Google I/O is only a few hours away, and right on schedule, the rumor mill is churning. By now, everyone pretty much expects a new Nexus tablet to launch, but there's also plenty more in store for Google's annual developer conference, happening in San Francisco from June 27-29. Here's a look at some of things that could be taking center stage this week.
New Nexus tablet
Google's Eric Schmidt teased a new Google tablet months ago. According to Gizmodo Australia, the highlight of Google I/O this year will be the debut of the Nexus 7, a seven-inch tablet from Google. According to the site, Gizmodo has seen an undisclosed "training document" detailing many of the forthcoming tablet's specs.
Built by Asus, the Nexus 7 will allegedly run a Tegra 3 processor, and will feature the latest iteration of Android, widely believed to be Android 4.1 Jellybean. The 1280×800 IPS display will feature 178-degree viewing angles, and be backed by a GeForce 12-core GPU with 1GB of RAM. Gizmodo pegs the price at $199 for 8GB of storage, and $249 for the 16GB model.
At under $200, the expectation seems to be that the modest Nexus 7 isn't gunning for the iPad's market so much as it is aiming for the lower price and performance of Amazon's Kindle Fire.
Get ready for Jellybean
Even though barely more than seven percent of Android users are running the latest 4.x versions of the Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich is set to be replaced by version 4.1. If the new statue at Google HQ is to be trusted, it will be called Jelly Bean.
Jellybean is rumored to feature a raft of improvements to the Android experience, but based on numerous reports, the marquee feature will be Majel, a long-rumored Google project that will voice assistance features to Android, similar to what iOS users have with Siri. Majel (inspired by Gene Roddenberry's wife) will be renamed Google Assistant in its new incarnation.
Gizmodo also notes another major new feature in Jelly Bean. OS updates will now be handled by Google, rather than waiting for individual manufacturers to update their devices to run newer versions of Android. This will likely help push those adoption numbers higher, and make for better, more consistent experiences for users, and easier app updates and support for developers.
Into the cloud
Gigaom is reporting that Google will likely be launching a cloud storage service to compete with services from Amazon and Microsoft. Om Malick writes that "experts believe that there is a wider opportunity to tap into the corporate markets. Amazon too is trying to move into the enterprise market. The enterprise developer community is also one of Microsoft’s biggest strengths, and Google wants to go after them."
Rumored to be partnering with Google on its cloud service are Rightscale and Opscode.
Google TV, take 3?
After their Google TV platform failed to impress in set-top boxes from Logitech and other makers, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google may take yet another stab at home media via its own line of Google-branded devices. Details are scarce about where these devices might be sold. They'll likely tap into Google's Play store for content, as well as stream music from users' online Google Music libraries, which have also been brought under the Google Play umbrella.
For more coverage of Google I/O, including a live stream of Wednesday morning's keynote, stay tuned to TabTimes.