Product EXPLOSION in the ‘Summer of Google’
If the first part of last month was all about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) product buzz, June has ended with the attention focused squarely on its biggest current competitor, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). The days just before, during, and after the Google I/O conference saw the company come up with some updates and upgrades, as well as make an entry into spaces it previously had not really touched. Here’s a roundup of all the new product activity from Google over the past few days:
Nexus Q is Google’s Wi-Fi-based home-entertainment media hub, which integrates with Google Play and YouTube to stream video content. The orb-shaped device does not really have a visual interface and works through the Nexus Q app that has to be downloaded on an Android device. It includes a built-in micro HDMI output, a micro USB port, an Ethernet port, an optical audio output, and four analog audio ports for unpowered stereo speakers. At $299, it is also priced much higher than rivals, which include the Roku player at $49.99 and Apple TV at $99.
Google has jumped head-on into the tablet arena with the launch of its own device, rather than limiting itself to providing the software for other manufacturers. The Nexus 7, which has been made in association with Asus and is scheduled to start shipping this month, is being seen as a direct rival to Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire. Both tablets have 7-inch screens, smaller than the nearly 10 inches of Apple’s market-leading iPad, and are priced at $199. The Nexus 7 includes a front-facing camera and will run the next version of Android, called Jelly Bean, which will launch alongside the tablet.
Android Jelly Bean
Android 4.1 is set to include a paid app encryption feature that will help developers protect their intellectual property, as well as an on-device speech recognition engine that rivals Apple’s Siri software. Jelly Bean will start shipping with Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Xoom smartphones and Google’s own new tablet, and go open source in mid-July. Jelly Bean is also expected to have a smoother and more responsive user interface. Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) has also officially dropped support for Flash starting with Jelly Bean.
Google Compute Engine
Google landed into another rivalry with Amazon with the announcement of its Compute Engine, an enterprise cloud service pack that will compete with Amazon Web Services. Google’s cloud will offer businesses Linux virtual machines with multiple storage options, clustering options, and connectivity offers. Compute Engine is only being releases as a limited preview for the time.
The Google product that stole the show at the conference, though, was Google’s Project Glass. While this eye-based display computer won’t be sold to the public until 2014, Google’s preview included skydivers, stunt cyclists, and a Google+ hangout conducted through the device. The device is expected to use a transparent LCD or AMOLED display to put information in front of the user’s eye. It is rumored to be location-aware and provide a way to scroll and click on information by a tilt of the head.