Sundar Pichai, the new head of both Android and Chrome, is showing off Google's latest products today in San Francisco. We're already seeing a brand new Nexus 7, the latest version of Android, new apps, Chromecast, and much more on the way. Stay tuned to this stream for the latest news from the "Breakfast with Sundar Pichai" event.
Sep 9, 2013
More than a month after the Wi-Fi version of Google's second-generation Nexus 7 went on sale, the 4G LTE model has arrived. Google just announced that the cellular variant of its impressive tablet is now available to buyers in the United States via Google Play. It's priced at $349, and Google says early orders will ship promptly within one to two business days. Additionally, T-Mobile will begin selling the 4G-equipped Nexus 7 in its retail stores beginning in October — and will be offering customers 2GB of data for a month for free so they can try out the company's network. Apart from a cellular radio and support for a barrage of wireless bands (including LTE on Verizon Wireless), hardware of course remains unchanged. We only hope that Google and Asus have had time to iron out some of the early kinks.Read Article >
Jul 29, 2013
It’s surprisingly difficult to put a web browser on TV. It’s difficult for regular people — the best option is often just plugging in a laptop — and it’s been ridiculously difficult for the tech industry in general. From interface problems to weird remotes to clunky performance, attempts to put the web on TV have all met with failure of one kind or another. Google in particular learned a hard lesson with its Google TV platform, which crashed and burned so spectacularly when it launched in 2010 that hardware partner Logitech nearly went out of business.Read Article >
But now Google’s back with the Chromecast, a far simpler way of getting the web on your TV. The Chromecast is a $35 HDMI dongle that basically competes with Apple’s AirPlay system: when you use supported services like YouTube and Netflix on your phone, tablet, or computer, hitting the new Cast button sends the video to your TV. You can also send entire tabs from the Chrome browser on Macs and PCs, which means you can basically put any site or service on TV with just the click of a button. That opens up an entire world of content for your TV — far more than any other service can offer on its own.
Jul 25, 2013
Google's combined Chrome and Android event yesterday should have had a relatively small impact: the Nexus 7 was already widely leaked and Android 4.3 was a very minor update. Instead, Google surprised us all with a tiny, $35 HDMI dongle called the Chromecast that captured our imaginations and seemed to finally answer a question that has been hanging over the company for years now: when will it finally figure out some kind of TV strategy?Read Article >
The little device is useful, cheap, and thoroughly infused with Google's philosophy of cloud computing. We've already compared it to Apple's AirPlay technology, but the differences between the two services go beyond their technical capabilities.
Jul 25, 2013
Google may have released its AirPlay-like Chromecast dongle yesterday, but that doesn't mean that its fledgling Google TV platform is dead yet. The team behind the streaming TV platform says that "we believe there is ample room for both products to exist and succeed," and employee Warren Rehman says that many existing Google TV devices will be updated to support Google Cast — the AirPlay-like technology that underlies the Chromecast dongle.Read Article >
Support to stream content from apps like YouTube and Netflix will come as part of the Android 4.2.2 update for Google TV, which was first announced earlier this year at the company's I/O developer conference. The update also includes the newest version of the Chrome web browser and it paves the way for quicker upgrades in the future. First-generation Google TV devices like the Logitech Revue and Sony's first products to use the platform will not get the update, however, as they are based on Intel chips. Products like the Vizio Co-Star and Asus Cube, as well as some newer LG and Sony TV sets will get the update sometime later this year.
Jul 25, 2013
Samsung is lined up to once again build a 10-inch Nexus tablet for Google, according to The Wall Street Journal's Amir Efrati. The new Nexus 10 should be arriving "in the near future," Efrati said, after reportedly learning the details from Android and Chrome lead Sundar Pichai. Last year, Google put a little over three months time between the release of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 — while Pichai's statements don't necessarily suggest that same time frame isn't in the cards this year, it does confirm that the company is standing by its ventures into competing with the full sized iPad.Read Article >
Update: Efrati, who has since left the WSJ has now retracted his previous statements, saying that his tweet that said "expect to see new 10-inch Nexus 10 Android tablet (made by Samsung) in the near future," didn't say that the new Nexus 10 was to be made by Samsung. Instead Efrati says he was stating the manufacturer of the previous model.
Google's first Nexus 7 made a lot of noise when it landed: it was a strong tablet, ran stock Android, and sold for an unbeatable price of $199. Now just over a year later, the company is back with an updated version that's slimmer, lighter, and has what Google says is the world's highest resolution display for a 7-inch tablet. The new Nexus 7 is going to be available for $30 more next Tuesday — but the story is going to be a lot different this time around. There are now better Android tablets in the market than ever before, and Google's latest will have to deal with the new tablet heavyweight, Apple's iPad mini.Read Article >
The new Nexus 7 is about the same size, thickness, and weight as the iPad mini, but it comes in nearly an inch narrower. It also compares favorably to every other major tablet in its size class, coming in smaller and lighter in most regards than both the Nook HD and the Kindle Fire HD. While the iPad mini is wider, it's using that space to fit a 7.9-inch display — but size isn't everything. The iPad mini's display is decidedly low resolution for a tablet, measuring only 1024 x 768. That doesn't mean its display looks bad, but it is likely to pale in comparison to the Nexus 7's 1920 x 1200 resolution, which allows it to play back full 1080p video.
Jul 24, 2013Read Article >
News of the new Nexus 7 leaked early, so the highlight of today’s breakfast with Sundar Pichai was a product that truly surprised us: Chromecast, a tiny, $35 dongle that streams audio and video to your TV from phones, tablets and laptops. But that wasn’t all: the new Nexus 7 emerged as expected, with a slimmer form factor and significantly improved screen. So did Android 4.3, an incremental update to Jelly Bean that improves graphics performance and communication between devices. We learned that more than 50 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play — 2 billion of them since Google I/O in May — and that more than 1 million apps are now available in the store. If you missed our liveblog of the day’s events, all the news is below.
Jul 24, 2013
The Chromecast, a $35 dongle from Google that lets you stream videos from your phone, tablet, or PC to a television using Chrome, has its minimalist instruction manual printed on the inside cover of the box. There are just three directions: 1.) Plug it in, 2.) Switch input, and 3.) Set it up.Read Article >
Jul 24, 2013
The new Nexus 7 is in our hands and as you'd expect, it's an improvement over last year's model in every appreciable way. The big show here is obviously the 1920 x 1200 screen, which Google claims has the highest pixel density of any tablet at 323ppi. It certainly looks good, with wide viewing angles and intense colors. This year's model is just a little taller and a little less wide than the old Nexus 7, which makes it easier to hold in one hand — at least in its portrait orientation. Instead of the old faux-leather backing, Google and Asus have opted for a matte, soft-touch black plastic that feels just fine.Read Article >
It's running Android 4.3 — the first device to do so — but to be perfectly frank, the operating system's new features aren't things most users will immediately notice. As for games, we gave Asphalt 8 Airborne a shot and, just as in Google's on-stage demo, it was graphically better than most Android titles we've seen. The clouds reflected off the rear windshield and the parts from the battered car flew sharply — though at the end of the day a really good-looking game on Android still isn't as good as the best iOS has to offer.
Jul 24, 2013
Google is making another foray into the living room with the Chromecast, a small $35 dongle that allows users to stream videos from a phone or tablet to their TV using Chrome. Essentially, it turns every TV into a smart TV, but it lets you control it through whatever device you're on rather than providing a new interface. "Everyone loves their phones, tablets, and laptops," said Google. "Unlike other solutions, we will not force you to have the same operating system on all your devices." It connects over HDMI and is powered by USB, and can be plugged right into an A/V receiver if your TV doesn't have an extra port. Google says that future devices from partners — very likely TVs and set-top boxes — will also have Chromecast built-in.Read Article >
Google says that its new Nexus 7 tablet is perfect for students, and so it's going to be filling up the Google Play store with textbooks to make sure there's plenty to read. Starting this August, the company is planning to offer a "comprehensive" selection of titles that will be available for purchase and for rental over six-months periods — just longer than an average semester. Titles will be available from the five major textbook publishing houses, and Google is promising that they'll be available at discounts of up to 80 percent. Textbooks purchased through Google Play will be able to sync across Android devices, and can also be accessed on the web and through iOS.Read Article >
Using tablets to address education has been a big deal for Apple as well, though no company appears to have swept away a large portion of the market just yet. In May, Google unveiled a tailored section of its Play store that would focus specifically on education. That education section is still scheduled to launch this fall, and it should pair nicely with Google's new textbook initiative.
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Google just introduced a new, dedicated gaming app for the Android ecosystem called Google Play Games. It's essentially Android's answer to Apple's Game Center — it lists both games and your friends on a single screen and lets you see highlights from both categories. You can tap through to see achievements for the games you're playing, social and public leaderboards, the most recently played games from your friends, and so forth. There are also friend suggestions included to help you expand your gaming circle. The new app builds on the Play Games API and services that the company introduced back at I/O in May, and Google says the new app will be available today.
The second-generation Nexus 7 is the first Android tablet to support Netflix streaming in 1080. Those buying the new flagship device won't need to wait for Full HD streaming, either: an update to Netflix for Android delivered Monday included support for the higher-res playback. Netflix is the first developer to take advantage of new DRM in Android 4.3 that allows for hardware-based video encryption, a security addition that likely made the company more comfortable offering 1080p content.Read Article >
Google plans to ship a version of its new Nexus 7 tablet that includes built-in LTE that can work on AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile — all on the same device. Google describes the device as supporting "4G LTE," though it's unclear if that refers solely to true LTE or if it also means that 3G technologies like HSPA+ and EV-DO will be included. While 3G devices that can support multiple carriers are common, that hasn't happened just yet with LTE.Read Article >
The LTE-enabled version of the Nexus 7 is being sold unlocked, so it won't be tied to any one of the carriers on purchase. The new Nexus 7 is lighter, thinner, and includes a full 1080p display — it'll also be the first device to ship with Android 4.3, which was announced alongside the tablet. The LTE version of the tablet will be available for purchase "in the coming weeks" for $349.
Jul 24, 2013
Google's famously breakneck Android update pace may have slowed in recent times, but that's what makes point upgrades like today's newly revealed Android 4.3 all the more interesting. Shipping with the new Nexus 7 and retaining the Jelly Bean codename, 4.3 brings a number of fresh new features.Read Article >
Google is starting us off with a new set of multi-user settings, including restricted profiles for the junior members of your family. That means you can restrict app content at a user level — the example offered by Hugo Barra is to allow only a select number of puzzles within a game to his son's profile, preventing the younger Barra from making ill-advised app purchases or accessing content his father doesn't deem suitable. This looks to provide essentially the same functionality as Microsoft's Kid's Corner in Windows Phone.
On stage at Google's headquarters this morning, Sundar Pichai just announced that Android users have downloaded more than 50 billion applications from Google Play. When the company last provided a numbers update at I/O 2013, that figure stood at 48 billion. As another indicator of how well Android's ecosystem is performing, Pichai shared that over one million apps are currently available for download from the Google Play store. That's a major milestone that actually places Google ahead of Apple based on numbers we've seen to this point. Last month at WWDC, Apple CEO Tim Cook put the total number of iOS apps available from the App Store at 900,000.Read Article >
Google has just taken the wraps off the new Nexus 7 tablet, one of the year's worst-kept secrets and the successor to last year's well-regarded model, which marked Google's first attempt at selling Android tablets direct to consumers. It's quite a bit thinner than the original, about 2mm thinner, and it's also 50g lighter. Much like the previous Nexus 7, the new model is a 7-inch tablet running a stock version of Android - though judging by the placement of the Nexus logo on the back, this year's model appears to be designed with landscape usage in mind. It also keeps the rather large bezel on either side of the screen, and volume and power buttons are in the same spot as last year.Read Article >