Google finally confirmed the long-running rumors, and today annoucned the new Nexus 7 tablet. Built by ASUS,
it's a 7", quad-core slate designed to showcase the best of the companies digital content, as well as the new features
of Android Jelly Bean.
Google's tenets were super thin, light and portable. At just 10.45mm thin it's certainly slim, albeit not as much as the iPad, or Toshiba's anorexic new Excite range. Where the Nexus 7 finds footing, though, is in portability. At just 340 grams, Google estimate it to be about the same weight as a paperback book, ideal for lengthy reading sessions using the Google Books app.
The screen you'll be doing that reading on is a 1280×800 HD IPS display, covered in scratch-resistant Corning glass. Above the screen is a 1.2MP camera for Google+ Hangouts, but no camera is to be found around back -- presumably a victim to keep the price so low.
Powering the tablet is a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, mated up to a 12-core GPU. That's 3 times as many cores as the Playstation Vita handheld. Also included are WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth, NFC, Accelerometer, GPS, Magnetometer, Gyroscope and the standard 1GB of RAM. Storage comes in 8GB or 16GB, and power comes from a 4325 mAh battery, rated for up to 9 hours of video usage, and 300 hours in standby mode.
The Nexus 7 ships with Google's latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, and also shows off the comapany's latest tablet-friendly tweaks to the OS. As well as Chrome being the standard browser -- farewell, Flash support -- the YouTube app is now optimized to make the most of the increased real estate, as is the Google+ app. All of the standard Google apps have been improved to display more content in a more useable way. Google Currents now emlpoys a magazine-style layout to make the most of the screen real estate, and also includes built-in translation, to automatically translate every article into the langauge of your choice. The biggest feature on show was the new ofline ability in Google Maps, allowing a user to download all the maps needed for their journey over WiFi and store them on the tablet, removing the need for mobile broadband for navigation, however this is an update that will be rolling out to all Android devices.
Gaming is also a big focus, with Google emphasizing the power of the 12-core GPU in games, touting features that were previously reserved for dedicated consoles including increased detail, enhanced environmental effects, better physics and more content being crammed into each frame, as well as greater fluidity and higher framerates.
The Google Nexus 7 is available now, through the Google Play store
, at $199 for the 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB model. Each pre-order comes with $25 of credit for use in the Play store, as well as a free copy of Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, novel "The Bourne Dominion", and free editions of Popular Science, Food Network and Condi Nast Traveller. Orders will be shipped mid-July, with the Nexus 7 available for purchase in the US,
Canada, UK and Australia, with more countries to follow.