Google has long been a dominant player in the smartphone world, enjoying greater global market share than Apple’s iPhone and a tremendous lead over every other competitor, but the viability of Android in the tablet space took a bit longer to establish. A lack of optimization for larger screens held the platform back in its earliest forms, and it did not begin to gain much traction until Amazon introduced its heavily skinned Kindle Fire series in late 2011, providing reasonably high end specs at a comparatively low price point.
Partnering with Asus, Google followed suit last July, offering a more vanilla Android experience for those seeking a high performance slate on a budget in the form of the Nexus 7. The first tab in the Nexus line sold millions, blazing a trail in the tablet market for Android devices while undercutting the cost of its greatest competitor, the iPad, and fueling increased demand for slimmer devices. Despite its popularity, the Nexus 7 did come with a few cost-reducing cutbacks, such as the absence of a rear-facing camera.
Yesterday, at a press conference in California, Google announced it would soon be releasing a successor to its popular 7” slate. Bearing the same moniker and manufacturer, the new Nexus 7 will maintain its namesake screen size while shaving down the bevel by 2.75 mm on both sides and measure in at 1.8 mm thinner. Despite the more compact size, 2013’s iteration will have a battery capable of lasting 10% longer than the original, and its resolution has been improved to 1980x1200 for full 1080p video playback (that’s nearly double the pixel density of Apple’s iPad mini).
Other upgrades include double the memory (from 1 GB to 2 GB of RAM), the introduction of a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, stereo speakers with virtual surround sound, and built-in wireless charging. The New Nexus 7 will also ship with the latest version of the Android operating system, 4.3 Jelly Bean, though that update is already rolling out for owners of existing Nexus devices.
When the Nexus goes up for sale on Tuesday, July 30th, it will be available in 16 GB and 32 GB models for $229 and $269 (a $30 increase over the price of last year’s Nexuses). A 4G LTE model which can work with AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon will also be up for sale with a heftier price tag of $349. Unlike the previous Nexus 7, which had a somewhat limited selection of authorized retailers, the new model will be sold at a multitude of outlets including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Google Play, RadioShack, Staples, and Walmart.