Google ups challenge to iPad, Kindle with debut of $199 Nexus 7

The Google Nexus 7.

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

The worst-kept secret in Google land is now official.

The Nexus 7 tablet was unveiled today at the Google I/O Conference. As previously reported, the device was built by Asus and comes with a 7-inch 1,280 x 800 HD display. According to Google, it’s running the Tegra 3 processor, and has a front-facing camera for video chatting. Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as Bluetooth and near-field communication support are also included in the device.

Rumors had been swirling for months that Google would offer the tablet. Earlier this morning, the company mistakenly posted a banner image of the device on its Google Play store.

Google’s Android 4.1 tablet, the Nexus 7 (pictures)

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In making the announcement, Google made its claim for a piece of a hard-fought market where its entry will compete against’s Kindle Fire – which it approximates in size and price – as well as Apple’s iPad.

The Nexus 7 comes in the customer’s choice of an 8GB or 16GB model. The 8GB option retails for $199, while the 16GB version will go on sale at $249. The device will start shipping in two to three weeks. However, interested customers can start preordering the tablet today.

Rounding out the specs is a Micro-USB port, 1GB of RAM, a 1.2-megapixel front camera (no back camera included), a gyroscope, GPS, accelerometer, microphone, and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi.

The device measures 10.45mm thick, weighs 0.7 pound, and, from the looks of the first pictures released, has a textured, grippy backside and looks to be about the same size as the Kindle Fire.

The Nexus 7 will be the first device to run the latest version of the Android 4.1 OS, also known as Jelly Bean. Google says to expect 9 hours of 720p HD video battery life.

Related Links:

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