Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending June 29 include Google’s powerful but cheap Nexus 7 tablet, the Nexus Q social media player, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google I/O announcements, and Microsoft’s acquisition of enterprise social network Yammer.
Google Nexus 7 tablet unveiled
Google outed the Nexus 7 tablet at its annual developers conference in San Francisco. The Asus-manufactured device is the first 7” tablet to sport a quad-core Tegra-3 chipset and also the first to feature Google’s newly announced Jelly Bean Android 4.1 operating system. At just 340 grams, Google claims it’s “lighter than most tablets out there.” It comes with a 1280x800 HD display, a 1.2MP front-facing camera (too bad for tablet photographers, there’s no rear camera), NFC and up to 8 hours of battery life. Priced from just $199, the Nexus 7 is significantly cheaper than Apple’s iPad and much more capable than Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire.
Google Nexus Q makes the living room social
Google’s Nexus Q is a tiny sphere that wants to control your living room. The $299 gadget is the “first-ever social streaming device.” It connects to your home theater system and lets you -- or your friends -- control your TV and speakers with a swipe of the finger across an Android-powered mobile device. The Q opens the flood doors to movies, apps, music and online content available through the Google Play store.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Google took the wraps off its next-generation Android operating system, version 4.1 aka “Jelly Bean,” during the opening keynote at its I/O developers conference in San Francisco. Jelly Bean includes more dynamic notifications, a more accurate keyboard with predictive text, faster voice typing that works even when you are offline, a completely redesigned search experience, and Google Now -- a game-changing feature that automatically predicts and shows you relevant information on your phone based on your actions.
Additional I/O announcements and releases
This week Google’s I/O developers conference was the talk of the tech blogs. Additional noteworthy announcements from the event included Google’s ultra-cool Project Glass demo, the launch of Google+ Events, Google+ stats (250 million total users, 75 million active users per day), updates to Google Play, the launch of Chrome for iOS, new 3D maps in Google Earth, Google Drive for iOS, and offline support for Google Docs.
Microsoft acquires business social network Yammer for $1.2 billion
Microsoft laid down a cool $1.2 billion for enterprise-focused social network Yammer. Microsoft said it will use Yammer’s technology to power collaboration experiences in Office 365 in the future, adding social features -- similar to those found in Google Docs -- to the software.