This week Google responded to recent product announcements from Microsoft and Apple at the Google I/O 2012 developers conference with an array of new products. The past year has been interesting for Google with its search engine, social media attempts, privacy and, of course, the Android operating system. Google I/O was its opportunity to address past criticism and show what it’s been working on.
Image credit: Google Developers
Google’s Director of Product Management, Hugo Barra, mentioned last year that Google’s Android product strategy was “Momentum, Mobile and More.” This strategy has clearly been its focus with Google making substantial strides in the mobile market. Barra discussed this in the day one keynote.
Total Android activations up from 100 million to 400 million.
The influx of Android smartphones and tablets in the market boosted these numbers for Google.
Android version 4.1 “Jelly Bean”
This is an incremental update to the current 4.0 OS, Ice Cream Sandwich. Jelly Bean improves user experience and Project Butter renders images quickly and seamlessly. Improved voice search, better camera UI and Google Now for personalizing tasks, apps, and productivity were also part of the update. Jelly Bean will roll out via OTA in mid July to certain Android devices.
Nexus 7 Tablet
Asus, not Samsung or Motorola, is the manufacturing partner with Google on the Nexus 7-inch tablet. The tablet has a 1280 x 800 resolution making the resolution slightly higher than 720 HD, Tegra-3 quad core processor — and costs a low $200. Partnerships with television networks and movie studios in the Google Play Store offers popular content for the tablet and the Android ecosystem.
The Nexus Q is a set-top sphere by Google to that hooks up to your home’s best speakers or televisions. It’s a small cloud-based computer that loads your music from the Google Cloud as well as your purchased television shows and movies from the Google Play Store. The Nexus Q easily connects via NFC, Bluetooth or WLAN to any Android device. It’s like a DJ experience and lets other Google devices share media while on the Nexus Q’s network.
Google Project Glass was shown as a high-flying skydive by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and friends. Using the Glass device, Brin had a Google Hangout with skydivers and stunt professionals showing the integration into social sharing from a first-person point of view. The alpha will be available tentatively in 2013.
Google seems on its way to keeping up with Apple’s innovation and products. Only time will tell how the consumers and market will react and decide which camp they will choose.