Google’s I/O event kicked off today with plenty of big announcements including the arrival of Android 4.1 Jellybean, and the Nexus 7 tablet – the first device to be powered by Jellybean. The Nexus 7 was a hot topic this week prior to the opening of the I/O conference as rumors about its price, features, and form factor gained momentum. Reality did not fail to impress as Google announced the sleek 7” tablet with 1280 x 800 pixel high resolution HD display and Android 4.1 Jellybean, available for pre-order immediately from Google Play in two configurations: one with 8GB of storage, and the other with 16GB, starting at $199.
The awesome Tegra 3 quad core processor and 1GB of internal memory more than make up for the absence of a rear facing camera and the fact that the front facing one is only 1.2 MP. During the keynote, the battery time is said to be amazing with up to 8 hours of nonstop HD video playback.
Wireless support for 802.11 b/g/and n networks plus Bluetooth, a micro USB port for charging, a built in microphone, Android Beam near field communications (NFC), an accelerometer, GPS, Magnetometer and Gyroscope are premium features for a tablet priced so perfectly.
Anyone who pre-orders now directly from Google Play will also receive $25 in credit to use in the Google Play store for music, apps and games, books, and movies. The Nexus 7 is designed to work seamlessly with Google Play.
Weighing in at only 340 grams, it’s considerably lighter than Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The demonstration yesterday highlighted the value of the Nexus 7 as an ebook reader light enough to realistically hold in one hand, with advanced features for navigating books and magazines, and connectivity with Google search. This could be a tablet that knocks the Kindle Fire out of the top spot for tablets in this price range. Much of that depends on how tight Fire users like their integration with Amazon Prime Video and the streaming music service. Those would of course port easily to the Nexus 7.
Is the Nexus 7 competing with the iPad? Most people say no. Not intentionally, at least. This is not to say that certain consumers won’t prefer the Nexus 7 to the iPad and other larger tablets, since it is clear there is a great deal of appreciation for 7” designs that are more powerful and more portable than 10” models. If Google later released a 10” Nexus 7 however, it could change the ballgame entirely.
What do you think of the Nexus 7? Are you going to buy it? Let us hear from you.
Melonie McLaurin is a technology writer who enjoys occasionally updating her own blog, The Apple and Paw. She currently promotes the best satellite tv packages from DirecTV for direct4tv.net.