Google I/O: Nexus Tablets, Android Updates And Google Glass Explorer Edition Anounced

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Google has announced new updates to its Android phone operating system, a new tablet and a preview version of its prototype augmented reality glasses at its I/O developer conference.

Among the highlights were the 'Explorer Edition' of its Google Glass AR project.

The $1,500 specs, which will be available next year, should support video capture as well as video chat, shopping, line-of-sight display and photo sharing.

They are aimed specifically at developers who want to help drive the project forward, and not the general public.

Google displayed the glasses and what they can (currently) do in a video featuring, among other things, skydiving:

For users of its mobile operating system, Google announced Android 4.1 (aka 'Jelly Bean'.

And while most Android users haven't yet upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich, released about six months ago, Google said the announcement marked a crucial update for the system.

Improvements include 'Project Butter', which is aimed at system-wide performance improvements and response times, meaning animations and app launches are much more smooth.

The home screen was also updated, with resizable widgets, offline voice dictation, a new camera app and updates to the notification system.

Google also made its much-rumoured Nexus 7 tablet official.

The seven-inch device will retail for $199 (£159) in the US, placing it in direct competition with Amazon's Kindle Fire - which itself runs a modified version of Google's Android OS.

The device, built by Asus, features a 1280x800 screen, a quad-core Tegra 3 chip, a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera and 8GB of flash memory.

The tablet will ship in the UK in mid July and can be pre-ordered now.

Google also unveiled the Nexus Q, which is a media streaming device designed to link Android products together in the living room.

Other announcements included:

Super-detailed 3D maps for some cities in Google Earth
Chrome browser finally released for Android
Google Play starts selling movies, TV shows and magazines
Google Plus has 250 million users

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