Jul 24, 2013
Google held an event in San Francisco today to announce a bevy of new things on both the hardware and software side of Android. Here’s a rundown of the major developments.
New Nexus 7 announced
The original Nexus 7 was a great budget device that had some shortcomings. They all appear to have been addressed in the 2013 model, though at a slightly higher cost. First, the processor is more powerful, with a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro that is allegedly 80% faster than the 2012 Nexus 7. This is abandoning the Tegra line, but the Snapdragon line is becoming quite common as well. There’s 2 GB of RAM now, which puts it on par with most high-end phones and tablets releasing these days. The resolution has been bumped up to 1920×1200, at a 323 PPI pixel density that outclasses the iPad mini by far, and even the full-size iPads.
Missed having a rear camera on the 2012 Nexus 7? The 2013’s got one. Hated the lack of HDMI output? There’s Slimport support for HDMI output through micro-USB, same as the Nexus 4, though this is still a different standard than the MHL used in most other phones. LTE models will be made available. The only thing missing is an SD card slot.
The cost has gone up slightly, but not exorbitantly so: $229 for the 16 GB, and $269 for the 32 GB. The tablet will go be available on July 30th.
Another incremental Android update was announced that brings a lot of behind-the-scenes features. Better performance, Bluetooth 4.3, dialer autocomplete, an improved camera app, an Emoji keyboard, and more. But reports of better battery life may be the big reason to care about Android 4.3. Nexus devices will get 4.3 first, and the 2013 Nexus 7 will come with it preinstalled.
Rumors abounded of Google jumping in to the unconsole business, but it seems as if they’re doing something completely different with a TV push. The Chromecast is an HDMI dongle that allows for content from Chrome on any OS to be beamed to it, making it easy to share web content. It supports beaming of YouTube and Google Play media from Android devices as well. Oh, and it comes with Netflix. The device, running a modified version of ChromeOS, is most intriguing for its price: $35. That’s mass-market. Oh, and it comes with a gift code for 3 months of Netflix, which can be redeemed to existing accounts.
The device is shipping now, but there’s already a delay to buy them on Google Play: August 7th is the current estimated ship date. Amazon has it in stock too, and it may be quicker to get from them.