7 Must-Know Features Of Google's Nexus 7 Tablet6:16 PM EST Wed. Jun. 27, 2012
Just one week after Microsoft launched its own tablet PC, the Surface, fellow software giant Google seemed to follow suit.
At its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google took the wraps off its own home-grown tablet, the Nexus 7. Boasting a revamped Android OS, an impressive processor count and even a few free perks, the new device has certainly grabbed the tech world’s attention. Here’s a closer look at why.
Move over, Ice Cream Sandwich. There’s a new tech treat in town.
The Nexus 7 will serve as the debut device running the latest installment of Google’s Android mobile OS, version 4.1 "Jelly Bean."
In addition to delivering an overall faster and more stutter-free user experience, Jelly Bean will arm users with revamped near-field communication capabilities for sharing photos and videos, along with a new voice recognition feature that, similar to the iPhone 4’s Siri, can seemingly spew out answers to even the most random of questions, including the height of the Space Needle, as it did during Wednesday’s demo.
Google didn’t piece together the Nexus 7 entirely on its own; the software giant said the Taiwanese PC-maker Asus co-produced the 7-inch tablet, and the Asus logo is even embedded on the lower back side of the device.
The Nexus 7 won’t be the first Android-based device to come out of Asus. The company has a robust line up of tablets and convertible PCs running on Google’s OS, including its new Transformer Pad, which has a 10-inch screen and a detachable keyboard.
According to Google, the Nexus 7 was designed to provide a multimedia experience that’s reliable and fast. To deliver on that promise, the software giant packed a whopping 16 processing cores into the new tablet, including Nvidia’s quad-core 1.3GHz Tegra 3 CPU and its 12-core GeForce GPU.
Nvidia says devices running its Tegra 3 processors provide three times the graphics performance and consume 61 percent less power than those running its prior-generation Tegra 2 processors, while its 12-core GeForce GPUs deliver a dynamic lighting ideal for mobile gaming.
Everything from its size to its price point makes Google’s Nexus 7 a prime competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire (left).
Both tablets place an emphasis on multimedia, claiming to deliver an ideal user interface for reading magazines or watching TV on the go. What’s more, both devices start at $199 and have a 7-inch screen size.
But, the Nexus 7 does seem to have a leg up when it comes to weight and battery life. Weighing in at 12 ounces and touting nine hours of video playback, it beats out the Fire, which weighs a bulkier 14.6 ounces and gets seven and a half hours of playback.
Google said the Nexus 7 will be the first tablet out of the gate to ship with Chrome, the software giant’s home-grown web browser, as its default browsing tool.
If the Nexus 7 is well adopted, it might feed into the momentum Chrome is already seeing in the web browser market. According to web analytics firm StatCounter, Chrome stole the crown form Microsoft’s Internet Explorer last month to become the world’s most-used internet browser. With 32.43 percent of the worldwide browser market, Chrome surpassed both Internet Explorer’s 32.12 percent (even if by a hair) and Mozilla Firefox’s 25.55 percent share.
Another advantage the Nexus 7 has over Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the inclusion of a front-facing camera. Google integrated a 1.2-megapixel camera into the Nexus’ front frame, allowing users to both capture and store photos within a single device.
But while it may beat out Amazon, Google still trails behind Apple in terms of photo specs; the new iPad, by comparison, includes a higher-end, 5-megapixel camera.
Once it starts shipping next month, users will be able to download any of the nearly 500,000 apps available in Google Play onto the Nexus 7. But the software giant said users would also get a few free content perks, as well.
The movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the book "The Bourne Dominion," and magazines including Condé Nast Traveler and Popular Science will come pre-loaded with the tablet, as well as select songs from the bands Coldplay and the Rolling Stones.
Users will also receive a $25 credit to Google Play to download additional apps of their choosing.
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