Meet the Nexus 7, the first Android tablet sold directly by Google and the first to run Android 4.1, a.k.a. Jelly Bean. The 7-inch tablet is priced like an ebook reader but offers a lot more. Its low price, big screen, and impressive performance might give Apple's iPod Touch and low-end iPad a run for the money, too. Don't completely count out Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 just yet, though.
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Although the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 might have been this year's first must-have Android tablet, the Google Nexus 7, the first Android tablet distributed by Google, is a hot item right now. The 16GB model of the new Asus-manufactured 7-inch tablet was out of stock for a while but is available again.
The Nexus 7 is the first tablet to be based on Android 4.1, code-named Jelly Bean. (A minor update--version 4.1.1--was available when I first turned on my Nexus 7 on July 19.) Jelly Bean is a vast improvement over the last two versions of the Android OS. Android 3, a.k.a Honeycomb, was a sluggish, half-baked operating system that made for a maddening tablet experience. Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, brought stability and a better overall user experience. Jelly Bean, combined with the Nexus 7's quad-core processor, provides a faster, more-responsive touch experience that approaches Apple's iPad.
The Nexus 7 has some blemishes, chief among them limited storage and an ill-fitting case, but it's hard to ignore its overall appeal. Here's why I think the Nexus 7 deserves the attention it has gotten so far--and why the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 might still be a tablet worth considering.
Name: Nexus 7
Price: $199 (8GB), $249 (16GB) The first Android tablet to be sold directly by Google, the Nexus 7 is shaking up the 7-inch tablet market with aggressive pricing, performance, and features. It could give Apple's rumored 7-inch iPad a run for its money.