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Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet for just $199

Google unveils Nexus 7 tablet

Google Inc took the wraps off its first tablet computer on Wednesday, looking forward to replicate its smartphone success in the tablet market despite facing fierce competition from Apple Inc, Microsoft and Amazon.

The 7-inch Nexus tablet will run on Android's newest operating system flavor, 4.1 Jelly Bean. The slate was showed off by the company at its annual Google I/O keynote event. It is manufactured by Asus, known for making other Android tablets including the Transformer and the Transformer Prime.

The device has a 1280 x 800-pixel high-definition display, made with reading and watching videos in mind. It has a speedy Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor under the hood, front-facing camera for video chat, 9 hours of video playback when compared to the iPad's 10-hour playback life and 300 hours of standby battery time. The tablet weighs 340 grams, which is about as much as a paperback book.

It features tighter integration with Google Play, with content being front and center, similar to how the Amazon Kindle Fire functions. Due to this, Google Play now has a new 3D magazine app with tablet-optimized articles that render well on the Nexus 7's screen.

Nexus 7 will also be the first device that ships with Chrome as its native browser. Chrome, despite being Google's browser, hasn't been available on Android until a beta version of it was introduced for Ice Cream Sandwich devices.

You can order the new tablet from the Google Play store with two price tiers namely, $199 for the 8GB model and 16GB version, making it a true Kindle Fire competitor. It will start shipping in mid July.

"That range of services will be the secret to stitching together this rag-tag fleet of Android gadgets into a platform that can compete with Apple for minutes of users' attention rather than premium device dollars," said Forrester analyst James McQuivey.