Google announced plans to release the Nexus 7, a 7-inch multimedia tablet running Jelly Bean, the latest version of the Android OS for tablets, beginning in July. The Nexus 7 will sell for $199 (8GB) and $249 (16GB) and will likely offer stiff competition to Amazon’s Kindle Fire and B&N’s Nook Tablet and Nook Color, which are also 7-inch tablets. The new device was unveiled at the Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon.
Google has taken a page from the Fire and Nook devices and produced a device that is smaller and much cheaper than the 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $500 for the newest version. The device is designed to work with Google Play, Google’s newly redesigned content site which sells e-books, music, films, videogames and more to run on the device. While the device is similar in size and pricing to the Fire ($199), Nook Tablet ($199) and NookColor ($169), all of which run a modified version of Google’s Android operating system, the Nexus 7 looks to be a much more powerful piece of hardware, with a 1280 x 800 LCD screen, front-facing camera and quad-core processor (1.2GHz) in addition to running the Android 4.1 OS, called Jelly Bean and optimized for tablet devices. Connectivity is by wi-fi only.
According to a report in the technology blog Engadget, the screen on the Nexus 7 “looks good from all angles.” Technology observers expect Amazon to respond with an upgraded Kindle Fire.