Google unveils $199 Nexus 7 Android tablet

We recently reported on the unveiling of Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablets, which could be a more business-friendly alternative to Apple’s iPad. Now Google has announced its own tablet, which may be worth a look, especially for groups that will trade some features for a lower price. 

News about an upcoming low-cost Google tablet first appeared in April, and Google recently made the announcement official, giving the device a name, the Nexus 7, and detailing some of its specifications.

The company announced the tablet as the first in a line of Nexus devices being developed jointly by Google and ASUS. The Nexus 7 will cost $199 is expected to be available some time in July.

What will the device feature? Some of the tablet’s key specifications include:

  1. A seven-inch 1280 x 800 LCD display
  2. An NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM
  3. 16GB of storage (can be upgraded to 32 GB for an extra $50)
  4. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, and
  5. WiFi connectivity only (no 3G or 4G data connection).

While Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablets have been labelled powerful devices aimed at enterprise users and iPad competitors, analysts say the Nexus 7 is being launched by Google to take on Amazon’s similarly priced Kindle Fire.

Early reviews of Google’s tablet have been positive, suggesting it could be a good choice for users and organizations, especially for the price range. For example, the Washington Post’s Joshua Topolsky wrote that the Nexus 7 is well-designed and powerful device that would be impressive even at a different cost.

Another review from Gizmodo’s Brent Rose praised the device’s speed and portability, saying the Nexus 7 is “like the Kindle Fire, if the Kindle Fire was a real tablet” and “like the iPad, if the iPad cost half as much and ran Android.”