We’re live from San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, where Google has asked a couple dozen of us tech-minded folk to join them for the announcement of… something.
What exactly that something could be is still (kind of) a mystery — but we’re here to find out.
Google has kept pretty hush on what to expect, save for one key detail: the event is going to be lead by Sundar Pichai, who you might remember as the guy who took over the Android team after its founder, Andy Rubin, jumped to a new project. With that said, Pichai also leads the Chrome and Google Apps teams…
Will we see the official debut of Android 4.3? The long-rumored new version of the Nexus 7 tablet? Both? Or something else entirely?
The event is scheduled to start at 9 A.M Pacific, but we’ll be bringing you photos and commentary from the scene by way of our liveblog down below, beginning whenever things start to get interesting — so tune in early!
Thanks for tuning in, folks! Off to the hands-on room!
Aaand that’s it! Looks like we’re wrapping up.
We’re rolling into a lil’ promo video of the Chromecast, which is… basically a video of a bunch of people playing videos. But with fun, dancy music!
Chromecast will go up for order through Amazon and Best Buy later today.
Chromecast will retail for $35 dollars
He’s now recapping:
- Chromecast already plays friendly with Youtube, Netflix, Google Video, Google Music, and Chrome. Pandora support is coming soon.
- Works without remotes, as you use your device to control it
- Works across platforms, on Android, iOS, and Chrome for both Windows and Mac
Mario Queiroz has retaken the stage to talk about how developers can integrate with Chromecast. It’s all done through the Google Cast SDK, and Mario is quick to specify that you won’t need to build a whole new app — it integrates into the apps you’ve already built. The dev preview of the SDK will launch today.
He moves into a sneak preview of a beta feature, which allows any app — not just video/music stuff — to project itself into Chromecast. He demonstrates Chrome running over Chromecast. Only the meat of the Chrome page content is brought onto the TV. The Chrome UI, and the rest of the Windows UI for that matter, isn’t streamed.
He pops into YouTube in Chrome on a laptop. The Chromecast button will appear built directly into the YouTube video player
They’ve jumped into Pandora running on an iOS device — works their, too.
Chromecast isn’t limited to video; it’ll work for music, as well. They’re demonstrating the Google Music app through Chromecast now. He hits play, taps the Chromecast icon, and the music starts blaring from the TV, the album art taking over the screen.
If you’ve got multiple devices all connected to Chromecast, Chromecast won’t be tied to any of them. You can pause on your iPhone, for example, pick up your tablet, and immediately take control and begin playing from the same place.
They jump into the iOS Netflix app — looks like it’s already Chromecast compatible.
Chromecast will play friendly with the iPhone, not just Android.
You can continue to use your phone independently; once the video is playing on your TV, you can use your phone for other tasks. Even if you sleep the phone, the video keeps playing. You can pause/skip videos from the lockscreen.
If multiple people are connected to the same Chromecast, you can build group playlists. That’s clever as hell. Youtube parties!
Volume of the playing video can be controlled on the phone.
We’re rolling into a demo of how Chromecast works. They launch the Android Youtube app, which looks pretty much identical to the app as it does now — save for the Chromecast button at the top. He taps it, and selects his TV; the video begins playing on the TV immediately.
Chromecast integrates into the apps you already use on your tablet, phone, or PC. You push a chromecast button, and it pushes that video to your TV. It’s like Apple’s airplay, but it sounds like it’s cross platform.
“Take it out of the box, plug it into HDMI, power it over USB, connect it to WiFi, and you’re done.”
Chromecast is a tiny, itty-bitty dongle that runs a simplified version of Chrome OS
“Introducing Chromecast — the easiest way to bring your online entertainment to your TV”
“We realized that a proper tv solution needed 3 things: it needed to be fast and easy, there should be nothing new to learn, and it should work across ALL platforms and devices.”
“To talk about how we’re using Chrome to solve this problem, let me invite Mario to the stage” (Yep — sounds like the rumored Chromecast video dongle, or something similar)
Sundar has taken the stage to talk about video, and how much online video we consume.
“But most of this video watching happens on your phones, your tablets, or your computers. But the TV is missing out. It’s the most immersive experience in your house, but only 15% of households in the US are figuring out how to get online video to their TV”
We’re moving into a lil’ promo ad for the nexus 7, showing how the new Nexus 7 might integrate into a family’s life. The kid uses it for school work! The mom uses it to catch up on news! (The dad uses it for… shh, don’t ask what dad uses the tablet for.)
Here’s the spec sheet side-by-side, comparing the original Nexus 7 with the new guy:
The new Nexus 7 will be available in 3 models: the 16gb Wifi for 229, the 32 GB wifi model for 269, and 32 GB LTE model for 349. The Wifi Model will start shipping on July 30th, with the LTE model shipping in “coming weeks”
“At launch, we’ll have a comprehensive collection of text books from all 5 major publishing houses. Books can be purchased, or rented for 6 months at a time. Text books will be available in early august.”
“The new Nexus 7 is for more than just games! It’s also great for reading books, and for students. For those students, we’re launching a new section of Google Play: textbooks”
More game demos! Now we’re seeing Asphalt 8, which will launch in August
We’re checking out some demos of games running on the new Nexus 7, beginning with a waverunner-esque racing game, Riptide GP 2, following up with a side-scrolling Prince of Persia game that’s set to launch tomorrow.
We’re moving into a bit on the Google Play store, mostly recapping things they previewed at I/O; the new tablets-centric section of the Play store, the Google Play game services that brought things like cloud save and multiplayer.
We’re moving into a demo of Google Hangouts, showing of screen sharing on the device.
“You’re remotely watching someone edit a document, from your tablet! It’s great.”
He’s now demonstrating the recently launched Google Maps overhaul, which we wrote up here.
Hugo moves into demonstrating Chrome on the Nexus 7/Android 4.3. When you scroll down, Chrome now hides much of the UI to automatically go into fullscreen mode. It’s also picking up the automatic translate feature from its desktop counterpart, translating pages on the fly
Here’s the bulk of the new stuff in Android 4.3:
The original Nexus 7, the nexus 4, the galaxy nexus, and the nexus 10 will start to get Android 4.3 today
Hugo: Watching 1080p content on a tablet is great, but most of the content you get today is actually standard definition. This is because the lack of DRM. With Android 4.3, we’re introducing hardware-level encryption for DRM. The first group we’re partnering with this is Netflix, allowing you to stream 1080p netflix content to your Android device.
Also new: the OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics system, allowing for considerably more detail in games; according to Hugo, they’re the first to support it.
One of the other demoers on stage is wearing a low-energy bluetooth heart rate monitor.
“Heh. Looks like his heart rate isn’t… all that low right now.”
Also new in Android 4.3: Bluetooth Smart, or Bluetooth low-energy.
Hugo is running through a demo of the restricted access feature, walking through how you can limit an account to only run certain apps. Apps can even be configured to hide in-app purchase items from kids.
New to Android 4.3: advanced multi-user support, bringing in “restricted profiles”. Restricted profiles lets parents limit what their child’s account can do, for example.
“This is the first device shipping with Android 4.3, the new version of Jelly Bean that we’re just showing today”
It’ll do 9 hours of HD video playback, or 10 hours of web browsing.
It’ll have 4G LTE, with AT&T/Tmobile/Verizon support in one device
It’s got a 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 pro CPU, and 2GB of RAM
There’s a 1.2 megapixel camera on the front, with a 5 mp camera on the back
The new Nexus 7 has dual speakers, allowing movies/games to be played in proper stereo.
The new display can show a 30% wider range of colors
Bumping the DPI from 216 to 323, which Hugo says is the highest of any tablet
They’re bumping the res from 1280×800 to 1920×1200
(This is very much the Nexus 7 that leaked over the past 24 hours or so)
Hugo: In designing the Nexus 7, we’ve focused on simplifying the device. We’ve kept the same soft touch back that people loved in the original.
It’s almost 2mm thinner than the original Nexus 7. We reduced the size bezel by almost 3mm on each side.
Hugo: The Nexus 7 has been a huge hit, so we’re going to follow up with another one.
Hugo Barra, VP of Android product management, has taken the stage
Google saw the rate of Android tablet adoption spike with the launch of the original Nexus 7.
“Since launch, the Nexus 7 alone has accounted for over 10% of Android tablet sales.”
He’s sharing some Google Play stats: they’ve surpassed 50B downloads, and have seen a 2.5x increase in revenue per user in the past few months. The Google Play store now has over 1 million apps.
Sundar moves into stats about tablet adoption. They see it blowing past the PC adoption rate
Sundar: Between Android and Chrome, we have a solution for ALL of the devices that are in our user’s lives. The first thing we’re talking about today is [a tablet]. The second thing is from Chrome, and it helps you unify the experience across all your screens.
Sundar: Our goal is to make an experience that is beautiful and consistent across tablets, laptops, and phones. The way we do this is with two platforms: Android and Chrome.
“It’s been a few weeks since we last spoke at Google IO. We’ve got a bunch of exciting updates to share with you”
Sundar Pichai has taken the stage
“We’ve got a lot of exciting updates to share with you from both the Android and the Chrome team”
Looks like it’s go time!
We’re still waiting for the show to start, presumably because of last second connectivity issues.
Wuh oh — connectivity is already tanking. Sounds like the live video stream of the event is even having trouble.
Still waitin’ for the show to begin
10 minutes ’til the show is scheduled to start!
If you were concerned that there was no bacon at this event, don’t worry: there’s bacon. Literally all of the bacon.
Boom, seated! Not a bad view.
Here we go! The line shifted to an entirely different door at the very last second. (That happens at seriously every single event, by the way)
Startin’ to get a bit more crowded. Just a few more minutes ’till doors open!
Greg: Oh, the conversations you hear in a tech event press line:
“Thats why I use a gas stove, man — NSA can’t get that shit.”
Greg: Not many people here yet. Just a few of us dweebs standing out in the cold, a bunch of valets (that no one expected, so no one drove), and a big ol’ satellite news van
Greg: I’m here! Party in the nondescript grey building. I’m in line, just waiting to grab a badge and get in now. Doors should open around 8:30 A.M. Pacific, with the announcement itself starting at 9 A.M.
Will Google still have anything up their sleeve to announce this morning? Tune in to find out.
The event is scheduled to start at 9 A.M Pacific (That’s noon Eastern, 1 A.M. Tokyo, and 5 P.M. London), but tune in early!
Spoiler alert! Wait, can I spoiler alert a liveblog? Anyway, continuing their long established habit of spilling the beans, Best Buy has just put up a pre-order page for the new Nexus 7.
According to the product page, the new Nexus 7 will have:
- A 7 inch IPS display (1920 x 1200)
- 5.0 megapixel rear camera
- 1.2 megapixel front camera
- 2GB internal memory.
- Android 4.3
And will come in 16GB and 32GB varieties for $230 and $270 respectively.
The event is scheduled to start at 9 A.M Pacific (That’s noon Eastern, 1 A.M. Tokyo, and 5 P.M. London), but tune in early!