Ending lot of rumors and speculations, Google has launched the first ever device to run Android 4.1, Jelly Bean: a 7-inch tablet manufactured by Asus, called the Nexus 7. It was hardly a surprise though, given the flood of leaks over the past few days, but the specs features of this Google tablet appear to have beaten all expectations. The specs show that the Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet featuring a 1280 x 800 HD display with a pixel density of 216 pixels-per-inch, which is only slightly lower than the iPad 3 with its 264 pixels-per-inch screen density. The screen is covered with what is described as “scratch-resistant Corning glass” which we can assume is a form of Gorilla Glass. Aimed to compete directly at the popular 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, which also sells for $199, the Nexus 7 features content like magazines, books and movies front and center.
Thankfully, first impressions are positive. The device is 2.6 ounces lighter than the Amazon Kindle Fire but it feels lighter still — probably because of its sleeker rounded design highlighted by a rubberized back. The 1280 by 800 HD screen looks great when reading and when watching a video, but I wasn’t able to immediately compare it to the Retina screen on the newest iPad. The audio, which comes from a speaker on the right side of the unit (holding it horizontally) was more than adequate for a 7-inch tablet. Interestingly, in a strange way, Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is going to make consumers even more confused, who were already wondering which tablet to buy — Apple iPad vs Kindle Fire eBook reader!
Hardware Specs of Google Nexus 7 Tablet
Rounding out the specs are a a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, Micro-USB port, 1GB of RAM, a 1.2-megapixel front camera (no back camera included), a gyroscope, GPS, accelerometer, microphone, and 802.11a/b/g/n-compatible Wi-Fi.
Google claims that the tablet is powered by a 4,325mAh battery, which provides over 8 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing or 10 hours of e-reading on a single charge.
Featuring Latest Android Jelly Bean 4.1
Google unveiled the device at its developers conference in San Francisco, where the company gave details of its latest version of Android, nicknamed Jelly Bean, which improves major components such as touch, search, notifications and Google Maps.
Jelly Bean is aimed at ensuring that your quad-core Android runs much faster and smoother, just like butter. Enter Project Butter, sort of like a performance enhancer for the the phone. It uses VSync and Triple Buffering to enhance the touch responsiveness.
Besides some pretty impressive stuff under the hood, one thing that’s going to stand out with the Nexus 7 is that it is running a pure version of Android. Both the Nook and Fire are running Android, but these are stripped-down custom version of the OS. That means you have limited access to apps in the Google Play store, for example.
While Android tablets are selling in the market for the last one year, they have failed find buyers and dent the iPad market. Also, Amazon launched Kindle Fire last year and sold more tablets in a few months than what Google’s hardware partners had managed in a year. The irony is that Fire is powered by Android, Google’s operating software, but Amazon has heavily modified it. This means Fire doesn’t come with the Google services pre-installed. This affects Google’s ability to make money from Fire even though it uses Android.
Design (Look and Feel)
The IPS screen has a wider viewing angle than the Kindle Fire and even wider than some 10-inch Android tablets. The 1,280×800 resolution packed into a 7-inch display gives visuals like text and graphics a sharper look than what I’m typically used to seeing on most 7-inchers.
According to Google, Nexus 7 comes preloaded with some multimedia content, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie. It also has magazines like Conde Nast Traveler and Popular Science, and songs from bands like Coldplay and the Rolling Stones preloaded on it.
Pricing and Availability
If you need more internal storage than the starting model packing 8GB (for $199), Google is also offering a 16GB version of the tablet for $249. Both are available now for pre-order from the Google Play store, and are expected to ship in the next 2-3 weeks. On paper, sure, it’s a Kindle Fire killer, but with sales of that tablet drying up recently, is that saying all that much?
Whether or not this model is sustainable and if Nexus 7 tablet becomes a success (or a failure) remains to be seen. We mustn’t forget that Samsung is the only major global Android vendor making money right now, but in the near term it will likely help put Google’s services, and ads, in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Only time will tell.