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Weekly Wrap-Up: Social Media Guidelines for the Olympics Are Strict, the Web Is Getting Increasing Visual and Startups Need to Focus on Branding

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Saturday 30 June 2012 11:36 pm

Olympic Social Media Guidelines Muzzle Athletes

Media outlets are billing the upcoming London Summer Olympic Games as “the first social media Olympics.” That means athletes and coaches will be posting, tweeting, Facebooking and generally bringing fans closer to the action more than ever before. So why is the International Olympic Committee trying to censor participants? More

Top Trends of 2012: The Visual Web

Top Trends of 2012: The Visual Web

Continuing our mid-year review of the top trends of 2012, in this post we look at the emergence of the Visual Web. Two of the hottest products in the first half of 2012 are the best examples of this phenomenon: Pinterest and Instagram. But one or two swallows don’t make a summer. Beautiful design is a key part of online business in this era, which has resulted in more images and video all across the Web. More

Design Is Now Crucial to Startup Success

Remember the good old days? When a startup founder could draw up his own clunky logo, slap it on a Web page and call it a day? Now every startup needs to spend time, attention and money on slick branding and design sophistication – just to get in the game. More

More Top Stories

How To Use Facebook’s Newest Stalking App

Facebook has quietly rolled out a new feature that allows you to easily find profiles of people who are close in physical proximity to you. Unlike previous Facebook apps, which have primarily been aimed at helping you strengthen connections with existing friends, Find Friend Nearby is aimed at helping you make more connections. More

Facebook Knows What You’re Doing (Even If You Don’t)

If you think a site that pulls your Facebook status updates and FourSquare check-ins to tell the world if you’re hungover, doing drugs or looking to get fired is unsettling, consider this: It’s fairly simplistic when compared to what social networks will one day be able to figure out based on what you choose to broadcast to the world. More

Firefox for Android Reveals the Future of the Mobile Web

In an era when tech companies are attempting to squeeze more data and more dollars out of users, it is refreshing to know that there are organizations that aim to make the Web a better, more functional place. Mozilla is one. On Tuesday it unveiled the latest version of Firefox for Android. While the browser is an excellent update, the most interesting thing about it is what it says about the future of the mobile Web. More

Google I/O: Web or Native Apps? Google Has it Both Ways

The two keynotes at the Google I/O developers’ conference presented two divergent approaches to Google’s future products – and users inevitably must choose between them. Wednesday’s keynote emphasized native Android apps downloaded from Google Play. Thursday’s focused on Google’s browser, Chrome, with its own store for Web apps. Will the company’s two-prong strategy pull it apart? More

RWW Recommends: The Best Mobile RSS Reader

RSS lives! Not everything is a real-time stream of status updates from Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Subscribing to an RSS feed is still the best way to closely monitor your favorite blogs and topics. So where to check your feeds? Google Reader is the undisputed king of RSS Readers for the desktop, mostly because it’s the Last One Standing. However, there is much more competition among RSS Readers for smartphones and that means there are some great options out there. In this post we give you our recommendation for best mobile RSS Reader. More

Web Developers Brace For the MacBook Pro’s Retina Display

The Web is about to get uglier – that is, if you’re eager enough to plunk down $2,200 for the new MacBook Pro with its ultra high-resolution “retina” display. The new laptop, which Apple unveiled last week, already has Web designers and developers trying to figure out how they’re going to create sites and Web apps that look good on the new machine without leaving the rest of the Web’s population behind. More

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Red Hat CEO Loves Linux, but sure likes his Apple iPad and iPhone too

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Saturday 30 June 2012 5:32 pm

From the ‘Everyone Loves Apple’ files:

When I was at Linuxcon in Vancouver last year, i was accosted by a few people for using an iPad (it’s not Linux after all). Apparently I’m in very good company.

Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst is an iPad user too.O h and he’s an iPhone user and has a MacBook Air also. The MacBook Air runs Fedora though (and hey Linus likes MacBook Air too!)

Reality is that the iPad is the best tablet there is, for Red Hat’s CEO it helps improve his productivity and workflow…with one key caveat.

There isn’t a LibreOffice/ODF viewer that he could find that works for his iPad. So if anyone out there has a solution, there is likely a very grateful Linux CEO out there…

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Startup courts Millennials with social, crowdsourced news site

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Saturday 30 June 2012 11:05 am

An image from the Instagram gallery on #waywire’s Facebook page. Way Millennial.

A startup with seed money from the likes of Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter, and Oprah Winfrey hopes to create a successful mashup of a professional and crowdsourced news network, a social-media site like Twitter, and a video hub like YouTube.

“There are practical solutions to [create] more jobs, lower crime, [provide] better education,” #waywire co-founder and Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker told TechCrunch. “If more people could find their voice and be part of the national dialogue, we could solve these problems.”

#waywire, which plans to officially announce its $1.75 million of seed funding Monday, will feature original, issues-focused video segments, including, on launch, a three-times-a-day newscast of no longer than 5 minutes, Variety reports. That content will be augmented by videotaped responses shot and posted by the site’s readers.

The idea is to get Millennials involved in public affairs through the participatory digital outlets they’ve grown up with and provide an alternative to old-school presentation of news.

An image from #waywire’s Profile Pictures gallery on Facebook.

Booker told Fast Company that Millennials “want to see news and information coming…from trusted news sources” but they also want to see “opinions, ideas, and values that other people have about” those news stories.

Booker is the tech savvy mayor who made some entertainment news headlines a couple of years back for publicly chastising Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, a proudly over-the-top cast member of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” reality show, when she posted to Twitter that she was stuck in Newark traffic. Booker replied to “Snooki” in another public tweet and asked where in town she was so that he could have her ticketed for texting while driving, citing the city’s need for revenue.

Booker also apparently made a strong impression on Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who donated $100 million to the public school system in Newark.

In addition to posting their own video responses, #waywire users will be able to share #waywire content and responses on their social networks, and there will be a badge and reward system that lets people become part of a team of curators that decide what content gets highlighted on the site, TechCrunch reports.

#waywire’s other founders, according to All Things Digital, are Nathan Richardson (also the CEO), who’s been president of Gilt City, CEO of ContextNext Media, head of Dow Jones online, and general manager of Yahoo Finance; and Sarah Ross, from Katalyst Media, TechCrunch, and Yahoo.

#waywire plans to launch a beta version of its site later this summer, and is presently accepting members for the current private beta. Variety reports that the site will launch without ads but that advertising will play a role once the site pulls in enough users. The trade paper also said the newsroom is in a temporary space in Manhattan, with fewer than 10 employees at the moment, and that #waywire wouldn’t say how large a staff it plans to have down the road.

Here’s a promotional video for #waywire, which gives an idea of the audience it’s going after:

[Video] Don’t Buy the New Google Nexus Q, Yet

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Saturday 30 June 2012 3:54 am

Red Hat CEO Loves Linux, but sure likes his Apple iPad and iPhone too

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 29 June 2012 9:49 pm

From the ‘Everyone Loves Apple’ files:

When i was at Linuxcon in Vancouver last year, i was accosted by a few people for using an iPad (it’s not Linux after all). Apparently I’m in very good company.

Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst is an iPad user too.O h and he’s an iPhone user and has a MacBook Air also. The MacBook Air runs Fedora though (and hey Linus likes MacBook Air too!)

Reality is that the iPad is the best tablet there is, for Red Hat’s CEO it helps improve his productivity and workflow…with one key caveat.

There isn’t a LibreOffice/ODF viewer that he could find that works for his iPad. So if anyone out there has a solution, there is likely a very grateful Linux CEO out there…

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

FTC investigating Google over Motorola patents, says report

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 29 June 2012 3:46 pm

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether Google’s Motorola Mobility unit is improperly blocking access to industry-standard technology that should be licensed to competitors according to traditional industry and legal practice, Bloomberg reports.

Citing unnamed sources, the news agency said the FTC has “issued a civil investigative demand, which is similar to a subpoena” to Google. The government is also reportedly seeking information from Apple and Microsoft.

The issue involves so-called frand patents — “fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory” — that cover technology essential to the smooth operation of an industry. As CNET’s Roger Cheng has explained, the idea “is based on the principle that fair licensing of intellectual property is often needed because sometimes certain ideas and patents just need to be shared for everything to work together properly” — i.e., for things like smartphones from rival companies to work with each other. In a kind of quid pro quo arrangement, companies that produce technology that’s adopted by the industry as a standard agree to license that technology at a fair rate.

Lately however, Google rivals, such as  Microsoft and Apple, have been crying foul over Google’s and Motorola Mobility’s willingness to play by these rules.

Last month, a judge for the U.S. International Trade Commission, a federal agency with the power to enforce bans on products shipping to the U.S., said Microsoft’s
Xbox console should not be allowed into the states because it infringed on Motorola patents — a determination the judge had made in an earlier ruling. In response to that earlier ruling, Microsoft told CNET that it “remain[ed] confident the commission will ultimately rule in Microsoft’s favor in this case and that Motorola will be held to its promise to make its standard-essential patents available on fair and reasonable terms.”

Not long after the recommendation for an Xbox ban, the Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to the ITC saying efforts to block imports of the Xbox and of Apple’s
iPhone could cause “substantial harm” to consumers, competition, and innovation, and suggested that companies should be limited in their ability to block competitors’ imports based on frand patents.

And not long after the FTC sent its letter, a federal judge presiding over a different case questioned an Apple bid for a ban against Motorola, but at the same time chastised Motorola’s legal team for its own injunction strategy, saying, “I don’t see how you can have injunction against the use of a standard-essential patent.” In later throwing out the case — in what was ultimately a win for Motorola — the judge nevertheless made a point of calling attention to the frand issue, saying, “I don’t see how, given FRAND, I would be justified in enjoining Apple from infringing the ‘898 [patent] unless Apple refuses to pay a royalty that meets the FRAND requirement.”

In its report today, Bloomberg said the FTC investigation is also looking at Google’s decision to continue Motorola lawsuits that involve frand patents. When Google closed its acquisition of Motorola, back in February, it promised to fairly license Motorola patents.

Bloomberg said Microsoft confirmed that it had received the FTC’s civil investigative demand but declined to comment further. The news agency also said that Apple and the FTC declined to comment on the investigation, and that a Google representative said she couldn’t immediately comment.

In April, the European Commission opened an investigation based largely on complaints from Apple and Microsoft on whether Motorola had breached its promise to offer fair licensing of frand patents.

Bloomberg’s report today said Kirk Dailey, vice president of intellectual property for Motorola Mobility, said on June 20 that Microsoft and Apple “seemingly won’t accept any price” for licensing frand patents held by Motorola.

CNET has contacted the FTC, Google, Apple, and Microsoft for comment, and we’ll update this article when we hear back.

ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Barnes & Noble

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 29 June 2012 8:51 am

The Basics

Barnes Noble was the king of the book superstore. In the early 1990s, the company revolutionized the book industry by going big, wiping out the little guys with economies of scale. At the end of the decade, as Amazon lured users with its online logistics edge, Barnes Noble clawed back to a strong second spot with streamlined operations and an online push.


And when e-readers hit the market, Barnes Noble had the foresight to launch its own device, the Nook, while its closest competitor, Borders, sold third-party devices. The decision worked for Barnes Noble, which built the Nook into a nearly $2 billion business, while Borders has stumbled into bankruptcy.

In April 2012, Barnes Noble and Microsoft entered into an agreement to create “Newco,” a Nook-centric company that would combine educational and digital business lines, and create new, complementary products. Microsoft reportedly paid more than $300 million up front for a 17.6% stake, pledging an additional $300 million over time.

The Problem

Barnes Noble is a one-trick pony in an industry full of device, platform and content convergence. For the most part, Barnes Noble has remained a bookseller, and that narrow focus has relegated the former goliath to a bit player.

Microsoft’s infusion of cash into “NewCo” after yet another quarterly loss has helped the company deal with amped-up competition from the Kindle Fire and other e-readers. Still, like another prominent Number Two player, Barnes Noble’s financial woes have forced the company into an unbalanced relationship with its Seattle benefactor. Microsoft gets a physical presence and access to the growing educational market – a traditional Apple stronghold. Barnes Noble almost certainly gets pressured to build a low-margin Windows-based Nook, so Microsoft has something to compete with the Kindle Fire and the new Google Nexus 7 tablets.

Physical bookstores are dying, and content sales are becoming more device-dependent. Google and Amazon have deep enough pockets to aggressively market loss-leading tablets. Barnes Noble doesn’t. Microsoft does, but who knows if it will cut its losses and run if the going gets rough – or if it decides to focus on Windows tablets like the Surface. For Microsoft, the education market is just a nice-to-have. Barnes Noble doesn’t have that luxury.


The Players

Barnes Noble CEO William Lynch gets digital retail. He’s run e-commerce for Palm, Gifts.com and HSN.com, and unlike the Riggio brothers (Founder and Chairman Leonard and Vice Chair and former CEO Steve), Lynch isn’t hamstrung by an emotional attachment to paper books. He also understands the opportunities of Barnes Noble’s physical stores, like linking book reviews into Nooks via NFC chips. He has a rough road ahead, but Lynch may be Barnes Noble’s greatest asset.

The Prognosis

The Nook, as an entertainment and collaboration device, is not on par with competitive tablets. That may be fine for consumers who just want to read e-books, but over time it’s likely to lose out to inexpensive yet full-fledged tablets. With Newco, Barnes Noble and Microsoft might have a shot at capturing a solid chunk of the nascent educational e-book market, but they’ll have to demonstrate success relatively quickly or Microsoft could decide the push isn’t worth the effort. Barnes Noble may not fold anytime soon, but it’s on a path toward increasing irrelevance.

Can This Company Be Saved?

Absolutely, but it’s going to take a lot of work and a bunch of luck. Google’s new tablet will hurt Nook’s direct sales, and Barnes Noble will need to find new ways to get users into its ecosystem – for example, aggressive bundling of devices with textbooks. The company’s future may boil down to how much help Microsoft chooses to give. If the Surface and other products promote the Nook store, and if Microsoft cuts a licensing deal for low-cost Nook devices with the power to challenge Google, Barnes Noble has a decent shot at long-term survival. If the competition gets ugly and Microsoft cuts and runs, as it has before, Barnes Noble will likely fade away. Even if Lynch plays all his cards right, he might still lose the game.

DeathWatch Victims So Far

Research In Motion: Things are hurtling downhill even faster than expected. Massive losses – more than 11 times worse than expected – and new delays in its Hail Mary BlackBerry 10 operating system update have made the company’s dire situation even harder to ignore.

HP: No change in status

Nokia: No change in status

38 Studios: No change in status

Red Hat Pitches Hybrid Cloud Vision for Linux as OpenShift Goes Mega

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 29 June 2012 2:49 am

After being available for free for its entire lifespan thus far, Red Hat is now revealing its plans for making money from the platform.Issac Roth, PaaS Master at Red Hat, told InternetNews that people have been asking about the pricing for months.

“We’re going to keep the same level of resources that we give to people today in the developer preview and have a tier called FreeShift,” Roth said. “There might have been some people that didn’t believe we would continue to offer a free service.”

Red HatWhile Roth declined to provide a specific number of users that the free version of OpenShift currently has, he did say that it was in the tens of thousands of users.

The FreeShift tier comes with three free gears. A gear is the Red Hat unit of measurement that includes compute, bandwidth, memory and storage. The paid tier is called MegaShift and provides Red Hat support for the entire stack below the application code.

MegaShift will cost $42 a month, with an additional charge of 5 cents per hour for small gears and 12 cents for medium gears. There is also a $1 GB per storage fee and then an additional 3 cents per hour if JavaEE 6 is used.

Read the full story at ServerWatch:
Red Hat Puts a Price on Open Source OpenShift PaaS

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

The inside scoop on the Nexus 7 tablet (Q&A)

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Thursday 28 June 2012 8:49 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Patrick Brady, director of
Android partner engineering, has two big launches to celebrate this month. The first is the birth of his daughter three weeks ago. And the second is the launch of his other baby — the Google Nexus 7
tablet.

Patrick Brady, Director of Android Partner Engineering for Google.

(Credit:
Google)

At the Goolge I/O developer conference here this week, Google took the wraps off its first ever Google-branded tablet made by Asus. The new 7-inch tablet called the Nexus 7 runs the latest version of the
Google Android operating system Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s loaded with some impressive specifications, including an HD screen, front-facing camera, and quad core processor. And it’s available for the competitive price of $199.

Brady helped lead the team that developed the Nexus 7 tablet. CNET sat down with him here at Google I/O to get some more details about how the Nexus 7 came about and what Google’s strategy is for building these Nexus-branded devices. Below is an edited excerpt from our conversation.

Why did Google decide to build a Google-branded tablet?

Brady: We looked at the ecosystem to see what product categories were about to explode next, and we looked at tablets, especially the smaller lower priced tablets. We didn’t think this category of tablet was living up to its potential.

We wanted to build something inexpensive, but not cheap. It had to have fast processors and great screen resolution that our developers would want to use it. And we were looking to build a device that could showcase our digital content. We’ve build the biggest ebook store and we’ve got movies in Google Play. We’ve added TV and magazines. So we really wanted the perfect device to consume all of this and thought the 7-inch tablet was a good size.

It was also important for us to make the product light and portable. It’s only 340 grams. We wanted people to be able to take it the coffee shop and feel comfortable reading a book or magazine on it. It’s roughly the same size and weight as a paperback book. And the reason why paperbacks are the size and weight they are is because they’re meant to be portable. You don’t want to lug around a big hardcover book.

Hands-on with the Nexus 7 (pictures)

How long did it take you to pull the product together?

Brady: We started really working on it in January.

Wow, you turned it around pretty fast. I’m surprised you pulled it together in such a short period of time.

Brady: This industry moves fast, so we have to move fast, too. We can’t spend a year developing hardware, because when it’s done, it has year-old hardware. So we can’t really afford to do that.

Who is the target customer for the Nexus 7?

Brady: I think everyone is. We thought a lot about how we’d design the software and hardware to fit a number of use cases. For instance, I think 10-inch tablets are too big for gaming and reading books. We wanted it to be portable. And we wanted it to be great for reading books and magazines as well as playing games and watching movies.

But we also thought it was important to make it powerful enough to do other things with it. That’s why we added the quad core processor and we put Google Chrome on it. The Nexus devices are really reference devices so that developers can use them to innovate around the Google platform and ecosystem. So we need to build devices that are cutting edge. We want the best available hardware to test out our content and services.

It was also important to make sure the device was light and portable. And early on we knew we wanted to hit the $199 price point.

That really is an incredible price. How did you get the price tag so low? I heard someone say Google is making no profit on these devices. Is that true?

Brady: I can’t comment on the business side of things. But I think in general people misinterpret our motivations for building the Nexus products. It’s about building and driving the ecosystem.

Do you think your hardware partners get annoyed that you’re building and selling a product with such razor thin profit margins? Doesn’t that drive down the retail price of their products and make it harder for them to make money?

Brady: The market pressures are what they are, regardless of what we do. In technology things get smaller and cheaper over time. Sometimes you push envelope and that is what we have done here. But we don’t see it as undercutting our partners.

Do you think your hardware partners feel threatened by the fact that Google is partnering with a hardware company and to make and sell its own branded products?

Brady: Back when we first launched the first Nexus One, I think partners were cautious. But then they realized we are not looking to do this completely on our own. We are partnering with companies to build the hardware with us. We have worked with Samsung and HTC on the Nexus handsets. And we’ve worked closely with Motorola on the Xoom tablet. And now we’re working with Asus on the Nexus 7 tablet.

I think our partners now understand that Nexus products are really the intersection between the best hardware and software innovations that are available. That is why we look to partner with companies that are doing innovative things with their own products. And we challenge all our partners that want to work with us on a Nexus product to push the envelope.

We were very impressed with Samsung’s curved glass and we’ve incorporated that into our Nexus handsets. And when Asus came to us and showed us what they could with tablets, we knew right away we wanted to work with them.

I don’t think our partners are threatened. In fact, I think they enjoy it. Android is open source, so they understand that by developing these products we’re working with silicon vendors to make sure all the technology works with the software. And we’re enhancing the software. For example, you can see what we’re doing with Project Butter to make the devices super responsive. Everything we develop will ultimately benefit everyone in the Android ecosystem.

I understand that Asus had some great technology you were interested in for the Galaxy 7, but why didn’t Google choose Motorola? After all, Google owns Motorola now.

Brady: It was important for us when we acquired Motorola to stress to our partners that we weren’t buying Motorola to get in the hardware business and compete directly with them. We acquired Motorola to help the ecosystem in terms of patents and intellectual property.

At first I think our partners weren’t sure whether we really meant what we said about not giving Motorola preferential treatment. But they’ve seen us do another Nexus smartphone with Samsung and the Nexus 7 tablet with Asus, so I think they see that Motorola is not getting preferential treatment. It’s all about the ecosystem.

I know the tablet market is still relatively young. But it’s pretty clear that the Apple iPad is still outselling any of the Google Android tablets available today. Why haven’t the existing crop of Google tablets taken off?

Brady, I think if you rewind things a bit and look at when we launched the G1 people said a lot of the same things. It wasn’t outselling the iPhone, and they seemed disappointed. I think it takes a little while for sales to kick in. And it depends on the product. There are so many choices in terms of tablets. There are different sizes. Some are Wi-Fi only some have cellular connectivity. There is a wide range of price points.

But I also think there was some content missing early on. Now we’re rounding that out with TV shows and magazines on Google Play, so there’s a lot more to do with your tablet. I think the Nexus 7 is the best tablet that’s available today. Still one size doesn’t fit all. So I expect to see people buying all kinds of tablets, in all different sizes.

If you had to offer advice to someone deciding between a Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, I’m sure you’d recommend the Nexus 7. But what features specifically do you think make it a winner over the Kindle Fire?

Brady: I’m not going to compare one device against the other. But I can tell you why I think the Nexus 7 is great. First, it’s thin and light. It only weighs 340 grams. You probably don’t realize how heavy some of these tablets can be.

The HD display on the Nexus 7 is also important. You may not appreciate the difference if you’re watching standard-definition content. But when you do, watch HD content you’ll know the difference.

Quad core processors are also important. You can see how Chrome works better and how the games are more responsive.

I’m also a big fan of the front-facing camera. It’s great for Google+ hangouts. I don’t think people will be jumping out of blimps and landing on the Moscone Center everyday while hanging out in Google +. But there are other good reasons to have the front facing camera.

My wife and I just had our first child a few weeks ago, and my parents live on the East coast. I didn’t bring my laptop with me to the hospital, but I brought my Nexus 7. I took it into the recovery room with me, and we were able to introduce my family in Boston, Seattle and New York to my daughter. So I was glad we decided to do the front-facing camera.

The inside scoop on the Nexus 7 tablet (Q&A)

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Thursday 28 June 2012 8:49 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Patrick Brady, director of
Android partner engineering, has two big launches to celebrate this month. The first is the birth of his daughter three weeks ago. And the second is the launch of his other baby — the Google Nexus 7
tablet.

Patrick Brady, Director of Android Partner Engineering for Google.

(Credit:
Google)

At the Goolge I/O developer conference here this week, Google took the wraps off its first ever Google-branded tablet made by Asus. The new 7-inch tablet called the Nexus 7 runs the latest version of the
Google Android operating system Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s loaded with some impressive specifications, including an HD screen, front-facing camera, and quad core processor. And it’s available for the competitive price of $199.

Brady helped lead the team that developed the Nexus 7 tablet. CNET sat down with him here at Google I/O to get some more details about how the Nexus 7 came about and what Google’s strategy is for building these Nexus-branded devices. Below is an edited excerpt from our conversation.

Why did Google decide to build a Google-branded tablet?

Brady: We looked at the ecosystem to see what product categories were about to explode next, and we looked at tablets, especially the smaller lower priced tablets. We didn’t think this category of tablet was living up to its potential.

We wanted to build something inexpensive, but not cheap. It had to have fast processors and great screen resolution that our developers would want to use it. And we were looking to build a device that could showcase our digital content. We’ve build the biggest ebook store and we’ve got movies in Google Play. We’ve added TV and magazines. So we really wanted the perfect device to consume all of this and thought the 7-inch tablet was a good size.

It was also important for us to make the product light and portable. It’s only 340 grams. We wanted people to be able to take it the coffee shop and feel comfortable reading a book or magazine on it. It’s roughly the same size and weight as a paperback book. And the reason why paperbacks are the size and weight they are is because they’re meant to be portable. You don’t want to lug around a big hardcover book.

Hands-on with the Nexus 7 (pictures)

How long did it take you to pull the product together?

Brady: We started really working on it in January.

Wow, you turned it around pretty fast. I’m surprised you pulled it together in such a short period of time.

Brady: This industry moves fast, so we have to move fast, too. We can’t spend a year developing hardware, because when it’s done, it has year-old hardware. So we can’t really afford to do that.

Who is the target customer for the Nexus 7?

Brady: I think everyone is. We thought a lot about how we’d design the software and hardware to fit a number of use cases. For instance, I think 10-inch tablets are too big for gaming and reading books. We wanted it to be portable. And we wanted it to be great for reading books and magazines as well as playing games and watching movies.

But we also thought it was important to make it powerful enough to do other things with it. That’s why we added the quad core processor and we put Google Chrome on it. The Nexus devices are really reference devices so that developers can use them to innovate around the Google platform and ecosystem. So we need to build devices that are cutting edge. We want the best available hardware to test out our content and services.

It was also important to make sure the device was light and portable. And early on we knew we wanted to hit the $199 price point.

That really is an incredible price. How did you get the price tag so low? I heard someone say Google is making no profit on these devices. Is that true?

Brady: I can’t comment on the business side of things. But I think in general people misinterpret our motivations for building the Nexus products. It’s about building and driving the ecosystem.

Do you think your hardware partners get annoyed that you’re building and selling a product with such razor thin profit margins? Doesn’t that drive down the retail price of their products and make it harder for them to make money?

Brady: The market pressures are what they are, regardless of what we do. In technology things get smaller and cheaper over time. Sometimes you push envelope and that is what we have done here. But we don’t see it as undercutting our partners.

Do you think your hardware partners feel threatened by the fact that Google is partnering with a hardware company and to make and sell its own branded products?

Brady: Back when we first launched the first Nexus One, I think partners were cautious. But then they realized we are not looking to do this completely on our own. We are partnering with companies to build the hardware with us. We have worked with Samsung and HTC on the Nexus handsets. And we’ve worked closely with Motorola on the Xoom tablet. And now we’re working with Asus on the Nexus 7 tablet.

I think our partners now understand that Nexus products are really the intersection between the best hardware and software innovations that are available. That is why we look to partner with companies that are doing innovative things with their own products. And we challenge all our partners that want to work with us on a Nexus product to push the envelope.

We were very impressed with Samsung’s curved glass and we’ve incorporated that into our Nexus handsets. And when Asus came to us and showed us what they could with tablets, we knew right away we wanted to work with them.

I don’t think our partners are threatened. In fact, I think they enjoy it. Android is open source, so they understand that by developing these products we’re working with silicon vendors to make sure all the technology works with the software. And we’re enhancing the software. For example, you can see what we’re doing with Project Butter to make the devices super responsive. Everything we develop will ultimately benefit everyone in the Android ecosystem.

I understand that Asus had some great technology you were interested in for the Galaxy 7, but why didn’t Google choose Motorola? After all, Google owns Motorola now.

Brady: It was important for us when we acquired Motorola to stress to our partners that we weren’t buying Motorola to get in the hardware business and compete directly with them. We acquired Motorola to help the ecosystem in terms of patents and intellectual property.

At first I think our partners weren’t sure whether we really meant what we said about not giving Motorola preferential treatment. But they’ve seen us do another Nexus smartphone with Samsung and the Nexus 7 tablet with Asus, so I think they see that Motorola is not getting preferential treatment. It’s all about the ecosystem.

I know the tablet market is still relatively young. But it’s pretty clear that the Apple iPad is still outselling any of the Google Android tablets available today. Why haven’t the existing crop of Google tablets taken off?

Brady, I think if you rewind things a bit and look at when we launched the G1 people said a lot of the same things. It wasn’t outselling the iPhone, and they seemed disappointed. I think it takes a little while for sales to kick in. And it depends on the product. There are so many choices in terms of tablets. There are different sizes. Some are Wi-Fi only some have cellular connectivity. There is a wide range of price points.

But I also think there was some content missing early on. Now we’re rounding that out with TV shows and magazines on Google Play, so there’s a lot more to do with your tablet. I think the Nexus 7 is the best tablet that’s available today. Still one size doesn’t fit all. So I expect to see people buying all kinds of tablets, in all different sizes.

If you had to offer advice to someone deciding between a Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, I’m sure you’d recommend the Nexus 7. But what features specifically do you think make it a winner over the Kindle Fire?

Brady: I’m not going to compare one device against the other. But I can tell you why I think the Nexus 7 is great. First, it’s thin and light. It only weighs 340 grams. You probably don’t realize how heavy some of these tablets can be.

The HD display on the Nexus 7 is also important. You may not appreciate the difference if you’re watching standard-definition content. But when you do, watch HD content you’ll know the difference.

Quad core processors are also important. You can see how Chrome works better and how the games are more responsive.

I’m also a big fan of the front-facing camera. It’s great for Google+ hangouts. I don’t think people will be jumping out of blimps and landing on the Moscone Center everyday while hanging out in Google +. But there are other good reasons to have the front facing camera.

My wife and I just had our first child a few weeks ago, and my parents live on the East coast. I didn’t bring my laptop with me to the hospital, but I brought my Nexus 7. I took it into the recovery room with me, and we were able to introduce my family in Boston, Seattle and New York to my daughter. So I was glad we decided to do the front-facing camera.

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