Headline Newsmaker: Nexus 7

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Headline Newsmaker: Nexus 7

The debut of the Nexus 7, which will begin shipping in July, was the main headline from Google I/O, although plenty of other news was announced. The Nexus 7 is a powerful new tablet that will compete not only with Amazon's Kindle and others, but also directly with the market leader, iPad. At $199 it will be a compelling buy for many people.

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Nexus 7's Impressive Specifications

The Nexus 7 is a powerful 7-inch, quad-core-driven tablet that is highly advanced and should prove to be a worthy competitor to comparable tablets currently on the market. The numbers here speak for themselves.

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Jelly Bean 4.1 Takes Over

The new version of Google's Android operating system sports a lot of new features, including a new interface, new developer tools and plenty of new software add-ons.

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New Android Interface

Jelly Bean 4.1's newly revamped user interface is easier to use as well as smoother and quicker to the touch, Google said.

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Smooth as Buttah

Google's internal Project Butter shows its R&D work in Jelly Bean 4.1. The new tablet (and subsequent smartphones) now have a much improved touch response. It also features virtual machine synchronization and triple buffering ability.

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Voice-to-Type Feature

Jelly Bean 4.1 also includes Voice to Type, which earned a loud ovation from the 6,000 attendees at the conference. The user does not have to be online to use this feature. A live demonstration showed that it appears to work accurately.

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Google+ at Age One

The Google+ network was launched on June 28, 2011, and since that day, more than 250 million people have signed up for accounts, 150 million use it on a monthly basis and half of them sign in daily. Twelve people sign up every second, Google said.

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Google+ Events Introduced

Google+ accounts are coming more alive with Google+ Events, which enables users to create customized event invitations, capture the happenings at the event live on the real-time Google+ status column. Users can aggregate and share photos and videos of the event with everybody who attended.

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Live Photo Stream on Your Google+ Status

Spinning off the previous slide, users of Google+ Events can log into something called Party Mode, if they're all Google+ users. This enables party-goers to upload their photos in real time to their Google+ accounts and share them all with other party-goers. For the first time, party-goers can get different perspectives from the event in real time and not have to follow up at a later date with email attachments or online photo services.

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Google+ for Tablets

Google said it has been promising this for a while and now it's here: a specialized app just for tablets. Just in time, too, for the Nexus 7. Funny how that worked out.

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Google Introduces the Nexus Q

The official name is the Nexus Q, but Google personnel just called it the Q. This is a new globe-like, cloud-based device that streams photos, audio and video from Google's cloud (and Google+) into any room in a home. In fact, guests at a Q-equipped home visiting for a party can "take over" control of the Q and change the music and/or movie—should the host not object.

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How the Q Hooks Up

Once it is indoctrinated into the Google cloud, the Q can be moved around to various locations in the house as needed. The company said it put a lot of time and effort into the R&D to come up with the globe-like form factor.

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Controlled by Nexus 7

Instructions (queued-up videos, photos, music) for the Q can be handled by the new Jelly Bean 4.1-powered Nexus 7.

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Q Use Case: Sharing a Movie

With a Q on duty running the entertainment, a user can simply bring his/her Nexus 7 into the room and change the channel, movie or music as desired. Of course, the master or mistress of the house would have to give approval. OK, maybe not.

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Elbow-to-Elbow at Google I/O

Crowds were in evidence everywhere on the first day of the conference, which drew an international crowd of about 6,000—capacity for the Moscone West conference center in downtown San Francisco.

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Real Green Android Grins and Greets Everyone

This little guy was up early to greet many of the approximately 6,000 attendees of the fifth annual Google I/O Conference at Moscone West in San Francisco.