Google has unveiled the Nexus 7, its first own-brand Android tablet made by the Taiwanese company Asus.
Google tablet will be sold for $199 from mid-July pitching it directly against Amazon’s Kindle Fire. It is set to be released in mid-July.
The 7-inch device has a smaller screen than Apple’s bestselling iPad and is 340g meaning it is also lighter to hold.
It also features Google’s Chrome browser at its default option – the first Android device to do so.
Google has unveiled the Nexus 7, its first own-brand Android tablet made by Asus
The machine features a quad-core CPU (central processing unit) and a 12-core GPU (graphics processing unit).
Having so many cores means the machine can ramp up its processing power when dealing with complicated graphics or running several programs at once, but can use less at other times to extend battery life.
The first countries to get the device are the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
While the tablet had been widely rumored before the firms I/O developers conference in San Francisco, the unveiling of another product – the Nexus Q – proved a surprise.
The device is a small Android-powered computer without its own screen. Rather than be used as a standalone unit it is meant to be plugged into a stereo and television system.
It can stream music and videos from other devices allowing both its owner and others to play media files.
Google described it as the “world’s first ever social streaming device”.
Google is set to launch a smaller, cheaper Android rival to Apple’s iPad as early as May.
Made in partnership with tablet-maker Asus, Google’s tablet could sell for as little as $200, and will have a seven-inch screen, according to a leak reported in Digitimes.
Google’s tablet would be a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire – and like Fire, would be built to sell content such as video and music via Google’s own online store.
Google recently rebranded its Android Marketplace as Google Play, streamlining services such as its video store, e-book store and app marketplace, so the timing would make sense.
The company already offers similar Google-branded smartphones, made in collaboration with Samsung.
Made in partnership with tablet-maker Asus, Google’s tablet could sell for as little as $200, and will have a seven-inch screen
Leaks from hi-tech suppliers in the Far East had already hinted that a small, cheap Android “entertainment tablet” might be released in the first half of this year.
In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly said: “In the next six months, we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality.”
Apple is rumored to be working on an “iPad Mini” with a similar form factor, according to analyst reports, which could appear in the third quarter this year.
Digitimes also reports that Google spoke to other tablet companies such as HTC before deciding on Asus.
Asus makes the hit EEE Pad Transformer, one of the most distinctive Android devices, and was showing off a seven-inch tablet at CES.
“Asustek’s motivation for cooperating with Google is to win Google’s confidence to facilitate development of its Android-based devices, learn Google’s technology to develop software and content, as well as enter the tablet US market,” said Digitimes.