In late June, Google held its annual Google I/O conference for developers. Each year, new products are announced and demonstrated.
Leading up to this years conference, rumors were in high gear regarding two potential announcements — Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the release a 7” $200 tablet, Android tablet. Both rumors ended up proving true, complete with a tablet — the Nexus 7 — running the latest version of Android, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Starting in mid-July, the Nexus 7 began shipping from Google to customers and retailers nationwide.
Android 4.1 is a major update to the Android operating system. Internally, Google launched Project Butter; a project with the end goal of speeding up Android and reducing some of the lag and choppiness the OS has, unfortunately, become known for. Project Butter does not disappoint. The Nexus 7, as well as the Galaxy Nexus, both feel faster, the transitions are smoother and the overall user experience has been made buttery smooth (sorry, I had to).
Android 4.1 also brings with it Google Now, Google’s voice service, similar to Siri on iOS, but with an eerie twist. Google Now stays one step ahead of what you’ll need or want, by learning about you the more you use your device. When you launch Google Now throughout the day, you’ll be presented with cards. There’s a weather card, cards suggesting where to eat, giving you flight status updates when you’re at the airport or even directions from your current location to your house or office. All of this information is based off of your Google search habits, the time of day and your current location. You don’t even have to tell the app where you live or work, it will figure it out. It’s impressive, to say the least.The Nexus 7, as the name implies, comes equipped with a 7” screen, a front-facing 1.2 MP camera for video calls, Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth. You can get a Nexus 7 with either 8 or 16 GB of storage for movies, books, games, music and apps. It’s not a whole lot of storage, but for $199 for the 8 GB or $249 for the 16 GB model, you can’t complain too much about storage.
As more users get their hands on the Nexus 7, the overall tone and outlook of the Nexus 7 has been positive. In fact, the Nexus 7 has seen such a high demand, Google completely sold out of the 16 GB model and had stop selling it from its Web site. The Nexus 7 isn’t an iPad killer, but it was never intended to be. At such a low price point, Google can’t compete with the size and specs of the iPad. Where Google hopes to gain market share is by having the lower price point combined with a catalog full of content.
In short — the Nexus 7 is a direct competitor of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. And it beats the Fire, by a long shot. Right now, there is no better 7” tablet on the market. If you’re looking for a tablet that isn’t an iPad, or don’t want to spend at least $399 on a tablet, the Nexus 7 is a great purchase. You can order the Nexus 7 from play.google.com.