Reactions to Google I/O 2012

Jelly Bean and Nexus 7 and Nexus Q…OH MY!

Yesterday’s keynote at Google I/O was impressive. I’m tempted to put an asterisk on that sentence but this year, it feels like Google is ready to deliver on its mobile promises. Here’s what caught my eye outside of the typical items the press covered.

Jelly Bean

  • Android 4.1: Jelly Bean is no small update; while not stated, it’s obvious Google is not bumping up to 5.0 due to lack of adoption of Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Project Butter: One of my long complaints about Android is that scrolling (in particular) is still not silky smooth; the demo’s showing performance increases of Jelly Bean over Ice Cream Sandwich looked great
  • Offline Voice Typing: Voice to text is all I really want Siri to do and it usually can’t due to network issues…nice win
  • Better Notifications: Much more useful, notifications are actionable and can perform common functions of an app without having to open it at all
  • Smart App Updates: Delta updates of what’s changed in an APK are very useful, especially over cellular connections; Google can use this feature to entice carriers to push out Jelly Bean

Nexus 7

  • Nexus: Google’s doing its best to make the Nexus brand relevant but at least in my non-technical circles, I mostly hear “Droid” still when people talk about Android; look at the website and notice the branding emphasis on Nexus instead of Google, which continues to seem a big mistake
  • 7″: There’s another similarly sized device running a version of Android that’s doing well; unlike Amazon’s Kindle Fire though, the Nexus 7 benefits from a true tablet-optimized experience
  • $199: Also following the Fire’s aggressive pricing model, Google is clearly pulling all the levers it can to get its flagship tablet in customer’s hands
  • Content Emphasis: Google is giving away $25 credits to the Google Play store, a free Transformers movie, and some other content for a limited time, showing they believe content is king on the Nexus 7; this squarely pits the Nexus 7 against the Kindle Fire, which is likely part of Google’s strategy (i.e., compare buying the Nexus 7 over the Kindle Fire…not the Nexus 7 over the iPad)

Nexus Q

  • “Q”: Sounds like the name of a smartphone and not a media device; if Google wanted to stick with “Nexus” at least give it a non-mobile device name
  • Over-the-air: A smarter strategy than trying to load up the Nexus Q with apps that are specific for it; while Google mentioned 600,000 apps, they are still behind in overall quality and quantity and don’t need another place for developers to focus right now
  • Collaborative Focus: Features like having multiple people being able to control a Nexus Q with an Android device is definitely a nice to have but still may not be worth another $200 over an Apple TV