At a San Francisco conference on Wednesday, Google Inc. unveiled the latest mobile operating system Android 4.1, a.k.a. Jelly Bean, the $199 tablet Nexus 7, and small Android-powered computer Nexus Q.
Android 4.1, nicknamed Jelly Bean, did not end up with the major update anticipated, but it is still quite a treat for Android users with faster Project Butter (meant to make the Jelly Bean experience “buttery smooth”), offline voice recognition (previously voice recognition required Internet connection) and voice search to counter the rise of Apple Inc.’s Siri for iOS, 18 new input languages, and new TV shows and magazines in Google Play.
The Camera application has been updated with a much faster way to review photos. Notifications have also received a makeover, where users can now return phone calls from within the notification shade and view multiple e-mails without having to jump into a separate application.
The Jelly Bean now also has a Gesture Mode to allow visually impaired users to navigate their devices with gestures.
Google will begin their over-the-air updates to the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom in the middle of July. The software development kit for developers is available as of Wednesday.
The new Nexus 7 tablet with 1280*800 display is available for order as of Wednesday with expected shipping in mid-July.
The new tablet, with Tegra3 chipset with quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU, will be a “powerful new recommendation engine” that would suggest new shows, movies, music, and applications. The widget is “made for Google Play” and would become smarter and better as the user uses it more.
Nexus 7 allows for 9 hours of video playback and 300 hours of standby time.
Nexus Q is a small Android-powered computer that connects to media the user has stored in the cloud and could be plugged into televisions and speakers. Nexus Q could be used as a music jukebox for friends to control the computer and play music.
The Nexus Q is available for $299 in the United States only. Shipping will start in mid-July.
All 6,000 conference attendees, who paid $900 for admission, were given free copies of each of an Android 4.1 phone, Nexus 7, and Nexus Q, which cost $399, $199, and $299 respectively.
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