Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet Finally Revealed

Google today unveiled a new tablet, after months of speculation that the search giant was developing hardware that would compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and, maybe, the iPad.

The Nexus 7, made with hardware partner ASUSTek Computer, is a 7-inch tablet, built for Google Play, and is running the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Priced to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 costs $199 and is available for preorder today through the Google Play store, with orders shipping in mid July. To sweeten the deal, Google is throwing in a $25 Google Play credit, the “Transformers” movie, some free magazines and a Bourne book.

The tablet boasts a 1280×800 HD display, a Tegra 3 chipset with a quad-core CPU and a 12-core GPU. It has a front-facing camera; is Wi-Fi-, Bluetooth- and NFC-enabled; and claims up to nine hours of battery life with video playback, and up to 300 hours of standby time.

It weighs just 340 grams, Google says, or about three-quarters of a pound.

Earlier today, The Verge reported that images of the Asus-branded Nexus 7 had surfaced in the Google Play app store.

As my AllThingsD colleagues Ina Fried and Bonnie Cha pointed out here, Google had already demonstrated its vision of combination OS-plus-hardware with its Nexus smartphones. And there are currently Android tablets of all shapes and sizes, from bargain-basement to iPad-comparable prices, available on the market.

What has been lacking are compelling, tablet-optimized apps combined with content services that keep it simple, stupid.

Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt first sparked the tablet rumor mill back in December of 2011, when he hinted in an interview with an Italian newspaper that the search giant would bring a tablet to market within six months.

Since then, Microsoft has introduced its own tablet hardware to compete with Android tablets and the market-dominant iPad. While a price point and release date hasn’t been announced, Microsoft has said the Surface for Windows RT will rival ARM-based tablets in terms of price, and should be released around the time Windows 8 hits the market later this year.

Some believe that Microsoft had taken a wise wait-and-see approach to entering the tablet market, while others feel that the software maker’s presentation of two different devices last week was half-baked. (And the silence from Microsoft’s PC-hardware partners has been deafening, aside from this statement from Acer.)

Google, of course, is still reliant on its hardware partners for the distribution of its Android OS, and owes its fast-growing market share to this multiplatform approach.

But with products like Amazon’s Kindle Fire running a barely-there Android OS, it was only a matter of time before Google took control of how its operating system appeared on hardware. The Nexus 7, with its 7-inch form factor and $199 price point, takes more of an aim at the Fire than at the iPad.

In a company letter to investors earlier this year, Google CEO Larry Page quoted co-founder Sergey Brin as saying, “We’ve let a thousand flowers bloom; now we want to put together a coherent bouquet.”

Flowery language aside, what he meant was that the company planned to focus on big bets and core products, rather than spreading itself too thin.

Will Google’s newfound focus on key products — Google Play, Google+, Google Music and Google Drive, to name a few — be the glue that ties it all together to make a killer tablet?


comments so far. Add yours.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly not very impressive at all!

  • Anonymous

    Say goodbye to Amazon’s Kindle Fire. But no worry for Apple.

  • guch20


  • Bradley Horsley

    I would rather buy this than an Amazon tablet but in comparison to an iPad? Only time will tell

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, I think the lack of a MicroSD card slot (which was present in the ASUS prototype at CES in January) shows a remarkable lack of skill in product marketing. They’ve created a product that can only use cloud storage over wifi. Since wifi is hardly ubiquitous, HD movies are easily over 1gb and most people under the age of 40 have over 16gb of music on their n-th generation iPod, I’m not sure what they were thinking here.

    Actually I think I know. To me, its the triumph of the MBAs over basic engineering. A card slot would’ve added, what $1.50 to the manufacturing cost. But instead, Google wants to force consumers into the cloud, renting their content from Google, instead of being able to store their own owned content. And if you travel at all, or even commute, then what do you do? It’s plainly idiotic. Me personally, I hate the idea of being forced to do anything and having somebody call it “freedom.”

    Also, its pretty clear that Google wasn’t particularly ambitious with this. They basically looked at the Amazon Fire and said, “let’s just do that, but a little better.” They still don’t seem to get “it.” They basically aim for the #2 or #3, instead of aiming a little higher. To me it’s weak.

    They’ll certainly sell a lot of these, no doubt. But people like me might wait just a little longer to see if another OEM can fix some of the obvious weaknesses and actually give consumers real “choice,” instead of being forced to do something that is simply not all that practical today.

  • what is a domain name

    I agree Sauceboy, this must include card slot.but anyway I like this product and will go for this.

  • Steven Zahl

    With Near 0 Apps, Surface will fail.

  • Deane T Rimerman

    Good points but isn’t the workaround for the lack of a card slot as simple as getting a bluetooth card reader?

  • caseymadison

    This tablet is less capable than tablets already available today so why buy it…my transformer has a keyboard attachment (which also serves as a 2nd battery), usb ports, and a bigger screen. Google is late to this

  • Anonymous

    I have no idea, but I have to assume that bandwidth for a bluetooth read wouldn’t remote approach that of a slot card, making media reading, especially things like HD movies, prohibitive. Not to mention the requirement for an additional power source. We shouldn’t need a workaround for a basic requirement.

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