Nexus for Breakfast: Google’s Sundar Pichai Discusses Latest Tablet, Google Play Additions and Chromecast for TV
Today at 9am PST/12pm EST, Google invited journalists to “Breakfast with Sundar Pichai,” to serve up its latest Android and Chrome developments since Google I/O. A few other Google heads joined Pichai in revealing and explaining Google’s new Nexus 7 Tablet, the latest from Google Play and Chromecast. The latter is a new device that aims to make it quick, easy and efficient to stream video, music and photos from connected devices to a TV screen.
The New Nexus 7
The main dish, naturally, was Google’s new 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet, launched today. At 0.64lbs (290 grams), the tablet is lighter and thinner than its previous generation. Google is especially proud of its 1080p resolution, the highest in the market.
The new Nexus 7 has 1.8 times the original CPU and 4 times the GPU of the original. Endgaget’s Terrence O’Brien notes that this represents its move “to a 1.5GHz quad-core S4 Pro from Qualcomm that comes paired with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM.” The new tablet allows for 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or e-reading as well as wireless charging with a Qi-compatible charger. One of Pichai’s colleagues, Hugo Barra, highlighted improved features with the graphic below.
Starting July 30th, the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version will be available for $229.99. The 32GB Wi-Fi-only model will retail for $269.99. The 32GB 4G LTE version will cost $349.
Google Play Store News
Barra, says the “universe of amazing content in Google Play [defines] owning and using the Nexus 7.” Product Manager Ellie Powers explained the new gaming services platform, already being used by millions of people through the new hub called “Google Play Games.” Utilizing Google+ circles, Google Play Games features multiplayer options and achievements and leaderboards records.
Google is also reaching out to students with a new app called “Textbooks.” According to Powers, this app includes a comprehensive selection of titles from all 5 major publishing houses. Launching in August, students can purchase or rent books through Textbooks for up to an 80% discount.
Chromecast is what Pichai calls Google’s “Chrome-based solution” to the challenge of connecting media from smartphones, tablets and computers to TV. Just two inches in length, the Chromecast device plugs into any HDMI TV input and connects to in-house WiFi to conveniently stream video, photos and music from phones, tablets or computers. Google concedes that not everyone uses Android, which is why Chromecast is compatible with iPads, iPhones, Macs, PCs and a range of other devices. Google’s Mario Queiroz breaks it down in the following steps: “Once Chromecast is plugged in, you just go to YouTube on your smartphone. You’ll see the cast button in your UI and you press it – Chromecast will pull the info you requested from the cloud and play it on your TV.” Users can multi-task on their smartphone or tablet without disturbing the video as it plays on TV. Video, music and photos will continue to display on TV even if the phone is in sleep mode so as not to drain the connected device’s battery.
Developers will not need to re-build apps for Chromecast. Google has launched a developer preview of the “Google Cast SDK” for iOS, Android and Chrome, which will require only a few modifications to existing mobile and web apps.
Queiroz says, “Over time, we expect this technology to be embedded in the devices made by our partners.” For now, Chromecast can be purchased for $35 and is available via Amazon and Google Play. Retail stores will start carrying the device July 28th. Chromecast buyers will receive 3 months of Netflix free with their purchase.
As Dana Wollman of Endgaget notes, just 10 weeks ago Google reported 900 million Android activations. Today Pichai indicated that over 70 million tablets had been activated and Google exceeded 50 billion app downloads across all Android devices. The new Nexus 7, Google Play additions and Chromecast seem poised to help Google continue its upswing.
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