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New Nexus 7 adds Jelly Bean and full HD

Google's tablet increasingly competitive with Kindle Fire and iPad Mini, and textbooks added to Play storefront at last


Published: 25 July, 2013

READ MORE: Google | Tablet | Android

Google has unveiled its latest Nexus 7 tablet, performing the product family's traditional function of showcasing the latest Android advances, in this case release 4.3 or Jelly Bean.

It is the first commercial device to ship with the updated operating system but these days, Nexus is not just designed to attract developers but mainstream consumers, so it is acquiring the kind of specifications to compete head-on with the Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iPad Mini and even offerings from Google Android partners like Samsung. As yet, however, Google's own hardware unit, Motorola Mobility, has not contributed to the Nexus portfolio - the latest tablet is made by Asus, like its predecessor.

Its upgraded specs include a slimmer, lighter design, higher resolution screen, 1080 HD video support and more powerful graphics processor. It comes in three models - a 16GB Wi-Fi version for $229; a 32GB Wi-Fi version for $269; and a 32GB LTE high end for $349. The Wi-Fi variants will be available from Tuesday in the Google Play store, while the 4G tablet will be available in the coming weeks through T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon. Initial international launches will follow "very soon" in Canada, the UK, Spain, Korea and Australia.

The product is two millimetres thinner and 50 grams lighter than the original Nexus 7 and its 7-inch display supports true HD with 1920 x 1200 pixels, up from 1280 x 800. This is enabling Google to attract video streaming partners such as Netflix. The tablet also features dual stereo speakers, dual cameras (1.2-megapixels and 5-mp), and runs on a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, which has four times greater graphics performance and 1.8 times faster speed than its forerunner. System RAM is 2GB and as well as Wi-Fi, there is support for Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy).

"Nexus 7 has been a big hit, and we're going to try to follow up with another one," said Hugo Barra, product manager at Google, at the launch, claiming that Nexus 7 now accounts for 10% of the total Android slate segment.

Google will also push an Android 4.3 software update to existing Nexus devices over the air. Increasingly, its tablet is positioned head-to-head with Kindle Fire, aiming for the same tight level of integration with the content store and purchasing process. Amazon has its own Android platform and storefront, so while it expands the Android market, it also compete with Google, which is enhancing Google Play in response. Its latest addition, though, is more heavily targeted against Apple iTunes - the search giant has added a digital textbook section for the first time. Form August, Google Play Textbooks will host digital titles from "all five major publishing houses" with the ability to purchase books or rent them for up to six months.

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