Google was forced to cancel their ‘Playground is Open’ event in New York due to Hurricane Sandy but it doesn’t appear to have stopped them from making some major announcements on their blog regarding the Nexus 4, 7 and 10. As you’ve seen from our previous posts this morning the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 are now available to purchase with Google also promising a 32GB variant of the Nexus 7 with Mobile Data being available for purchase on the 13th of November as well, the Nexus 7 32GB with HSPA so far remains unavailable at this time.
Google has also announced that Jelly Bean has been upgraded to Android 4.2 and includes new additions such as updates to Google Now, Gesture Typing, wireless display to watch movies, Youtube videos and play games on your Miracast compatible TV and an update to the Camera app called Photo Sphere.
The updated version of Google Now has been improved with more cards and better interaction for questions you ask as well as pre-emptively showing information which is important to you and will now show Flight information, restaurant reservations, hotel confirmations and shipping details as well as showing cards for nearby attractions and interesting photo spots as well as notifying you of movie times and concert information when you pass by movie theatres or Concert venues. The Google Search update is now live in the Google Play store and can be updated to get the new features on your Jelly Bean device. Check out the Ask Me Anything video :
Nexus Ask Me Anything
Photo Sphere which Hugo Barra has demonstrated in a video posted to Google+ improves on the Panorama mode introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich, now offering you the ability to take stunning 360-degree images whihc you can share to Google Maps or share with family and friends on Google+. The photos are stored as JPG files and all the information is embedded inside as XML data in the file. Check out the video :
Photo Sphere, the new camera experience on Nexus 4
The other interesting addition Miracast is a competitor to Apple AirPlay from the Wi-Fi Alliance, it is a wireless standard for streaming content from your Wi-Fi direct enabled device, it is a cross platform standard so it will work on say an LG phone with a Samsung Miracast enabled TV. Miracast will allow streaming of content in full 1080P resolution. Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are all said to be planning on supporting Miracast in their chipsets. So far it looks as though LG and Samsung are going to be adding it to TVs with Samsung already including a form of it in their TVs called AllShare. EDIT : Looks like there may be a Miracast adapter coming, from the Android page : ‘Just connect a wireless display adapter to any HDMI-enabled TV to mirror what’s on your screen quickly and easily’. We’ll be following this one with interest.
Google has also introduced the multiple user function that has been around in code form since Honeycomb, available only on tablets each user now can now have their own space. All users can now have their own homescreen, background, widgets, apps and games including individual high scores and levels.
Google has also introduced Daydream which lets your Android device display useful and ‘delightful’ information when idle or docked. It will show your photo albums or get the latest news from Google Currents and more.
Gesture Typing has been added as well, which from the sounds of it is very similar to what Swype and now Swift Key Flow are, no further information has been made available but I imagine we’ll see more on this very shortly.
Google Play content has also been expanded and as shown last night, Google Play Movies can now be purchased in Australia. Google has also announced a new partnership with Time to bring more magazines such as InStyle PEOPLE, TIME and more to the Magazines section of the Google Play Store.
Music and TV Show offerings have been expanded in the US but so far remain unavailable to us here in Australia. Google has now partnered with 20th Century Fox for Movies and TV Shows and they have finally partnered with Warner Music to bring more music. The Google Music service will expand to Europe on November 13th. Australia has not been mentioned but we are keenly watching to see what happens in this space.
November 13th is the date we are now looking at for launches of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 as well as a 3G version of the Nexus 7 according to the Blog. No dates have been given as yet for the rollout of Android 4.2 but I imagine we’ll see availability for devices such as the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 very soon.