We all knew almost for certain that Google would be announcing the new Nexus 7 this morning at Sundar Pichai’s Android breakfast, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting to finally see the rumored device officially revealed. Along with the tablet, Google also announced Android 4.3, a small but definite update to the Android operating system.
The biggest upgrade to the Nexus 7’s hardware is the new display, a 7-inch 1920 x 1200 resolution panel with an impressive 323ppi pixel density. The display also uses IPS technology for bright whites and viewing angles (no true blacks, though), and is coated with Corning Glass.
Inside the tablet is a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor paired with an Adreno 32 GPU and 2GB of RAM. A 5MP rear camera has finally been added, and the 1.2MP camera remains the same except for a move away from the exact center of the device.
As with the previous Nexus 7, 16GB and 32GB versions are being offered, and the device does not include a microSD card slot. Connectivity includes dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and NFC. Dual stereo speakers now replace the single speaker on the previous Nexus, and the new 3,950mAh (why not 4,000, just to make it easier) battery also supports Qi wireless charging. (Although whether or not the tablet will fit on the Nexus 4’s wireless charger is still in question.
In addition to much nicer hardware, the new Nexus 7 was announced with Android 4.3, dubbed by Google a “sweeter Jelly Bean.” As such, it isn’t a major update, but includes a few new features. Bluetooth Smart (Low-Energy Bluetooth) is now supported, which will dramatically increase battery life when using compatible accessories.
OpenGL ES 3.0 was added under the hood, which doesn’t sound like a big benefit to consumers, but should result in games that look that much better. Multiple user accounts have also been improved, as some profiles can now be restricted, which will allow primarily for parental controls on family tablets. Finally, smartphones will finally get a T9 dialer, which will use the numbers or letters to autocomplete phone numbers, something many users have been waiting quite a while for.
Pricing for the tablet is a little bit higher than before, at $229 for the 16GB version and $269 for the 32GB, just as we expected. There will also be a dual-band LTE model complete with LTE for T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon for $349.
The new Nexus 7 really isn’t much of a surprise, but the tablet still looks like a great update to the original, with many of the features users were asking for like better battery life and a rear camera. I still don’t know exactly how useful 7-inch tablets are (at least personally), but regardless the new Nexus 7 is poised to be the best in the category.