Google announced its anticipated own-brand tablet device, as well as showcasing the next version of Android, and debuting a media streamer for Android, at its I/O event yesterday.
The stand-out feature of its Nexus 7 tablet (pictured) is its price: US$199 for the 8GB version in the US – or £159 in the UK – with a 16GB version also available. Positioning the device as a media consumption tool – and a head-on rival for Amazon’s Kindle Fire – it ships in the US with a US$25 Google Play voucher (£15 in the UK), with some content also preloaded.
As the name suggests, Nexus 7 has a 7-inch screen, and is powered by a quad-core Nvidia processor, runs Android 4.1, and includes NFC – although mobile network connectivity is not an option. According to reports, it is manufactured by Asus. Availability is also planned for Canada and Australia, shipping in all markets from mid-July.
The search engine giant said that the latest version of Android, codenamed Jelly Bean, “makes everything smoother, faster and more fluid.” Notifications have been made more dynamic, to enable actions to be initiated from alerts, and it also gains a “smarter and more accurate” keyboard.
It said it had “redesigned search from the ground up,” with a new user interface and “faster, more natural” voice search. Also new is Google Now, which is designed to pre-empt user activities and “get you the right information at just the right time.”
Starting from mid-July, updates will be rolled-out to Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and Nexus S, and the platform will also be released to open-source.
Additional details on Jelly Bean are available here.
Finally, the company showed its Nexus Q media player (pictured), which connects to a television and stereo and enables content to be streamed from an Android smartphone or tablet. Available initially in the US, it is available for preorder for US$299 and will ship in mid-July.