SAN FRANCISCO: Google on Wednesday opened fire on iPad and Kindle Fire with a Nexus tablet designed to showcase the latest Android software and be a window into its online shop for films, music and more.
The Nexus 7 tablet computer will be priced at less than half the cost of the market-leading iPad and broadens Google’s arsenal in its battle against Apple, Amazon.com, and Microsoft to be at the heart of Internet Age lifestyles.
The seven-inch tablet powered by the latest generation of Android software is being made for Google by Taiwan-based Asus and weighs about as much as a paperback book, according to Android team head Hugo Barra.
Nexus tablets were available for order in Australia, Canada, Britain, and the United States at the Google Play store at a price of $199 and would begin shipping in mid-July, Barra said. That is the same price as Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
The tablets come with a $25 coupon for Google Play content — Google’s answer to Amazon and Apple’s iTunes stores for books, music, magazines and other content.
Google also introduced an Android-powered Nexus Q device for wirelessly streaming films or music from Google Play to televisions or speakers.
Along with the new hardware, Google said it is beefing up its Google Play store to offer more entertainment.
In addition to movie rentals, Google will be offering films for sale. The California-based Internet powerhouse boasted partnerships with major studios such as Disney, Paramount and Sony.
Google Play will also be adding digital magazines from Hearst, Conde Nast and other publishers.
Nexus 7 weighs 340 grams and has a front-facing camera. Android platform developer Chris Yerga said Nexus 7 is also “a serious gaming device.”
Google at the same time said it was releasing a new version of its Android software for mobile devices, called “Jelly Bean,” which “builds on top of Ice Cream Sandwich,” the current iteration of Android.
“It makes everything smoother, faster and more fluid,” the Google blog said.