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iPad Mini Availability Improves, Nexus 4 Still Scarce

Supply of Apple's smaller iPad is beginning to catch up to demand, but those seeking the Nexus 4 still have a long wait ahead.
iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Two of the hottest devices on the market right now are the Apple iPad Mini and the Google Nexus 4. Apple's smaller tablet debuted in early November, and the Nexus 4 followed a few weeks later. Both have been hard to come by, but that's changing for at least one of the two devices.

The shipping time for the Apple iPad Mini recently improved from "one to two weeks" to "one week." That means orders placed on today will ship in about seven days and arrive a day or two after that. In other words, there's a chance the iPad Mini can still be given as a holiday gift.

The change in supply shouldn't be too much of a surprise to anyone, as Apple is making the device available in China and other markets beginning Friday, December 7. Apple would not launch the device in these markets were the supply not available.

The iPad Mini is smaller, thinner and lighter than the full-sized iPad. Its display measures 7.9 inches across the diagonal and it packs in 1024 x 768 pixels. It is powered by an A5 processor and includes a 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and is sold in several variants compatible with the LTE 4G networks run by AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Pricing starts at $329 for the 16-GB Wi-Fi model.

[ The patent wars are at least as intense as the battle for your pocketbook. See Schmidt: Apple, Google Waging A Cold War. ]

The Nexus 4, however, remains a difficult device to acquire.

In the U.S., the 8-GB version of the Nexus 4 is listed as "sold out." At the moment, new orders for it cannot be placed. Google is accepting orders for the 16-GB variant of the Nexus 4, but shipping times are listed as "six to seven weeks." In other words, orders placed through the Google Play Store today may not arrive until late January.

The device went on sale November 13, but Google quickly sold through its initial stock. The device was relisted in the Play Store November 27, but orders for the device once again swamped Google's servers.

Features of the Nexus 4 include a 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 pixel display, 1.5-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2 GB of RAM, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and wireless charging. The Nexus 4 runs a clean version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

The 8-GB Nexus 4 model costs $299 and the 16-GB model costs $349. These are the prices to own the device outright, which is being sold unlocked and without a carrier contract.