Google Primed To Debut 7-Inch Tablet At I/O

Mere hours before Google is set to take the stage at its developer conference in San Francisco, sources say its new 7-inch tablet will be the highlight of the show.
Samsung's Android Super Smartphone: Galaxy SIII
Samsung's Android Super Smartphone: Galaxy SIII
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As if we didn't have enough confirmation already, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Google is prepared to show off a new Android-based tablet at its Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco this week.

Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with Google's plans, reported the company is prepared to reveal a brand new tablet during its keynote address at its developer conference Wednesday. The new tablet, which will be built by Taiwan's Asustek (but will bear Google branding) will shoot not for the midrange of the Android tablet market--and not even the high end of the tablet market--but instead hope to fend off sales to Android tablets sold by Amazon and others.

The Nexus 7's seven-inch display will be an in-plane switching LCD with 1280 x 800 pixels. That will make it a capable device for viewing 720p HD video content, which will fill nearly the entire display.

Forget about recording good video, though. The Nexus 7 has a 1.2-megapixel user-facing camera, but no rear-facing camera at all. The user-facing camera means the Nexus 7 can serve for video chats, but suggests the device isn't meant to stand in for a proper camera or cellphone camera.

Under the hood, it appears as though the Nexus 7 will include a 1.3-GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The Tegra 3 is a highly capable chipset that includes a fifth companion core for low-power computing tasks. It will be aided by an Nvidia graphics chip and 1 GB of RAM.

[ Microsoft may alienate consumers by targeting the high end of the tablet market. See Microsoft Surface To Start At $599? ]

As for wireless network support, it will be limited to 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. No cellular data of any sort, neither 3G nor 4G. Lacking 3G/4G, the Nexus 7 will not be as "mobile" as tablets equipped with cellular radios. However, this will help keep the cost down, which is said to be a chief concern of Google's with this device. Another benefit of ditching the cellular radios is improved battery life. According to the leaked documents, the Nexus 7 will offer 8 hours of Wi-Fi Internet browsing.

Rounding out the specs, is believed to come in two memory configurations, 8 GB and 16 GB, priced at $199 and $249, respectively. Most competing tablets start at 16 GB and range up as high as 64 GB. Offering an 8-GB model will also help keep costs down.

As for the operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean has been pegged as the platform for the Nexus 7.

Google is expected to sell such a device directly to consumers via the Google Play Store, rather than through wireless network operator retail stores. The Google Play Store already offers one Nexus-branded device (the Galaxy Nexus) and is expected to stock many more before the end of the year.

Room-based videoconference systems don't connect to desktops, new and old systems don't integrate, and almost nothing connects to Skype. Can't we do better? Also in the Videoconference Disconnect digital issue of InformationWeek: The cloud and mobility will transform videoconferencing. (Free with registration.)

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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer