Aug 23 2013

Two Neat New Google Gadgets

You may not have noticed with all the talk of Apple’s iOS 7 and possibly a new iPhone, but Google has been developing some impressive new gadgets lately also. The press event in San Francisco on July 24th was a big day for Google to unveil what they have been working on.


The most noteworthy is the HDMI device that allows you to stream content from your computer directly to your television – the Chromecast. The small USB-sized device is very simple to use; all you do is plug Chromecast into the HMDI port on your HDTV, connect it to your home’s WiFi network, and start streaming content from sites such as Netflix or YouTube while you control it all using your Smartphone or tablet.

While it is being compared to Apple’s AirPlay and looked at with a skeptical eye after Google’s not-so-successful Nexus Q, Chromecast seems to stand apart and has most of the problems figured out.

The only problem comes from its app-specific nature. Chromecast currently only supports data from these select sites:

  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • Google Music
  • Chrome (for Windows or Mac)

But Google is working on adding more content, as well as fixing the kinks with Chrome streaming. As it is now, Netflix and YouTube are the most seamless to use, and in an article on, Google claims that 50 percent of what people watch online comes from those two sites anyway. However I’m sure more than a few people who would argue that Hulu and Hulu Plus shouldn’t be discounted so quickly.

One very handy feature about the Chromecast is that it allows you to queue a playlist of videos or movies. Your family and friends can add to and edit the queue, and you have the ability to change it as you begin watching something.

Nexus 7 Tablet

Google revealed the latest version of the Nexus 7 tablet at the event as well, and the changes they made are getting some attention.

As with most next generation devices, it is slimmer, lighter, and has more power and speed. The new tablet is specifically two millimeters slimmer than the previous version with a noticeable weight difference and a 1.5 GHz processor, reports Mashable.

Google has also elongated the tablet by making the side bezels smaller and the end bezels larger. This distinguishing feature will supposedly make gaming in landscape mode easier, giving the user room to hold the device without a stray thumb hitting the screen accidentally.

The 7-inch screen size didn’t change with the new version, but the screen itself certainly has. The high-definition LCD display went from a resolution of 1280×800 to one of 1920×1200 and has gained 107 pixels in the process. The 323 pixels it now has for your viewing pleasure are the highest of any tablet out there, and certainly make for an impressive viewing experience, according to Mashable.

The new Nexus 7 also comes with two cameras, a 5.0 megapixel rear one and a 1.2 megapixel front one, as well as Bluetooth and a micro USB 2.0 port that doubles for charging and data conveyance.

When Can I Get Them?

Head of Chrome and Chrome OS projects, Sundar Pichai, predicts that people will be looking to buy tablets over computers by the end of 2013; hence why Google has been working hard at developing a competitive tablet.

You can pre-order the 16GB Nexus 7 for $230 or the 32GB one for $270 online at Best Buy’s site, or wait until July 30th when it will be available on Amazon and Google Play as well as on store shelves.

A 32GB 4G LTE unlocked version that can work on any carrier will also be available for $350.

As for the $35 Chromecast, it’s already sold out on Google Play, but it will also be available through Amazon and Best Buy.

Andrew loves keeping up with the latest in technology and blogging about it. He currently works for a computer training company named Phoenix TS.

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