The Nexus 4 phone boasts a 4.7-inch screen, larger than Apple’s recently released iPhone 5 and just slightly smaller than Samsung’s flagship phone, the Galaxy S III. A 16-gigabyte model of the Nexus 4 will sell for $199 with a two-year contract to buy phone service and Internet access from T-Mobile. A contract-free version is available for $299 with 8 gigabytes of storage and $349 for the 16-gigabyte model. Google is touting the Nexus 4’s wireless charging capability as a major selling point.
Microsoft entered the tablet fray last week with the Surface. The initial model runs Windows RT, part of the Windows 8 family of operating systems. Microsoft has radically redesigned Windows to appeal to people who want the utility of a personal computer coupled with the convenience of smaller mobile devices that rely on touch controls. More than 1,000 PCs and other devices are expected to run on Windows 8.
Microsoft launched its version of Windows 8 for smartphones in San Francisco at an event Monday that included an appearance by actress Jessica Alba. Google had hoped to upstage Microsoft’s celebration by rolling out its latest gadgets at an event a few hours earlier in New York, but that got canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. The company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., instead released details about the devices in a blog post.
Besides adding more hardware to its online store, Google is expanding its music library to include Warner Music Group’s catalog. Warner had been the only holdout among the major music labels when Google began selling music a year ago to compete with Apple’s iTunes stores. The company also said it will begin selling music in Europe beginning Nov. 13.
The Android update includes a feature called Gesture Typing, which tries to anticipate what words a user wants to enter as they are entering text. The guesses are based on an analysis of typical sentence structures and users’ past entries.
Another new feature called Photo Sphere stitches together 360-degree pictures of rooms and landscapes. The high-resolution photos created with this tool are similar to the shots shown in Google’s Street View feature in its online maps.