Nexus 7 tablet hitting a few lucky hands already

The launch of the Nexus 7 Android tablet has been, at best, a little muddy. The listing on Google Play still has it shipping in 1 to 2 weeks. Some retailers apparently have been told to sit on their stock. Gamestop apparently isn’t one of them. We’ve gotten numerous tips that folks are being told to head in and pick up their preorders, and one such lucky person is Captain Crossbones on Twitter. (Great name, btw.)

So, yep. There’s the Nexus 7 tablet. The cool kids are getting them. Those who ordered directly from Google are still waiting. And, yes, that’s a bit bassackwards.

But you all can have one thing in common: Read our full Nexus 7 review and head over to our Nexus 7 forums pronto, to see what all the fuss is about.

Source: @captcrossbones

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Jelly Bean feature: A more functional notification drop-down [video]

Google took its first steps towards redesigning the Android notification tray in Ice Cream Sandwich, and in the latest version, 4.1 Jelly Bean, it’s taken things a step further, creating truly informative and interactive notification entries that border on widget-like levels of interactivity. In addition to the standard icon-and-label combo we’re used to from earlier Android versions, many Jelly Bean-compatible notifications can be expanded by dragging down with a two-finger gesture. For example, if you’ve got an IM notification, you can swipe down with two fingers to view the first few lines of the message.

In addition, you’ll find that notifications from many Google apps now feature buttons that allow you to perform certain tasks without entering the app. Google Calendar events, for instance, include a button to snooze the event (you can still swipe it away to dismiss it). And after capturing a screenshot, there’s a handy “Share” button that you can use to send it via social networks, or any other sharing app you have installed.

Gmail is where I find this feature most useful, though. Swiping down on a Gmail notifications in Jelly Bean allows you to view a list of subject lines and senders, assuming you’ve got multiple messages waiting. Or alternatively, if there’s just one, you can view the sender, subject line, and the first several lines of the message — more than enough to work out if it’s worth jumping into the app to respond. It’s a great way to take advantage of the extra visual real estate offered by the Nexus 7, and looks good on the Galaxy Nexus too, assuming you’re not already drowning in notifications.

We’ve got a brief video showing of all these features after the break. Also be sure to check out the rest of our Jelly Bean feature articles.

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Sam’s Club taking Nexus 7 preorders, but does it actually know when it’s shipping?

Just a quick heads up that Sam’s Club is now taking preorders for the Google Nexus 7 tablet. You know, our new favorite tablet. Prices are in line with Google Play, at up to $249 for the 16GB version (which we’d recommend getting).

But here’s the thing: Sam’s Club’s listing July 17-20 as possible shipping dates. All other third-party retailers’ dates have fallen through. (Not that we ever really though they were right in the first place.) Just something to be aware of. The official Google Play listing still has it shipping in 1 to 2 weeks, and that’s the one we’re keeping an eye on.

Source: Sam’s Club; _thanks to everyone who’s sent this in_

http://dlvr.it/1rS6Pn

Nexus 7 will wake when a magnetic cover is removed (it’s an oldie but a goodie)

So apparently the Nexus 7 tablet has a little magnetic sensor hidden under the display that can trigger the display to turn on. Not exactly a new phenomenon, but interesting because until now, it’s a feature that’s gone unmentioned.

The way it works is you have a cover or case that also has a magnet inside, and that second magnet lines up with the corresponding spot on the device. Remove the second magnet, and the phone says, “Hey! I’m alive, and it’s time to wake up now!”

Again, these are not new. Not now, not with the iPad’s Smart Cover. We’ve been using them long since the bad old days of Windows Mobile. And it’s a staple on BlackBerry. (Anyone remember when software could actually screw up this sort of thing?) But it leads us to believe we’ll see that feature arise again in the official Nexus 7 case from Google, and probably in the ones from ASUS as well.

There’s video after the break if you need videographic proof of this force of nature.

Here’s the real question, though: How the hell did _iFixit_, which can spot the serial number on underside of the world’s smaller circuit board, miss this one? Good thing we mentioned the magnetometer in our Nexus 7 review, eh?

Via Android Police

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Google’s ninja unboxing gets even weirder (or funnier) with the Nexus 7

Your call, really.

http://dlvr.it/1rCjcP

Android 4.1.1 pushing to the Nexus 7 tablet, boosts performance, adds Google wallet

The Google Nexus 7 tablet isn’t quite available to the general public yet, but our Google I/O edition’s just gotten an update. As you can see from the screen above, the 12.6MB update to Android 4.1.1 — which just hit the AOSP servers yesterday —  ”improves performance and responsiveness system wide.” It also goes on to pimp out some of the newer features of Jelly Bean, including Google Now and the new notifications.

If you’ve already rooted your Nexus 7, this update will flash so long as you have stock recovery. OTA Rootkeeper works as it should, too, so you’ll have no issues getting root access back. (Not that we ever though you would — this is a Nexus after all.)

It also looks like local search is still enabled, which Jerry just finished explaining means we likely will see an update to Google’s proprietary apps to get around that pesky Apple patent thing.

Also of note is that if you haven’t installed Google Wallet before, it’ll be there now. If there ever was a doubt Google was going to stick with its mobile payment solution, put it out of your mind.

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Android 4.1 Jelly Bean released to Android Open Source Project

Android Open Source Project guru Jean-Baptiste Queru sends word that the new version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean, is being released to AOSP today. This process is the first step in the official release of Jelly Bean, allowing anyone and everyone to download the Android 4.1 source code and compile their own version of the OS. It’s also an important milestone towards getting Jelly Bean out there on existing devices. The exact version number that’s being released is Android 4.1.1_r1, so it’s likely that this will be the final shipping version of Jelly Bean, just as Android 4.0.1 was for ICS. (We’re seeing no OTAs on our Google I/O Jelly Bean devices just yet, though.)

The code being published right now includes proprietary binaries that allows Jelly Bean to be built for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7, and Nexus S and Motorola Xoom binaries are promised in the near future. As always, note that this source code is for developers only — you can’t download this and magically get Jelly Bean on your device — it’s a bit more complicated than that. Nevertheless, today’s release will be exciting for Android devs and custom ROM enthusiasts, as it starts the process of getting popular custom ROMs merged with the Jelly Bean code, and eventually pushed out to eager ROM flashers.

Source: JBQ on Google Groups

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Why Nexus devices have no SD card

The Internet is hard at work debating the merits of the Nexus 7 tablet, and the biggest arguments are about the lack of expandable storage, or an SD card, as you likely know it. It seems like everyone and their brother has a theory about why the hottest tablet to hit Android so far will be shipping without one. The most popular reason revolves around some conspiracy that Google is to forcing you to use its cloud services. While I’m sure Google would love nothing more than users depending on Google Drive or Google Music — and there’s certainly a big push for it — that’s not the reason devices have been trending away from expandable storage.

Wanna know what it really is? Sure you do.

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Staples to see the Nexus 7 this month

If for some reason you’ve got an aversion to ordering online, you’ll soon be able to pick up the Google Nexus 7 tablet in another brick-and-mortar store. Staples today announced that it’ll carry both versions of the Nexus 7 (that’d be the 8- and 16-gigabyte versions) later this month, for the same price as Google Play — $199 and $249 respectively. 

Google Play is still showing a 2- to 3-week shipping time for the Nexus 7, which had preview versions distributed to attendees of the Google I/O developer conference earlier this month in San Francisco. The Nexus S is one of the first devices — and is the first tablet — to run the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean version of the Android OS.

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Why we don’t need another version of Android this year

The case for sticking with Jelly Bean until 2013

Android followers, more than most smartphone communities, are constantly focused on the future, be it the next major OS update, or the next big smartphone from HTC, Samsung or Motorola. So with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean due to be open-sourced in a matter of weeks, some are already pontificating on what might be coming in the next version of Android, rumored to be nicknamed “Key Lime Pie.”

Conventional wisdom suggests that, just like Gingerbread in 2010 and ICS in 2011, the next version of Android could make an appearance sometime in the fourth quarter of 2012. But the current state of the Android ecosystem indicates that this might not be the best course of action for Google, its OEMs or their customers. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at why Google should stick with Android 4.1 until 2013, and push Android forward with hardware, not software later in the year.

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Nexus 7 tipped for July 19 launch in UK stores

It’s expected sometime this month, but the exact launch date of Google and ASUS’ Nexus 7 around the world remains something of a mystery. But in the UK, it seems at least one retailer has a firm date in mind — Currys, part of the Dixons Group, is listing the 16GB, £200 Jelly Bean tablet with an expected launch date of Thursday, July 19. As a pre-order (or “reservation”) price, this is always subject to change, but Currys and other Dixons stores have a history of being fairly accurate with this sort of thing. And July 19 also jives quite nicely with the expected Canadian launch date of July 14.

It’s worth remembering that Currys and most other major UK retailers are only offering the 16GB, £200 model for sale. Currently, it looks like the newly-launched Google Play devices store is the only place you’ll be able to get your hands on the cheaper 8GB variant, which is priced at £159. At the time of writing, Google Play is still listing the both flavors of Nexus 7 as “shipping in 2-3 weeks.”

Source: Currys; via: Eurodroid

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Nexus 7 review

The long-awaited Google Nexus 7 tablet is upon us, and for many it is all we ever dreamed of. But not everything is perfect.

Since you’re reading this, chances are you’re an Android fan. That means you’re as excited as we are about the new Nexus 7 tablet, and what Google can bring to the table with a tablet where it alone controls both the hardware and the software. It’s good to be excited about it, it’s a big step in a direction we’ve been wanting for a long time. 

About 6,000 lucky folks got there hands on a Nexus 7 when Google handed them out at its Google I/O developer conference, and that gives us time to use and abuse it then tell you how things worked out. We’re all Android all the time here, and we’re pretty impressed with this one. It’s almost everything we wanted it to be. 

Almost. 

Hit the break and see what we think of Google’s new baby, the Nexus 7.

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Jelly Bean feature: A buttery new home screen launcher

Following its total re-vamp in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google has spent the past six months fine-tuning the stock Android launcher in version 4.1, Jelly Bean. A couple of changes to the way icons and widgets are added and managed, in addition to some serious speed improvements, make for a much more usable launcher in the new version of Android.

Firstly, home screen elements now intelligently move and resize each other to fit into the allocated space on the home screen. For example, if there’s a stray icon in the way of a large widget you want to place down, you’re no longer required to move or delete it before doing so. Instead, the Jelly Bean launcher lets you bump existing elements out of the way as you drag new stuff onto the screen.  (You’ll know if something’s about to be moved, as it’ll wiggle ever so slightly in its new position.) Similarly, you can also budge icons and widgets around when resizing existing stuff.

The second big launcher change in Jelly Bean is probably the most noticeable — the improvement in speed, as part of what Google’s dubbed “Project Butter”. This is the overarching name for all the different techniques that’ve been employed to improve perceived performance by cutting down on lag and stuttery transition animations, and the impact on the launcher is dramatic to say the least. The 3D app drawer animation, previously prone to lag in ICS, is silky smooth in Jelly Bean. And live wallpapers which slowed things to a crawl on Android 4.0 now glide along effortlessly.

For a complete walkthrough of the new and improved Android 4.1 Jelly Bean launcher on the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7, check out our hands-on video after the break. And be sure to check out our other Jelly Bean feature showcases if you haven’t already.

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Google: No Play Music, TV or Magazines for UK Nexus 7 at launch

It’s something that shouldn’t come as a surprise, and something we commented on yesterday, but now we have official word from Google that the UK won’t be getting Play Music, Magazines or TV shows in time for its Nexus 7 launch. Old Blighty, which has Play Books, Apps and Movies, has long been without streaming Music support (without proxy-based black magic, at least), and wasn’t included in Google’s initial roll-out of TV and Magazine services.

A Google spokesperson told _The Inquirer_, “The UK version will feature all of the options currently available in the UK Play store.” That’ll be apps, books and movies only, then.

Though we recently bemoaned the lack of certain Google Play services internationally, we were holding out hope that a last minute switch-on might coincide with the Nexus 7 launch, so it’s disappointing that that’s not the case. Nevertheless, the Nexus 7 is still great value at its £159 price point. If you’re considering picking one up, let us know if the lack of some Google Play services has you thinking twice.

More: Nexus 7: The internationally challenged tablet

Source: The Inquirer

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Nexus 7 now available to pre order in the UK from from the Dixons group

The release date in the UK for the Google Nexus 7 tablet is creeping closer and closer, day by day. You can now pre order the new Android tablet from The Dixons Group which includes: Dixons, PC World and Currys. All three websites are currently showing the device as being expected in stock on the 19th July which is pretty much when we expected it.

Priced at £199 they are clearly only stocking the 16GB version which makes me wonder how popular the 8GB one will actually be. Have the retailers come to the same conclusion as many consumers that 8GB just isn’t enough in this day and age?

The Dixons Group are only allowing pre-orders on their sites, which means you can’t reserve one to collect at a local store. I wonder when we will see the Nexus 7 in person standing proud on the shelves of our shops? Lets hope very soon after the 19th.

 

 

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