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.
Competition will never stop coming. The price of Nexus 7 is very attractive. It poses highest threat to Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook Color. They are both 7".
Interestingly, GPS is not one of the features. I wonder why.
I'm not prepared to do a side by side comparison with Samsung offerings. Judging only by the introduction at Google I/O, the Nexus 7 looks pretty cool (of course, everything looks cool when it is being introduced at an event like this). I would say the Nexus 7 is going to be some stiff competition for the Kindle Fire. As for the iPad, I think the price points and the features put them in different categories. But if Nexus 7 is as advertised, I have to believe it will give people who were thinking about buying an iPad an excuse to spend a lot less money.
Check the specs: GPS is included.
Unlike the Microsoft Surface, Google shows competitive mobile products can be co-developed with OEMs--even when you are providing them free open source software.
I'd love to hear any insider details of how the collaboration went.
It's all personal preference - and depends on which compromises you are willing to make. No device is perfect. I can read text fine on a 7 inch screen, but for most other graphics I prefer a somewhat larger display.