June 27, 2012 at 9:32 AM ET
Google I/O, the search engine giant's annual developer conference is taking place in San Francisco, California this week. The show kicks off today, with a keynote event, and I'm here to report live on all that we're expecting Google to unveil, including its latest and greatest mobile operating system, a new tablet and more.
Here's what we think might be announced.
Android Jelly Bean
Jelly Bean is the code name for latest version of Google's popular mobile operating system. Even though the rumor mill has been steadily churning out little tidbits about this new Android build here and there, we don't really know too much about it.
Word is that Jelly Bean's alternate label is Android 4.1 — rather than Android 5.0 — and that it is full of little tweaks, instead of being a total revamp of Ice Cream Sandwich.
It's believed that Jelly Bean will bring improved battery life, a better search function, a native Chrome browser, and something dubbed Google Assistant — an Android-flavored counterpart to Apple's Siri.
Nexus (7?) tablet
We've been hearing that Google and hardware maker Asus are working on a tablet for quite a while, and documents discovered by Gizmodo Australia seemingly support everything we think we know about this device.
The documents — which are allegedly an instruction manual of some sort — detail that the tablet will be called the "Nexus 7" and that it will be a 7-inch device, with a 1.3Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, GeForce 12-core GPU and 1GB of RAM. The tablet will supposedly come in 8GB and 16 GB versions, which will be priced at $199 and $249, respectively.
(Observant sci-fi lovers will note that while the "7" could indicate the screen size, Nexus 7 is the the model of replicant that Deckard himself is suspected of being, in the classic "Blade Runner.")
Google's been revamping the Chrome OS, particularly its look, and it would make sense if the company were to bring it closer to Android. After all, Apple and Microsoft have taught us that there's something appealing about unified mobile and desktop operating systems, especially as this desktop OS hasn't exactly taken off.
Google introduced Google Drive, its long-anticipated cloud-storage service, about two months ago. It wouldn't be surprising if the search engine giant talked about how it plans to integrate the technology into future services or apps.
Google Maps for iOS
As you may know, Apple has ditched Google Maps in iOS 6. Many are hopeful that Google will announce an iOS app which will allow them to continue easily accessing Google Maps in the future. In theory, such an app could include an offline feature similar to the one now offered to Android users.
Google TV hasn't been a big hit so far, but Google might be looking to mix things up. How the search engine giant might go about doing that is anybody's guess at the moment — there could be new hardware, a revamped interface and appealing content partners. One such partner was announced today: Sirius XM, with its star Howard Stern, will turn up in an app for Google TV.
Google's been pretty shy about showing off its augmented reality glasses, which are part of something dubbed "Project Glass," but perhaps it'll grant developers a closer look at the technology this week.
Of course, Google could always throw some curveballs and announce something none of us expected. So for that, keep your eyes glued to our Gadgetbox blog for live coverage of the Google I/O keynote. (And if you want to hear some of my personal thoughts on the event, feel free to follow my on Twitter. I'm @rosa on there.)
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