Google's Nexus 7 tablet: better than Kindle Fire?(Read article summary)
Google revealed its new Nexus 7 tablet device with fanfare, and early reviews are promising.
Google announced the release of its first tablet, the $199 Nexus 7, at its San Francisco developers conference Wednesday. More than just another tablet to enter the hot new market, the Nexus 7 illustrates Google‚Äôs determination to reinvent itself as a ‚Äúlifestyle and culture purveyor‚ÄĚ manufacturing its own hardware to compete with the likes of Apple and Amazon. It‚Äôs a new direction for the company, and one that heats up the tablet wars in a big way.
The good news for bibliophiles? Unlike Microsoft‚Äôs promising new Surface tablet, the Nexus 7 is compact, relatively affordable, and designed for e-reading. (Google‚Äôs director of product management Hugo Barra actually compared the Nexus 7‚Äôs form to a paperback book, touting the device‚Äôs compact, easy-to-hold shape.)
"We want things to be simple, beautiful and really smart," said¬†Mr. Barra at Wednesday‚Äôs unveiling.
The 7-inch tablet, made in collaboration with Taiwan-based manufacturer Asus, has a Tegra 3 quad-core processor and a 12-core processing unit, allowing users to run games, movies, apps, e-books, and other content smoothly. It‚Äôs got 8 GB of memory (bump up to $249 for 16 GB) and runs on the Jelly Bean operating system, plus comes with a bevy of goodies including a front-facing camera, microphone, GPS, accelerometer for testing Internet speed, plus several ports (mini HDMI, Micro USB, Ethernet). What‚Äôs more, it‚Äôs got a sharp reading medium, in-plane switching technology to increase the screen‚Äôs viewing angles and higher-resolution screen than the Kindle: 1,280 x 800 pixels versus the Kindle‚Äôs 1,024 x 600 pixels. ‚ÄúGreat if you want to share something with your friend; bad if you want to hide the fact that you‚Äôre reading ‚ÄėFifty Shades of Gray‚Äô or indulging in some guilty pleasure like ‚ÄėReal Housewives of Orange County,‚Äô since you can now purchase TV shows on Google Play,‚ÄĚ writes allthingsd.com blogger Bonnie Cha.
What‚Äôs more, almost all of Google‚Äôs products are integrated into the Nexus 7, including Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Translate, and of course, Google Play, which the company will use to sell the tablet and deliver content to users.
So how does the Nexus 7 stack up against the Kindle Fire, its most obvious competitor? Early reviews are promising.
Writes the Philadelphia Inquirer‚Äôs Jonathan Takiff, ‚ÄúThe 7-inch screened Nexus 7 tablet has instantly been judged a better deal at $199 (in 8GB form) than the similarly-sized but now relatively old tech Kindle Fire.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúGoogle‚Äôs Nexus 7 tablet feels like the device that might just usurp the Kindle,‚ÄĚ writes the UK‚Äôs Telegraph. ‚ÄúIt does everything that Amazon‚Äôs device has done so successfully since it launched in 2007, but with Google you can now also watch videos, browse beautifully rendered magazines and the web and of course check your email. A Kindle costs from just [$79], but those extra functions are likely to persuade a huge number of people to part with [$199].‚ÄĚ
The $199 Nexus 7 is available for sale on Google‚Äôs app store Google Play and will start shipping in mid-July. Every order comes with a $25 credit to spend in Google Play on movies, magazines, and more.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.