Google Unveils its Nexus 7 Tablet, Dubbed a Kindle Fire Killer

Google launches a tablet computer to challenge Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Google Inc will sell its first tablet from mid-July for $199, hoping to replicate its smartphone success in a hotly contested market now dominated by Amazon.com Inc's Kindle Fire and Apple Inc's iPad. Photo: Google

Today Google announced a new Asus-branded tablet called the Nexus 7 during the company’s opening day keynote at Google I/O 2012.

Nexus 7 is built by Asus, with a 1.3Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, GeForce 12-core GPU and 1GB of RAM with two different storage variants: 8GB  for $US199 and 16GB for $US249.

The Nexus 7 sports a 7-inch, IPS (in-plane switching) screen, with a resolution of 1,280×800 pixels, reports CNet.

Like the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 is priced at $199, has a 7-inch display, and, perhaps more importantly, is focused on content consumption. So it’s not the iPad Google is trying to kill with the Nexus 7, it’s the Kindle Fire.

According to CNN, the “My Library” widget on the home page features tiles with the latest content you were reading or watching, and a tap of the tile launches that content right where you left off.

“Nexus 7 is an ideal device for reading books. The form factor and weight are just right,” said Chris Yerga, Google director of engineering for Android.

The Nexus 7 weighs 12 ounces, compared to the Fire’s 14 ounces. It also features a much richer HD screen and a faster graphics chipset.

Analysts now expect Amazon to update the Fire in the next few weeks, writes Computer World.

“They all but called it a Kindle Fire killer. They’re clearly gunning for that No. 2 spot behind Apple’s iPad that is currently occupied by Kindle,” said Altimeter Group analyst Chris Silva. “But the con is they do not yet have a footprint in people’s minds and wallets as the go-to place to purchase and consume media.”

However, Apple will also not be able to ignore the low-end of the tablet market dominated by 7-in. devices, analysts said today.

“They’re going to have to care about that market,” said James McQuivey of Forrester Research. “I don’t think Apple will have the luxury of ignoring the [7-in.] form factor entirely.”

The Nexus 7 is the first device to run the latest version of the Android 4.1 OS, also known as Jelly Bean. One of new Android 4.1 features is improved precision when typing on the soft keyboard.

Jelly Bean sails along on the tablet and the new notification tray and Chrome browser are very nice additions.

Jelly Bean will allow users to type with their voices even when they’re offline, and users can get instant answers back just by asking their phone questions.

Google made a big push at the announcement today about its Google Play store and how the device was built for reading magazines, watching TV or video, and playing games.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin also demonstrated Google Glass, a futuristic-looking eye-glass-computer that can live-stream events, record, and perform computing tasks. According to Reuters, the device will be available to U.S.-based developers early next year for $1,500.

“This is pretty wild,” Google cofounder Sergey Brin, wearing his own pair of Google glasses, told the standing-room-only crowd. “I’ve never seen that perspective before.”

He added: “I’m so glad all that worked. I wasn’t really expecting it to.”

And Google unveiled the Nexus Q – a $300 device with a built-in amplifier that lets users stream content from Android devices onto their TVs.

The Nexus 7 is available now from the Google Play store. Units will ship in mid-July. Purchasing from Google Play also gifts you a $25 credit to spend on Google Play media.

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