experience. There is no reason why it should disable any 3rd party markets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
any rumour of a 10.1" model?

Not likely. If they didn't announce it now, they won't announce it till next Google I/O, and that is next year.
Gareth Halfacree 29th June 2012, 10:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo_mcg
Have they explicitly stated it'll only be on the Play store? My local Tesco has a huge range of tablets from both the main OS players, they even had a Blackberry one for a while.
Best Buy and Dixons have both confirmed they'll be carrying the Nexus 7. No word on the Nexus Q, though.
Nexxo 29th June 2012, 10:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harlequin
any rumour of a 10.1" model?

Wouldn't fit the business model. A 10.1" tablet, even if sold at cost, would need to be priced above the competitive sweet spot. Google wants market penetration of the ecosystem first. After it has established that, the premium gadgets can follow suit.
DbD 29th June 2012, 10:59 Quote
This is what the market has been asking for. A decent quality android tablet that's much cheaper then an iPad. I expect it'll sell millions - personally I pre-ordered one so it'll be my first tablet.
fdbh96 29th June 2012, 13:45 Quote
Hopefully it will take off because then developers can work on apps and stop the play store from becoming really fragmented. However, I can see it going the way of the kindle fire, and not being that successful.

Personally, if it sells well and more quality tablet apps appear on the play store and if google can sort out the basic performance issues in android then I can see myself replacing my iPad with it.
BLC 29th June 2012, 14:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdbh96
Hopefully it will take off because then developers can work on apps and stop the play store from becoming really fragmented. However, I can see it going the way of the kindle fire, and not being that successful.

Personally, if it sells well and more quality tablet apps appear on the play store and if google can sort out the basic performance issues in android then I can see myself replacing my iPad with it.

You can't get the Kindle Fire outside of the US; it's a pretty spectacular way to limit your market. Besides, the Kindle Fire wasn't really aimed at getting more money flowing through Google services, it was aimed at getting more money flowing through Amazon services :)

Though I'm not sure what you mean by "basic performance issues". My experience of poor performance in Android is usually down to a shoddy driver implementation (or no driver implementation at all) or needless bloaty cruft being added to the AOSP code; though neither of which I'd expect from the company that owns the Android platform. I'll admit that is a problem with Android though: most major manufacturers have their own ideas for stuff they want to add, and they're quite free to do so because everything except Google Apps is open source. But devices such as the Nexus range are supposed to serve as a reference implementation: Look at this shiny thing of ours, this is how you're supposed to do it - now you do the same or better.
fdbh96 29th June 2012, 20:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
You can't get the Kindle Fire outside of the US; it's a pretty spectacular way to limit your market. Besides, the Kindle Fire wasn't really aimed at getting more money flowing through Google services, it was aimed at getting more money flowing through Amazon services :)

Though I'm not sure what you mean by "basic performance issues". My experience of poor performance in Android is usually down to a shoddy driver implementation (or no driver implementation at all) or needless bloaty cruft being added to the AOSP code; though neither of which I'd expect from the company that owns the Android platform. I'll admit that is a problem with Android though: most major manufacturers have their own ideas for stuff they want to add, and they're quite free to do so because everything except Google Apps is open source. But devices such as the Nexus range are supposed to serve as a reference implementation: Look at this shiny thing of ours, this is how you're supposed to do it - now you do the same or better.

Performance Issues: In pc world there was an ipad next to an asus tablet (it was tegra 3). Scrolling on the homepage was laggy and slow, the same on all android tablets I've tried compared to the ipad. Then moving in to the app store, there was very few equivalent apps to my iOS favourites.

Also, I think they should have maybe put an micro sd slot, as that was one of the reasons I was looking at android tablet in the first place :)
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