Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Google's 2012 Nexus Announcement Summary

Google had scheduled a New York City event yesterday (Monday), which got cancelled due to the Hurricane Sandy. But they still made announcements through their Nexus website. They unveiled a refreshed Nexus 7 with more storage and a cellular data option, a full-sized Nexus 10 tablet and a Nexus 4 budget-friendly smartphone.

Read on for all the details.
The Google-branded Nexus series started with the Nexus One smartphone. It is a line of devices that is designed by Google and has been manufactured by other hardware makers, like Samsung and HTC. Nexus devices offer a 'pure' and unmodified Android experience, as they come with no manufacturer add-ons or customization.

Nexus tablets and phones set a standard against which other smartphones will be judged for the next year. This year, Google has completed a trio of mobile devices: a smartphone, a small tablet and a full-sized tablet.

Nexus 7 update

The Nexus 7 remains in the line-up and it has remained mostly unchanged. It has the same NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, and a 9.5 hour battery life. However, it now comes in a 32 GB version for $299, which is a great option for those who want a thin and light tablet with enough storage for on-the-go use.

There is also an optional cellular version that works with "more than 200 GSM providers worldwide".

Nexus 4

This is an LG-manufactured smartphone with a 4.7-inch screen that has a 1280x768 resolution. It comes in an 8 GB and a 16 GB version. It has a quad-core Qualcomm CPU, NFC, HDMI-out and even wireless charging. However, it does not come with a charging mat. It touts an 8 megapixel back camera and a 1.3 megapixel front camera. It has a built-in Photo Sphere feature that lets you take 360 degree panoramas.

However, Nexus 4 does not have 4G support. It does support HSPA+, which has been tested to have LTE-level download speeds. The lack of LTE comes in as a disappointment for many, but I wouldn't care. No LTE brings down the phone's price considerably. It costs $299 for the 8 GB version with no contract and $349 for the 16 GB model.

Nexus 10

Nexus 7 is Google's counterpart for Apple's iPhone. Nexus 7 goes with the newly released iPad mini, while Nexus 10 seems to be a tablet that was designed to directly compete with Apple's full-sized iPad line.

Nexus 10 boasts a super-high-resolution display. I mean, seriously. The screen has 299 pixels per square inch, which means it is sharper than iPad's Retina Display (which has 264 ppi)! This makes Nexus 10 the tablet with the highest resolution tablet in the world right now.

It has a dual-core "A15" CPU 2 GB of RAM, a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.9 megapixel front camera. HDMI support and NFC are included. This tablet supports Android 4.2's multiple user support. It's truly a device that is meant to be shared in a family. Everyone can have their own home screen, photos, apps and email now. It will ship in 16 GB and 32 GB models for $399 and $499 respectively, which is even cheaper than the iPad with Retina Display.

Android 4.2

All Nexus devices now come with the latest Android 4.2, which retains the Jelly Bean name from 4.1, because it's not that big of an update.

But it does bring in some new features. There's Photo Sphere and even multiple user sign-ons - a first for mobile devices. It also has Swype-like gestures on the keyboard and support for an upcoming Miracast standard, which is like Apple's AirPlay.

Google Now is getting more features. It can now notify you if there are attractions or photo spots nearby and can gather details of your reminders, flights, appointments etc. as the dates approach.