SAN FRANCISCO—As expected, Google Inc. used the occasion of its Google I/O developer event here Wednesday (July 27) to launch a 7-inch media tablet, made by Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc., which will be available in mid-July starting at $199.
The Nexus 7 features an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip set, including a quad-core CPU and a 12-core GPU, along with a 1280 x 800 HD display, said Hugo Barra, Google's product management director for Android. The tablet offers a front facing camera, supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Near Field Communications and weigh just 330 grams (less than 12 ounces), about the weight of an average paperback book, Barra said.
Nexus 7 is power thrifty, supporting up to nine hours of video playback and up to 300 hours of standby time on a full charge, Barra said.
The 8-GB version of the Nexus 7 will be available for $199, while a 16-GB version will go for $249. Both are available through Google Play, Google's online store. Google Play offers more than 600,000 apps, millions of songs and books, and thousands of movies that can be consumed on the Nexus 7 as well as other Android devices.
Google was widely expected to introduce a small form factor tablet at the developer event.
Nexus 7 will run version 4.1 of Android, codenamed "Jelly Bean," which was also announced by Google Wednesday. The latest version of Android includes a smoother and more responsive user interface, a home screen that adapts to fit content, a predictive keyboard feature that suggests the next word before a user begins typing it and more interactive notifications, according to Google.
Nexus 7 will initially be available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, Barra said, with availability in other countries expected to follow.
Hugo Barra, Google's product management director for Android, speaks at the Google I/O development event Wednesday.
According to NXP Semiconductors NV, the Nexus 7 includes NXP's PN65 NFC solution, featuring an NFC radio controller and an embedded secure element.
Google also announced an Android 4.1 platform development kit for Android hardware developers, in addition to a software developer kit.
Rounding out Google's major announcements Wednesday, the firm launch Nexus Q, a spherical shaped streaming media device which connects to stereo speakers and televisions to wirelessly stream music and video from Android handsets or tablets to be played on large speakers and screens. The device is priced at $299 and expected to start shipping in two to three weeks, Google said.
Prior to the announcements, Vic Gundotra, said there are now 400 million Android devices, up from 100 million a year ago. About 1 million Android devices are being connected each day, he said.
This has less to do with co-developing than custom-ordering, but it's the same strategy to me, that is, playing one OEM against another. It's just that a different company kowtows every year.
The Nexus 7 is a much more restrictive Android device than any other. According to Brian Klug of Anandtech, not only did Google omit microSD expansion (~$40 for 64GB card), they killed USB mass storage, too. USB-OTG is strictly for keyboards and such.
Therefore you're locked into this "tablet built for GooglePlay", in their own words.
It's like the smart-chip they put inside inkjet printers a few years ago to discourage third-party ink.
This is a business model where the device is subsidized by Google, rather than a free gift you seem to think.
According to Google's Rubin 'When it gets sold through the Play store there's no margin, it just basically gets (sold) through.'
Google hopes to sell you content and take your personal info to show ads to make money. Basically 'spoiled the market' for other vendors.