The Microsoft Surface was the most talked-about tablet in tech -- for all of eight days. At the annual Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco Wednesday morning, Google trotted out it's latest entry into the tablet computer wars -- a 7-inch-screen little beauty called the Nexus 7 that's priced to sell at $199.
Is this tablet the "iPad killer" that every tech manufacturer is desperate to develop? No, and it is not even trying to be. What the the Nexus 7 wants to be is a "Kindle Fire killer", offering a richer HD screen, faster graphics chips, and integration with your smartphone -- all at the same competitive price point.
The entire Google I/O 2012 keynote from Wednesday morning is available online. A vast number of Google-y topics are discussed -- Jelly Bean 4.1, some Google+ upgrades, and those crazy Google Glass "augmented-reality" glasses -- but the Nexus 7 stuff starts at the 46:24 mark.
The Nexus 7 is very lightweight and portable (12 ounces), but Jeez-o-Pete -- every tablet is basically lightweight and portable. The Nexus 7 displays a 1280x800 HD screen, whereas the Kindle Fire is only 1024x600. The tablet runs a Tegra 3 chip set quad core processor, which the Googlers claim will optimize your gaming experiences. The Nexus 7 also has a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera that is ideal for Google+ Hangounts, the only feature of Google+ that anyone actually likes. The device is made by Asus, who do very nice work in the discount laptop sector.
Google claims the battery life on the Nexus 7 will provide nine hours of HD video playback, and 300 hours of standy power. If you're using it to read books or magazines, the Nexus 7 can instantly translate your content into several different languages. The Nexus 7 is Wi-Fi only, and the low-end model comes with 8 GB of memory
I'd say the coolest thing the Nexus 7 did in the demo was provide dynamic, panoramic maps and locations (this begins at the 56-minute mark of the above video). Not only do you get the new 3D Google Maps, but locations have a new feature called "See Inside". When you See Inside, a Compass Mode provides a fully-gyroscopic, dynamic view of the interior of that location. Your view changes with each movement of the tablet -- point your Nexus 7 up a few degrees, and you see the upper interior and ceiling of the location. Point your Nexus 7 to the left, and you see the left side of the location. The movements and images are incredibly precise. I'm not sure how useful that actually is, but boy does it look fun to play with.
The Nexus 7 is already available on Google Play. You can have it in your hot little hands in mid-July.
So now the Google's Nexus 7 gets to be the most talked-about tablet in tech -- for all of eight days. Because you know what? Amazon is expected to announce the Kindle Fire 2 as early as July.