Among the many businesses and events impacted by Sandy, a Google conference scheduled for October 29th had to shutter its doors due to the storm. The event was intended to announce a few changes to the Android operating system, but the festivities were cut short over safety concerns related to the hurricane.
Never one to impede progress, Google made its intentions for the near future known without the usual fanfare sought from such major affairs as the cancelled conference. First on the plate was an upgrade for the most recent release of the OS, Jellybean. Version 4.2, though not a massive overhaul of the system, adds several key new features. With it, users can now stream videos straight from their tablets to their HDTV’s (with the aid of a separate adapter) and “Beam” photos and movies from one phone to another simply by tapping them together. Speedier performance and seamless transitions between screens are promised alongside an easier Google Search interface. 4.2 will also add the ability to switch between multiple user profiles on tablets shared among friends or family members, in much the same fashion as PC’s can save different preferences and home screens to accommodate a computer used by more than one person. The upgrade will also bring a 360 degree panoramic camera feature and improved gesture-driven keyboard.
On the hardware front, Google is refreshing its line of Nexus 7 tablets, which made big waves in the market after launching at a sparsely rivaled $199 price point this past summer. The 8 GB version of the device is being scrapped with the 16 GB taking over its attractive price point, while a larger 32 GB iteration will be entering the field at $249. Originally only able to connect to the web via WiFi, the refresh will also add the first ever Mobile data enabled Nexus 7 in the coming weeks.
The new Asus-made Nexus 7’s won’t be alone when they hit the market, however; a larger brother is also on its way courtesy of Samsung. While the 7’s rose to prominence by offering strong features at bargain-bin pricing, the Nexus 10 will forgo the more price-conscious route (a 16 GB version will sell for $399 while the 32 GB option will cost $499) in favor of feature-rich performance. This 10” slab boasts the highest pixel density of any tablet (even greater than Apple’s Retina Display) which, combined with its HD aspect ratio, makes ideal for watching movies and other modern video content. Unlike its 7” brethren, the Nexus 10 will also have a rear-facing camera for those wishing to snap pictures or record video.
As has become yearly tradition, Google also announced the follow up to last year’s Nexus phone. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus will be making room for the LG-produced Nexus 4. As is the case for the tablets, the new phone will launch running Android 4.2. A 4.7” HD display, quad-core processor, 2 GB of ram, and extremely competitive price—Google is offering the 8 GB variation for $299 and the 16 GB for $349, both without a carrier contract—will make the phone an attractive offer for anyone looking to upgrade. Unfortunately, the new Nexus phone will lack any expandable storage slot (a sure deterrent for anyone who stores a lot of data) and will only be compatible with GSM carriers (meaning Verizon subscribers are out of luck).
Thinking about upgrading your phone or buying a tablet soon? Let us know about it on the Long Island Lounge.