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15 May 2013 @ 04:01 pm
Google IO  
So Google had their IO conference today. There was a lot of stuff discussed that i don't have much interest in.

There were two high points in my opinion, the new "All Access" music streaming service. It costs $9.99 a month normally, but there's a special introductory offer of $7.99 a month if you sign up before July. It gives you access to all the music Google has, and also adds Pandora/Rhapsody type features of auto-suggestions based on the kind of music you say you like and the ability to create "radio stations" based off of a particular song.

The other item of interest was the hardware announcement. There was no Nexus 5 or Motorola X, nor anything about a relaunch of the Nexus Q. There wasn't even an anouncement about upgrades to the Nexus 4, 7 or 10.

Instead, they announced that late in June they will start selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 through the Google Play store, and it will be unsubsidized, fully unlocked, with vanilla Android, and will receive new updates in line with the Nexus devices. In other words, it's a Nexus Galaxy S4 in everything but name.

The only downside is that, being unsubsidized, it will cost $650. Also, being what it is, it's a somewhat large phone. Of course the Nexus 4 is also rather large. In fact it seems pretty much impossible to get a top-tier phone these days in anything other than large or extra-large.

So i could get a Nexus 4 for $350 (for the 16GB version) or a Galaxy S4 for $650 (also 16GB.) The one big advantage of the S4, aside from a pretty decent upgrade to CPU and other minor hardware bits, is the addition of a MicroSD card slot. (As stated in past posts, my big fear about the Nexus 4 is that i would quickly run out of space, especially given the way Nexus 7 has filled up.)

Now if they offered a Galaxy S3 under the same conditions but for $400 (according to Amazon you can currently get an unloced S3 for $450 and an unlocked S4 for $700) i might be tempted by that, though it would be a significant CPU and screen downgrade from even the Nexus 4. But it does have the microSD card slot like the S4.

The HTC One is also pretty cool, and i really like the idea of putting the speakers on the front, but like the Nexus 4 it also lacks a microSD card slot.

One thing i haven't really looked into is how good the camera is on all of those options, and i don't mean in terms of megapixels =P The rumor is that the Motorola X is actually going to feature a decent camera (as in improved lens and sensor, not just more pixels) so i'm rather interested in that, but it's obviously not currently an option.

As for the rest, i don't care that much about multiplayer gaming so their gaming announcement didn't do much for me. And after a small-scale furor amongst enthusiasts over the past couple weeks about whether Google would announce Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, 4.3 Key Lime Pie, or 4.3 Jelly Bean, Google ended up announcing... absolutely nothing :) The "Okay Google" voice stuff was nice from a technological viewpoint, but not groundbreaking and not anything i'm particularly interested in. And the new photo and maps features sounded at some points cool and at other points kind of disturbing. (Tagging photos based on facial recognition combined with who you have in your "Family" circle in G+? Giving recommendations in Maps based on what your G+ friends have tagged?)

(And for those who haven't seen my G+ post, they also restructures the G+ feed into a multi-column layout. They promised we could go back to single column via settings, but if you do it just replaces the multiple columns with a single column in the middle without returning any of the old UI elements, which is equally ugly.)
 
 
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