Google Unveils The New Nexus 7 Android Tablet, An iPad Mini Rival With A Super Screen Available July 30

Google today unveiled its new Nexus 7 tablet at a special event hosted by Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai. The tablet isn’t a surprise, thanks to a handful of early leaks, but it is an impressive device nonetheless. The Android 4.3-powered tablet ups the ante on screen resolution in a big way with a 1920×1200 display, giving it 323 PPI pixel density, much greater than that of the more expensive iPad mini.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Nexus 7’s other salient specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz Processor
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB or 32GB onboard storage
  • 5.0MP rear, 1.2MP front camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 0.3-inches thin, 7.9″ x 4.5″
  • 16GB Wi-Fi ($229), 32GB Wi-Fi ($269), 64GB LTE ($349)
  • Wi-Fi models available in the U.S. July 30, LTE edition and global models “in the coming weeks”

It’s lighter, thinner and has a much smaller bezel than the original Nexus 7, and is designed all around for portability. The idea was to create something focused entirely on design, according to Google’s Hugo Barra. It’s the highest pixel density on a tablet display available on the market, and the color gamut offers 30 percent wider range of colors, too. Now there’s also a virtual 5.1 sound system in the device provided by Fraunhofer. Virtual surround is always more disappointing than it sounds, but better than mono audio.

The processor offers 1.8 times the processing power, and 4 times the GPU performance. There’s LTE built-in, which is an unlocked option that’s available only in the US. Batter life offers 9 hours of HD playbook and 10 hours of web browsing.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 9.17.50 AMGoogle has once again tapped Asus as the manufacturing partner for its own-branded tablet, and that’s great news for that OEM as the previous generation was its best-selling tablet by most accounts. The new Nexus 7 definitely pushes the needle over and above the last generation, especially with that screen, but we’ll have to wait and see whether that drives more consumers in its direction, and away from Apple’s comfortable embrace.

The Nexus 7 has sold around 7 million units to date, if you believe estimates from generally reliable analysts. It’s an absolute drop in the bucket compared to Apple’s iPad success, which easily beats that number each quarter, but relative to other Android tablets the Nexus line, and the small one in particular, is a growing success, above and beyond its value as an aspirational reference design for Google to demonstrate Android’s tablet potential. It’s designed to address the “explosion in tablets,” according to Pichai on stage, which now sees almost one in two tablets powered by Android.