by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Feb 2, 2010
As iPad commanded the technology world's attention, Google continued working quietly on tablet computer software that could run rivals to Apple's latest creation.
Pictures of what a Google tablet might look like were featured at a Chromium developers web page on Tuesday along with talk of how touchscreen controls could work based on the Internet titan's Chrome computer operating system.
The images were posted online two days before the January 27 event at which Apple unveiled an iPad tablet computer that will begin shipping worldwide in March.
"You may have seen our Chrome OS tablet concepts from last Monday; in the video, some floating hands interact with a touch surface," Google Chrome lead designer Glen Murphy wrote in a personal blog post.
"We only used one hand image instead of showing the full range of gestures, but I did make a larger set."
Google made images and video of Google tablet gesture control capabilities available online for developers to consider.
The "concept user interface under development" could signal another front on which Google will battle with Apple, which uses its own custom software in the iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Macintosh computers.
The website focused on Chrome OS software and did not indicate whether Google would make its own tablet or opt to let others tend to the hardware.
Google's mobile Android software is built into iPhone competitors, including the Internet firm's own Nexus One smartphone released in January.
earlier related report
The US Internet powerhouse said it is rolling out the improvements in an "over-the-air" software update it is firing off to Nexus One smartphones this week.
"This update provides some great new features, and fixes a few problems that some users might have experienced," the Nexus One team said in a blog post.
"In order to access the update, you will receive a message on your phone's notification bar."
The software modification will allow users to use two-finger pinching motions to zoom into on-screen images in Internet browser, picture gallery, or map applications.
Nexus One devices were limited to controls based on single-finger taps or swipes on screens when they launched in the United States on January 5.
Google promises that the update will also improve Nexus One connectivity to 3G networks that allow data to move more quickly, translating into more seamless video viewing and speedier application performance.
The upgrade also installs Google Goggles into the Nexus One applications menu, letting people search the internet based on pictures taken with cameras built into the smartphones.
Improvements were also made to a Google Maps program in the handsets.
"Just download the update, wait for it to install, and you should be all set," Google said.
The California firm unveiled its new Nexus One smartphone a month ago in a direct challenge to heavyweight Apple's iPhone handsets, billing it as a "superphone" and the next step in the evolution of its Android software.
Google worked with Taiwanese electronics titan HTC to make the Nexus One handsets, sold exclusively from the Internet company's online shop.
The touchscreen devices sell for 179 dollars if bought with service from T-Mobile, while "unlocked" handsets that can work with any telecom providers cost 529 dollars each.
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