Google has introduced its first ever tablet computer, Nexus 7, at a significantly lower price than Apple’s iPad and with nearly the same features as those of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The tablet is set to hit the shelves in July.
The company’s co-founder,, unveiled the $199 device today at Google’s I/O developer’s conference in San Francisco. The device is the first to run on Android’s Jelly Bean operating system and sports a slim 7-inch screen. It is specifically designed for Google Play, an online store that sells movies, books, music, apps and other entertainment content. The device has Google Chrome as its default browser and up to 9 hours of battery life.
Jelly Bean features a new technology, Project Butter, which allows for a smoother overall experience as users swipe through with their fingers on the screen. Among the most exciting features that the tablet boasts is Google Now, which makes use of your search history, location history and calendar to get you around and the improved voice recognition software, Google Speech.
Nexus 7 comes as an attempt by Google to catch up with the growing tablet computer market, of which more than half has already been conquered by Apple. While it’s hard for Google to directly challenge Apple’s iPad, since it targets a very different group of customers than Apple, it does intend to compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, making an inexpensive route to lives of millions of users. Google Play mimics Amazon’s strategy and the size and price of the Nexus 7 also matches with that of Kindle Fire.
Nonetheless, Nexus 7 appears to be offering a bargain price, given the fact that it offers more features than Kindle, including a 1.2 mega pixel camera. Amazon’s Kindle is believed to be selling at a break even, giving many people a hunch that Google might be selling its latest device at a loss.
While the tablet carries Google’s brand, it will be manufactured in partnership with AsusTek Computers Inc. Analysts, however, doubt Nexus 7’s ability to compete in the already littered market with tablets like Samsung’s Galaxy line and the recently announced Microsoft’s Surface tablet.
Besides the main announcement of Nexus 7, the company also introduced Google’s Nexus Q, a social streaming device. The spherical Android-powered computer responds to tablet or phone and streams music directly to your speakers or videos to your television.