Today marked the start of Google's I/O 2012 event. Their main attraction, which was heavily hinted at, was the release of their latest Android version, 4.1 Jelly Bean. With each new iteration of the OS, we acquire faster processing speeds and better software. Google opened up by introducing Project Butter, which is what makes the processes on Jelly Bean smoother. "In Jelly Bean we also introduced triple buffering in the graphics pipeline... this allows the CPU and GPU to run in parallel without waiting for each other." The entire OS now runs at 60 fps consistently. The devices running Jelly Bean now also bring more CPU power as soon as you touch the screen, and the OS anticipates where your finger will be next.

Perhaps one of the more exciting features of Jelly Bean, however, is its voice-search function. Similar to the Apple iPhone's Siri, the Android device will answer questions or perform tasks you issue via voice. The demonstration Google provided seemed very slick, and responses arrived quickly as well.

A new feature, Google Now, will memorize patterns of behavior, as well as using your calendar and search history. In case you routinely take a bus, Google Now will keep this in mind and offer regular bus routes. Google Now can even keep updated information on your favorite sports teams.

Currently, only the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Xoom are scheduled to get Jelly Bean, and their OTA updates will arrive mid-July.

Hardware-wise, I/O '12 saw the release of the Nexus 7, a Google-tablet made in conjunction with Asus. The Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet with a 1280x800 HD display, a Tegra 3 chipset, quad-core CPU, and 12-core GPU. Since the device was built around Google Play (which replaced the previous Android Market), the tablet more-than-efficiently makes use of screen space when reading books/magazines and watching videos downloaded from the market. The tablet is available starting today at $199.

Google also showed off their Nexus Q today, a social steaming media player. The Nexus Q is a little black ball that connects to either your television or external speakers. When controlled by your devices, the Nexus Q will pull media from the Google Play Store to play to their connected devices. All this is done via the cloud, of course, and multiple Q's can be played simultaneously, turning your entire house into a media-centric home. The downside to the Q is that it currently only supports the Google Play Store, meaning no access to Netflix or Spotify.

Last but not least, Google showed off a spectacular preview of Project Glass: skydivers equipped with a version of their Google Glass Explorer Edition made their way toward the Moscone building via air (and even rapelled in through the roof), while the entire crowd watched. Designed to fit like glasses, these spectacles (if you can call them that) are positioned just above your eyes in order to capture video directly from your point of view. It can store video internally (albeit not much, yet), and is available for pre-order in the US at Google I/O only, for $1500.

Source (and pictures): TheVerge