Google's head of Android, Sundar Pichai, hosted a special breakfast event over in San Francisco today, and needless to say we were intrigued by the possibilities - the green robot gang did not disappoint.
The bulk of speculation revolved around the potential launch of the second-generation Nexus 7 (opens in new tab), which many pundits thought will come running a refreshed OS, Android 4.3.
The Nexus 7 was a real game-changer when it arrived back in July 2012, shaking up the consumer electronics landscape to the point that there's now nary a manufacturer not flirting with devices in the 6in to 8in range.
To find out what made Google's 7in mini-tablet so great, hark back to our Nexus 7 review (opens in new tab). Or, to get an idea of what can we look forward to with Android 4.3, check out our Android 4.3 wishlist (opens in new tab)as a starting point.
Did the new Nexus 7 arrive today? (Yes) Is Android 4.3 going to be a significant improvement over 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (opens in new tab)? (Possibly not) All the big questions were answered and you can relive the action as it happened below.
Don't forge to share your thoughts with us via the comment section at the bottom of the live blog, or interact with us on social media via @ITProPortal. (opens in new tab)
- 24 July
That's all folks, thanks for joining us today, wherever you are. Some great stuff coming out of San Francisco this morning - stay tuned for follow-on coverage.
For what it's worth, the new Nexus 7 looked pretty darn swell, especially on the graphics front. Obviously, Google only picked the creme de la creme to show off today, but given the lack of sophistication that permeates much of mobile gaming, it certainly looked like a major step forward
And, as we expected, Google broke cover with the new Nexus 7 and Android 4.3. The main feature of Android 4.3 seemed to be the Restricted Profiles feature, which will allow for content access to be controlled (could we make that sound fuzzier and say 'curated'?) at a user-level. The talking point was parents restricting access to things like in-app purchases, but could it also be the first step to Android developing sandboxed work/play environments a la BlackBerry Balance?
Well, what is there left to say? As we hoped, Google had a wild card up its sleeve in the form of Chromecast, a cross-platform TV dongle that will connect up the various devices in your house
And....a sudden end to our breakfast with Sundar. We'd barely had time to find the brown sauce
At $35 and accounting for a small international premium, that would mean Chromecast will probably sell for around £30 in the UK
This morning's proceedings are rounding out - another video now, showcasing some of the experiences Google is endeavouring to create via Chromecast
Chromecast will retail for just $35 and will launch in the US later today, with expansion to other countries "as quickly as possible."
How much does Chromecast cost and how can you get it, that's the question.
"Over time, we expect the technology to be embedded into a range of devices from our partners."
The developer nitty-gritty: Google publishing a dev preview of the Google Cast SDK with Android, iOS and Chrome libraries today
In fact, they're demoing utilising a budget Windows 8 laptop - Google clearly trying to get the word out that it's ecosystem is the world's ecosystem
You'll also be able to continue to access your laptop's other functionality through out the sharing process
A beta feature coming up now - projecting any Chrome browsing tab on your local device straight to your TV, wirelessly. A boon for photo sharing, we're told.
Laptops are the final piece of the equation - Chromecast will enable you to send content from Chrome on your laptop straight to your TV. That old Google mantra being bust out: "It just works"
You'll be able to sync Google Play Music with any speakers in your house via a Chromecast-powered television
"With Chromecast, it's really easy to get your music on the television."
Google Play Movies with Chromecast in the spotlight now
If you start viewing on an iPhone, you can pick up viewing via your Android tablet
Chromecast will automatically detect recent viewing: "You're not tied to any specific device."
Now we're opening up Netflix, which will also immediately detect Chromecast and solve the viewing angle, apparently.
Chromecast for YouTube will be cross-platform and can run across Android and iOS devices. Some faint laughter there - he wanted that iPhone joke to drop a little harder, didn't he?
You can toggle out of Chromecast while you're using your phone to access other apps, check emails etc, because the content is coming directly from the cloud
Simplicity is a major virtue, we're told: "If you know how to you use YouTube on your phone, you know how to use YouTube on your TV."
With Chromecast, you'll be able to use your smartphone - any smartphone? - as a remote control
In YouTube, Chromecast will be activated through a dedicated in-app widget
We're getting a demo of Chromecast now
"What's unique about this solution is we bring the highest resolution content directly from the cloud..."
ChromeCast is measures just 2in and will run a simplified version of the Chrome OS. Plug it into any HDMI input (via USB), connect to your Wi-Fi, and you're off...
How can we make this happen? It's a new device from Google - introducing ChromeCast, the "easiest way to bring your favourite online entertainment to your TV."
I'm going out on a limb here, but it looks like Google is setting itself up to reveal a set-top box a la Apple TV here. Potentially.
"Chrome at its foundation - it's designed to work across screens and can help bridge" the experience of online streaming and traditional TV viewing
The average household in the US has three televisions. Insert joke about obesity here.
Some stats: Netflix and YouTube combine for nearly half of all downstream Internet traffic in North America. The number of online videos being watched on mobiles and tablets has increase more than 2.5x in the recent history
Sundar is back with us to take us through the next big Google development
Boy buys new Nexus 7, boy meets future wife and falls in love. It's that easy, really...
We're now on to a wee video, showing how the new Nexus 7 can "make its way into someone's life." I hear the 4G signal is great on Larry Page's robot leper island...
The new Nexus 7 will be available in three models: 16GB for $229, 32GB for $269, and a 32GB model with LTE for $349. It will launch from Tuesday 30 July in the US, and the new Nexus 7 will launch in the UK "in coming weeks," we're assured.
Google has partnered with a number of major education publishers, including Pearson and Macmillan
Ellie tells us about some of the other functionality on the new device: "The new Nexus 7 is the ultimate gaming device. It's also great for reading books. And it's also very affordable, which makes it the ultimate device for students. We're announcing a new content category on Google Play - Textbooks."
Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame and Asphalt 8 are a couple of the other games that will be available on the new Nexus 7 - that seems to be the moniker Google is going with, a page out of Apple's iPad book perhaps, or am I just playing devil's advocate?
We're looking at RipTide GP2 now as rendered with the new Nexus 7's native 1080p resolution
The "new Nexus 7 is the perfect gaming device" thanks to its Full HD resolution and "screaming fast" GPUs and CPUs
The Google Play Games app will utilise Google+ to help users discover new games through their social network and contacts
Ellie is revealing a new native app and service for Android, Google Play Games
Ellie Powers: "The game category is on fire. At I/O, we announced Google Play Games Services. In just two months, already hundreds of games have already Google Play Games Service and we have millions of user playing."
"We're making it easier to discover apps on tablets...you can choose to see only apps that are designed for tablets on the top list."
Ellie Powers, Google Play product manager for devs, will join us now
We're taking a look at how screen sharing in Hangouts looks on the new Nexus 7, and it also features document editing in real-time. That is kind of neat, and - unlike Hugo - I'm totally sold on the idea of lobster burgers
"Another Google app that the new Nexus 7 is really perfect for is Hangouts"
Hugo's showing off Google Maps on the new Nexus 7, taking us through the new Explore feature. This is all harking back to some of the major developments first announced at I/O 2013 but now, they're being put into practice
Hugo's clearly had a few espressos - on to Chrome now. There will be 15 per cent more screen space for content thanks to improvements to Chrome
We're now seeing how the new Nexus 7 and Android 4.3 will help support productivity - some tweaks to Google Drive, Google Docs and more
Android 4.3 will ship on the new Nexus 7, while the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Galaxy Nexus and original Nexus 7 will all be getting an OTA update to Android 4.3 ASAP
Hugo has announced that Google will be partnering with Netflix to help support streaming in 1080p - the new Nexus 7 will be the first tablet to support this
Moving on to entertainment and watching films
Texture compression formats etc - to strip away the jargon, OpenGL ES 3.0 coupled with the Full HD display is going to make gaming sicker than ever on Android going forward.
Some demos utilising OpenGL 3.0, showing off OpenGL ES 3.0 and the enhanced graphical capabilities
"Android is the first platform to support this standard," Hugo notes
We're upgrading our OpenGL support to OpenGL 3.0
And now we're on to jumping jacks - we're moving on to something fitness-y
Restricted Profiles is hiding in-app purchases so children can't go wild on their parents cheque book, for example - that's a couple of Daily Mail writers out of a job then
"Android 4.3 allows an app to run differently when it's operating in a Restricted Profile"
Hugo's showing us how Restricted Profiles will work on his new Nexus 7, which he'll also share with his younger family members
"In Android 4.3, we're adding Restricted Profiles. With Restricted profiles, you can control access to content and apps at a user-level...Parents can have peace of mind."
We're moving swiftly on to Android 4.3
With regards to battery life, Hugo says the new Nexus 7 will offer 9 hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing
Google will also be shipping an unlocked, 4G LTE version of the new Nexus 7 - though it sounds like that might be exclusive to the US market? That would be a shame for us Redcoats
Under the hood, the Nexus 7 will pack a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon chipset, and it has also beefed up its RAM to the tune of 2GB
There will be dual stereo speakers on the new Nexus 7, plus front and rear-facing cameras - as we know from the Best Buy leakage, the primary snapper will be 5-megapixels
The Nexus 7 2 will offer an native 1080p resolution "unprecedented" for its form factor
As we hoped, the new Nexus 7 is the world's highest resolution 7in tablet
"Having a crisp and bright display makes all the difference. And that's where the new Nexus 7 really shines - packing in a lot more pixels."
The side bezel on the Nexus 7 2 has been reduced by 3mm on each side, Hugo reveals - the new Nexus 7 will be more portable than ever
"We're staying focused on the same things that made the first Nexus 7 so successful"
Hugo Barra: "Nexus 7 has been a big hit, and we're going to try to follow up...We're announcing the new Nexus 7. Here it is."
Sundar has confirmed that we're going to see the future of the Nexus 7 today, and now he hands over the stage to Hugo Barra, VP of Android at Google
Here's Jonney! That's Jonney Shih, CEO of Asus, is in the audience. That's not telling or anything, is it
Tablet activations are nearing 70 million, and Google Play downloads have passed 50 billion with more than 1 million apps available
Tablets are overtaking traditional PCs in the consumer marketplace. Duh, Sundar.
Sundar tells us that we're going to see two new things today: an Android product and a Chrome offering
Sundar Pichai: "Our goal is to deliver an experience that is seamless, consistent, and beautiful. The way we do that is by investing in two platforms - Android and Chrome."
And we're off - Sundar is on stage now to tell us the latest news from Google
The programme will "begin shortly," according to Google. Well and truly on the descent now it seems
Any bets on what breakfast might be over in San Francisco today? Green eggs and ham? More importantly, the Google Nexus 7 2 launch live stream (opens in new tab) is back if you're not already there. And here. You need to be in two places at once to be anybody, really
So, the Google live stream is currently experiencing "technical difficulties" - which is all the more reason why you'll want to tell your friends, family, and assorted minions to make for our live blog
Five minutes to go, gang. Wait, what's this? We have a Google Nexus 7 2 launch live stream (opens in new tab) as well? That's right - stick with us on the live blog for the peerless witticisms, head there for your visual viewing needs
Less than half an hour to go now - time for one last teaser. These are all-but-confirmed as the official press shots for the Nexus 7 2, by the way.
Still with us? Good, good - the countdown is on, less than two hours until Sundar breaks out the pastries and, presumably, the Nexus 7 2
A few off-the-cuff comments based on the purported specifications of the Nexus 7 v2. It is likely to pack the same system-on-chip as the Nexus 4 (opens in new tab) and the Sony Xperia Z (opens in new tab) (a Qualcomm Snapdragon Pro or APQ 8064) and has the same amount of system memory as the aforementioned devices. The display is likely to have the highest pixel density of any tablets on the market. That includes both the Samsung Ativ Q (opens in new tab) (13.3in, 3,200 x 1,800 pixels, 276ppi) and the Samsung Nexus 10 (opens in new tab) (10.06in, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, 300ppi). At 323 ppi, that new Nexus is painfully closed to the Retina Display of Apple's iPhone 5 (opens in new tab) (330ppi). Not bad for a tablet that's supposed to be an entry level model.
A quick reminder that you can buy the Google Nexus 7 (opens in new tab) (albeit the refurbished model) from eBay for a mere £119. Check out our original review of the tablet, which was launched more than a year ago, here (opens in new tab). Also it's worth noting that Asus has already unveiled a slightly better version of the original Nexus 7 called the MemoPad HD7 (opens in new tab), one which is not only cheaper but also has a rear camear and a microSD card slot.
Just a few hours to go now - it's lunchtime here in the UK, while our friends on the east coast of the US will no doubt be relishing their morning commute as we speak. To whet your appetite further, check out the following Nexus 7 2 unboxing video, courtesy of the fine folks at Android Police. (opens in new tab)
For more, check out our feature on the recently revealed Nexus 7 2 specs (opens in new tab) - to give you an idea of context, we've compared it to the original Nexus 7 in a number of places.
Among the specs that have now been outed: the Nexus 7 2 will feature a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon chipset and a beauteous sounding 1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution.
Shall we put an end to the mystery? The big news is that American retail giant Best Buy listed - intentionally or inadvertently - the Nexus 7 2 for pre-order, revealing many of its key specs in the process.
Some big news coming up in a moment....
Hello and greetings from London! It's just shy of 03:00 in California at the moment, so all the good Google girls and boys over there are still in bed, but we'll have all action for you as soon as the croissants and lattes start flowing in San Francisco.