Google: More gadgets in the wings?

Between earnings reports and new product announcements, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for the tech world.  And it’s not over: Google is planning a big Android event on Monday, the same day that Microsoft is scheduled to officially launch its Windows Phone 8 software.

Google isn’t saying much about its event, which will be in New York, but it sent out one of those mysterious invitations that are intended to whet tech writers’ appetites. Industry blogs like Android Authority and The Next Web, however, are full of speculation and anonymously sourced reports that the company will announce a new 10-inch Android tablet from Samsung, as well as an upgrade to Google’s 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7.

There’s also talk of a new Nexus smartphone, made by LG, and even an upgrade to the Android operating system itself.  In keeping with the company’s tradition of naming each version after a dessert, this one may be code-named “Key Lime Pie,” according to some sources, although others say Android 4.2 will keep the name “Jelly Bean” from the last release.

Google made another hardware move last Thursday, although it was overshadowed by the company’s earnings report later the same day.  At an event in San Francisco, Google announced a new light-weight Chromebook laptop with an 11.6-inch screen that runs on the company’s cloud-based Chrome operating system.

The new Chromebooks, which sell for $250, are touted as inexpensive and lightweight machines for consumers who might otherwise buy a tablet, but still want a full keyboard, to serve as a second computer for their home or for their kids.

One of the most interesting features of the new Chromebooks is that each comes with 100 gigabytes of free online storage for two years, and the ability to synchronize photos, online purchases and other web actions with phones or tablets running Android software.

Just like Apple, which introduced a slew of new gadgets this week, Google wants to make it easy for consumers to live their lives entirely within its own software ecosystem.


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