Yesterday, Google decided to call in a bunch of bloggers and members of the press to make some new announcements. It turned out to be the announcement of three new things: The refreshed Nexus 7 tablet, the all new and much awaited Android version update to Android 4.3 and the ubiquitous Chromecast TV dongle.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these now:
The new Nexus 7 was on the cards for quite some time now. The final product saw the light of the day and ended up being thinner, leaner and slightly lighter than the previous generation model. The display size remains the same while the resolution sees a bump to 1920 x 1200 pixels endowing it with a pixel density of 323ppi. Google also claims that the device has 30% improvement in color range. Under the hood sits a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip running at 1.5 Ghz. This is claimed to offer an incredible 80% improvement in CPU speed. The Graphics is claimed to four times more powerful than the original Nexus 7. The device gets a front (1.2MP) and rear (5MP) cameras. Then there is 2GB of RAM Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI out, wireless charging, NFC and optional LTE on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.
The Nexus 7 claims a battery life of close to 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours browsing. There are three versions of the product with the 16GB Wi-Fi, 32GB Wi-Fi, and 64GB LTE made available at at $229, $269, $349 respectively. Of course, the device would be running Android 4.3 which we are going to talk about next!
To start with, if you were expecting a major revamp to JellyBean with the Android 4.3 update, you might as well be prepared to be disappointed. While Android 4.2 added multi user support, with 4.3, you can restrict apps at users level – giving control over who can open what ind of apps. This can also be used as an effective parental control tool. Bluetooth “Smart” has been added – which is is just a low power version of Bluetooth aimed at saving battery when Bluetooth connection is made i low power devices.
Another welcome addition is the added support for OpenGL ES 3.0 which would result in game developers being able to offer graphically rich content that can display more complex shadows, improved reflections and enable an overall bump in the gaming capabilities. Apart from these, Android 4.3 also adds in a bunch of nifty, small improvements – including faster user switching, easier text input, background Wi-Fi location, dial pad autocomplete, and increased language support.
The last product to see the light of the day at the event was the Chromecast. This device, which looks quite like an USB flash drive is designed to plug into the HDMI port of your TV. You can then push content from your phone, tablet or any other connected device on to your TV. With the Chromecast, users can also adjust a whole lot of functionalities – including things like turning up the volume. Google adds that a bunch of big names from the online content industry are slated to support Chromecast in the not too distant future. These includes giants like Netflix and Pandora apart from Google’s own Google Play Movies and Google Play Music. The Chromecast, priced at just $35 also comes with a free three-month subscription to Netflix. Whats better, it supports Android as well as iOS!