Google officially unveils Android 4.3 and a thinner & lighter Nexus 7 successor!

Google has unveiled the new Nexus 7 tablet device that’s thinner, lighter, and complete with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It will be priced starting at $229.00 and can be purchased at Best Buy and most likely the Google Play store starting today.

The company’s Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pinchai took the stage to talk about Google’s latest creations. He reminisced about his talk at Google’s I/O developer conference where he says that it’s an exciting time for the computing world.

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Pinchai touted that the tablet market is growing exponentially — more tablets are being bought than personal computers.With respect to Android, he says that Google is nearing 70 million platform tablet activations.

On Google Play, Pinchai says there are more than 50 billion downloads and developers are seeing 2.5 times increase in revenue per user, all from more than a million apps.

The Nexus 7

Since its launch in 2012, Pinchai says the tablet has had much success around the world. Now, Google hopes to follow that up with an updated version.

nexus 7 featured image 730x280 Google unveils thinner, lighter Nexus 7 successor with 1080p display and 5MP camera, starting at $229.99

The Nexus 7 is touted as a powerful and portable device while also enabling users to have their information synced through the cloud. Almost 2mm thinner than the original Nexus 7 and 50 grams lighter. Featuring a true 1080p HD (1920×1200), surround sound with 5.1 Audio, front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera, and 5 megapixel rear facing camera. Includes a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset and 2GB of memory. All with longer battery life than the original Nexus 7.

Google says that it focused on core features, including a black finish and glossy details. It is also billed as the “world’s highest resolution tablet” with 323 dpi. The new Nexus 7 tablet screen size is 1920×1200 (1080p) on a 7-inch display and offers 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing.

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The device will be available on 4G LTE on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. It will have Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the newest operating system being revealed today.

Consumers can select from one of three models: a 16GB, 32GB, and 32GB LTE starting at $229.99. it will be available starting next Tuesday, July 30 available from Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Staples, and other retailers, as well as the Google Play store. Google is launching the Nexus 7 in the US, France, UK, Germany, Japan, Canada, Spain, Australia, South Korea, and Germany.

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Many of these features were prematurely revealed yesterday when Best Buy began accepting pre-orders for the 16GB and 32GB device.

The news comes following the release of a nonchalant press invite last week which invited people to attend “Breakfast with Sundar Pinchai”.

Google today unveiled version 4.3 of its popular Android mobile operating system, detailing some new firmware functionality including multi-user accounts with restricted profiles.

“Parents can have peace of mind about which family members can access what content and which apps,” Google’s Hugo Barra said.

It means device owners can control the way an app behaves in separate user profiles, such as the amount of content shown to other users. Barra demonstrated how with a children’s jigsaw app, the parent would be able to slowly give their child access to new puzzles by buying them privately in their own profile. These are then unlocked in the child’s version of the app while hiding any additional content unlocked through microtransactions.

Android 4.3 also adds support for Bluetooth Smart technology – also known as Bluetooth Low Energy – enabling users to pair their Android smartphone or tablet with low powered devices such as fitness sensors.

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Google has also upped its Open GL support to version 3.0 for accelerated 3D graphics and higher fidelity graphic rendering, such as photorealistic lens flares, reflections, highlights and shadows.

Version 4.3 also packs in a new set of DRM APIs that offer a new, standarized way of encrypting full HD content. Netflix is the first company to take advantage of the new capability, offering subscribers 1080p streams for the first time in its existing Android app. Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet is the only device that supports the technology right now, but more will be supported in the future.

“Watching 1080p videos on a tablet is obviously amazing, but actually most of the premium content that you get on tablets today is standard definition,” Barra added. “That’s usually related to content protection limitations that exist on HD content.”

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Android 4.3 also adds a whole host of minor adjustments and improvements, such as faster user-switching, an auto-complete dial pad – shown off in a hands-on video created by AndroidCentral last week – as well as language support for  Africaans, Amharic, Hindi, Swahili and Zulu, users.

To coincide with the launch of Android 4.3, Google is also updating some of its in-house apps to take advantage of the 1080p display found in the new Nexus 7.

The refreshed platform was shown off by the technology giant at an event held in San Francisco by Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for Android, Chrome and Google Apps.

The latest version of Jelly Bean will ship be available for the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, original Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 later today, followed by the Google Edition HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 “soon”. It will also ship.

Another Microsoft ad disses iPad’s specs, multitasking, AirPrint and more

Wow, that was quick. Following on yesterday’s Windows 8 commercial which uses Apple’s Siri to highlight the iPad’s perceived flaws – such as its $499 price point versus an Asus VivoTab Smart and lack of Office (go figure), the Redmond-based software giant today release another ad along the same lines.

Suggestively titled ‘Comparison: iPad vs. Windows 8 Tablet’, the commercial pits an iPad 4 against an Asus Vivo Tab RT, which is based on the same ARM CPU technology like Apple’s tablet. However, the software maker has been caught cheating…

As you can see below, the commercial praises the Asus hardware for being thinner (0.37 inches versus 0.32 inches) and lighter (1.44lbs versus 1.16lbs) than the iPad 4.

Of course, the Windows maker also highlights its Office offering (“One Note app only comes with Microsoft Office”) and multitasking capabilities of Windows 8 that allow users to run two apps concurrently in split-screen mode.

You also need to buy a micro SD adapter for your iPad, the ad proclaims, and can only print to a special AirPrint-compatible printer whereas the Asus tablet prints wirelessly to “nearly all printers”.

Microsoft also has a nice web page up where users can choose to compare an iPad 4 to an Asus VivoTab Smart, Dell XPS 10, HP Envy x2 and Microsoft’s own Surface RT.


Unfortunately for Microsoft, Elliot Temple of points out that a comparison between the iPad and the Asus device on Microsoft’s web site is inaccurate, to say the least.

iMicrosoft claims the Asus tablet “has a bigger touchscreen” whereas in reality Asus’ device has 3.55 percent less area than the iPad, not 36 percent more as Microsoft depicts.


Elliot explains:

The iPad screen is 7.76 by 5.82 inches. The ASUS screen is 8.8 by 4.95 inches. ASUS is larger in one direction but smaller in the other direction, and has 3.55% less area than the iPad, not 36% more as Microsoft depicts.

How can the screen with a larger diagonal measurement be smaller? Because it’s a different shape. Long and thin gets you a bigger diagonal but a smaller screen, for the same diagonal inches.

On a related note, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates recently asserted that people are frustrated because the iPad “lacks real keyboard and real Office”.

CES 2013: What to expect from Samsung, Sony, LG, Asus, Acer and more!

In just a couple of days, geeks from all over the world will pack their bags and head on a trip to Las Vegas. And no, it won’t be because of Sin City’s cabarets, casinos, and drive-through chapels (although these are a pretty solid reason to go there too). It’s all about the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, where all of the world’s major tech companies will show off their latest products and innovations. In other words, it’s like nerd heaven on Earth!

But what products are we talking about exactly? Well, that’s a pretty good question because a great deal of the gadgets that are to be exhibited have not even been announced officially. Thankfully, the rumor mill knows no rest. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot about upcoming devices from Samsung, Sony, HTC, Asus, and the rest of the gang, so we decided to put all that we know so far together in one place. Let us begin with…


CES 2013: what to expectWe know that Samsung has quite an announcement to make at CES 2013, but that probably won’t have much to do with the rumored Galaxy S IV, whether we like it or not. Instead, what we’re expecting to see is a thorough brand overhaul: word on the street has it that Samsung is now ready to alter its identity in order to be perceived as a global company, rather than a Korean one. A new logo is also to be introduced.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that no gadgets will be present on stage, but we have little clues as to what they might be. Our guess is that Samsung won’t miss the chance to show off its bendy AMOLED screens, among which this time may be a 5.5-inch panel with 1280 by 720 pixels of resolution. And speaking of smartphone screens, it is rumored that a non-bendy, Super AMOLED display with Full HD resolution may make an appearance. That’s 1920 by 1080 pixels across 5-inches of screen real estate for you! And that’s a pretty big deal because until recently, AMOLED technology didn’t allow such high pixel densities, but it seems like Samsung has already figured out how to pack the dots closer together. If the rumors are to be trusted, this panel is going to land on the Samsung Galaxy S IV, which is likely to be announced in Q2 of 2013.

Now would also be a good time to mention that Samsung might be working on a couple of new tablets as well, although the evidence behind this claim isn’t very solid yet. The first one of these rumored devices issaid to be a 13.3-inch slate designed to mimic the functionality of an Asus Transformer. In other words, it will come with a physical keyboard dock. The second tablet is believed to be a Samsung Galaxy Note 7(or something like that) with a model name GT-N5100. The Android device was spotted on GLBenchmark, so we know that its screen has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels and that it comes with a 1.6GHz Exynos 4412 chip. If any of these two tablets is meant to ever hit the market, CES 2013 seems like a great time for an official announcement.

UPDATE: The Samsung Galaxy S IV might be at CES 2013, but only the company’s executives will be allowed to see it. There’s also the chance to hear something about the upcoming Tizen smartphones by Samsung. Could that be the huge surprise the Korean maker has for us?


CES 2013: what to expectThat Sony is working on several new Android smartphones is anything but a secret. What we don’t yet know, however, is whether the Japanese company will make them official during CES 2013, or will bring them forth a month later at MWC. Either way, what’s in stock, according to leaks and speculations, is the5-inch monsterphone known as the “Yuga”, alongside the equally potent “Odin”and the mid-range “HuaShan” Android smartphones. The first two handsets supposedly come with 1080p screens and Exmor RS cameras, while the specs of the latter are expected to be significantly inferior, although no exact details about it have been revealed yet.

UPDATE: Further details about the Sony C530X HuaShan have leaked. The smartphone will be available in multiple variants, depending on which market it is being sold in.


CES 2013: what to expectThe quad-core Tegra 4 chip by NVIDIA is expected to launch commercially in Q1 of 2013, so an announcement during CES in January seems highly plausible. With its four Cortex-A15 cores and 72 GPU cores, the new SoC should be several times more powerful than its predecessor without taking a toll on battery life. The question is, however, what device the potent piece of silicon will debut in.

Sources from the far East claim that HTC will be the first manufacturer with Tegra 4 hardware on the market, but whether that will be a tablet or a smartphone remains unclear. We’ve been hearing rumors about a phone called the HTC M7, which is supposed to be the maker’s flagship for Q1 of 2013 with its 1080p screen and all, but that device is said to be powered by a Qualcomm S4 Pro chip. That’s why seeing the Tegra 4 inside of an HTC tablet isn’t out of the question, even though the company’s previous offerings didn’t do very well on the market. And speaking of tablets, HTC is said to be preparing two of them – a 7-inch and a 12-inch slates running Windows RT. But who knows, and Android tablet may be in HTC’s plans as well, although that could only be wishful thinking. Hopefully, we’ll get to learn more about these smartphones and tablets at CES 2013


CES 2013: what to expectRecent leaks indicate that LG has a new high-end Android device in the making, packed with a 1080p display measuring 5 inches and powered by a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip. Judging by what we know about the device so far, it will most likely be offered through AT&T in the U.S. Its release date isn’t known yet, but an announcement during CES 2013 isn’t out of the question. Could that be the rumored LG Optimus G2?

What we’re also hoping to hear more about during the event is the new lineup of SoCs that LG will soon bring to the market. The chips, based on Cortex-A15 processors paired with Mali-T604 graphics, will be used to power not only mobile devices, but also smart TVs and presumably other gadgets.

Huawei & ZTE

CES 2013: what to expectDon’t underestimate any of these two Chinese companies because they will be bringing the big guns at CES 2013. At least a trio of Huawei handsets will be shown off, the most peculiar of them being the Huawei Ascend Mate. The gigantic handset is made to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the likes, which is why it comes with a massive 6.1-inch screen packing 1920 by 1080 pixels of resolution. At the same time, it will likely retail for a very reasonable $500.

Next up we have the Huawei Ascend D2, which is another flagship handset. It comes with a 5-inch Full HD screen, quad-core processor, 13-megapixel camera, and a 3,000mAh battery, which seems quite promising, doesn’t it? The third smartphone we expect to see during the show is the Huawei Ascend W1 – a very aggressively priced Windows Phone 8 device. It offers a 4.3-inch WVGA screen and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, which isn’t too shabby for something that should cost about $240.

From the folks at ZTE we expect to see the Grand S Android smartphone, which definitely doesn’t lag behind in terms of specifications. It also has a 5-inch 1080p display to offer, and according to its maker, it will be the slimmest Full HD smartphone to date with a thickness of only 7.6 millimeters. Further specs of the ZTE Grand S have not been revealed yet, but we might see a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro under its hood and a 13MP camera on its back.


CES 2013: what to expectIf rumors are to be trusted, Asus will bring a couple of 7-inch tablets to CES 2013, alongside the rest of its flashy gadgets. One of them – the Asus ME172V, is expected to be an extremely affordable Android slate with pretty modest hardware specs, such as a 7-inch 1024 by 600 pixel display and a low-end processor made by VIA. Sure, it doesn’t sound too impressive, but what is expected to make the ME172V grab consumers’ attention is its price tag of about $130 or so.

The rumored Asus ME371MG might also make an appearance at CES 2013, and what makes it special is that it has an Atom processor running inside it. Its 7-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels, and a 3-megapixel camera is said to be also on board. It is believed that the device might go on sale for under $250.

UPDATE: The Asus ME301T MemoPad 10 – a 10-inch, Tegra 3 Android tablet, is also expected to be on display.


CES 2013: what to expectWe have plenty of evidence to believe that Acer has a new, low-end tablet in stock. The Acer Iconia B1, as it is called, is a 7-inch slate sporting a modest 1.2GHz processor and a 1024 by 600 pixel screen. Yeah, its specs sheet won’t make any jaws drop, but the price will surely draw in some customers. Rumor has it that the Acer Iconia B1 will be sold for as little as $99, which is a killer price no matter how you look at it.

But in addition to that, Acer might also bring a couple of smartphones to CES 2013. These are the Acer V350 and V360, both running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The former is clearly more capable than the latter as it is equipped with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip and a 720p screen. The Acer V360, on the other hand, has to offer a 4.5-inch qHD display, dual-core 1GHz processor, and a 5-megapixel main camera.

UPDATE: More photos and details about the Acer Iconia B1 have leaked.

What not to expect at CES 2013

CES 2013: what to expectWe already mentioned that the Samsung Galaxy S IV is extremely unlikely to appear at CES 2013, but that isn’t the only device that its too early to get excited about. For example, you might have heard the reports claiming that Google is working with Motorola on a so-called “X Phone” and a tablet of some kind. Even though both of them are said to be scheduled for release in 2013, they will most likely be made official at Google’s I/O conference in May.

We can also add Nokia on the list of companies that aren’t going to steal the show at CES. In fact, the Finns might have decided to skip the event and focus on MWC instead, according to rumors. That’s why we aren’t expecting to see any new Nokia handsets or a Windows RT tablet next month. And speaking of Windows, Microsoft won’t be present either. 2012’s CES was the company’s last appearance in Vegas, so announcements revolving around Windows or Windows Phone will be scarce.

Asus Nexus 7 sales accelerate: 1 million units sold per month!

Nexus 7 sales accelerate: 1 million units sold per monthAsus has just announced one of its most prosperous quarters, and its success has a lot to do with the

Nexus 7 sales accelerate: 1 million units sold per monthstrong sales of the Nexus 7 tablets. Up until now, we knew Google’s tablet is doing okay, but we had no numbers to put this into perspective. Now, Asus reveals that the Nexus 7 sells at around 1 million units a month.

“At the beginning, it was, for instance, 500K units a month, then maybe 600, 700K. This latest month, it was close to 1 million,”Asustek CFO David Chang said.

We don’t have the actual accumulated sales figure as Google is careful to keep it a secret. This probably means that it has sold far less than the mainstream option that is the iPad, but closing in on 1 million sales is a solid figure to report on and it seems to be getting good traction.

Earlier speculations pegged Nexus 7 sales for the whole of the third quarter at between 800,000 and 1 million, but with this new
information it seems the actual sales clocked in higher.

As the Holiday quarter approaches, the Nexus 7 will fight against the iPad mini and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. It has the advantage of sporting full and unrestricted Android unlike the Kindle Fire, and can boast with a price tag of $199 for the 16GB version.

It definitely looks competitive, but it’s hard to say whether Google and Asus have enough of a sales representation to push sales to iPad-like levels.