New Google Nexus 7 tablet with Android 4.3 officialAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Today Google and Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai hosted a breakfast for the press, and just as expected, the menu consisted of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and a new Nexus 7 tablet. Google today officially took the wraps off of its latest Nexus device, a 7-inch tablet manufactured by ASUS. The device features a 7-inch 1920x1200 display, notification light and 1.2-megapixel camera on its face, and around back there's a pair of speakers and 5-megapixel shooter.
Moving inside the refreshed Nexus 7, we find a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC and wireless charging. Google will also offer a 4G LTE-capable version of the new Nexus 7 that supports for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon LTE in a single unlocked model.
The new Nexus 7 will be available in 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi-only models for $229 and $269 as well as a 32GB LTE model for $349. The Wi-Fi-only variants will launch in the U.S. on July 30 on Google Play and at several retailers. Google says that the LTE-enabled Nexus 7 will launch in the "coming weeks." The new tablet will also be released in Canada, U.K. Germany Spain France Japan, Korea and Australia in the coming weeks, with more countries to follow.
Powering the new Nexus tablet is Android 4.3. Just like Android 4.2 before it, this version 4.3 is an enhanced version of the Jelly Bean update that first debuted at Google I/O 2012. That doesn't mean that there's nothing inside Android 4.3 to get excited about, though. The update brings with it new features like restricted user access, which will allow control over apps and content at a user level, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy support for devices like fitness monitors and other wearables, OpenGL ES 3.0 and more DRM APIs.
The new Nexus 7 will be the first device to launch with Android 4.3 in tow, but Google will also be updating its existing hardware to the new software. Google says that it'll begin updating the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, original Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 starting today. Updates for the Google Play editions of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 will be rolled out "very soon."
Google also took the wraps off of its new Google Play Games app today. The app, which will be available in the Google Play Store today, allows users to view their recently-played games as well as a friends list that utilizes their Google+ circles to show what others are playing. Achievements and leaderboards are also supported in Google Play Games.
In addition to its new Google Play Games app, Google has announced that textbooks will be coming to the Google Play Books section of its marketplace in August. Books will be available from five major publishers, and customers will have the option of buying a book outright or renting one for 6 months. Once users plunk down the cash for a digital textbook, they'll be able to sync it across Android, iOS and the web.
Rounding out Google's new product announcements is the Chromecast. This small dongle connects to an HDTV over HDMI and allows users to project content to the television using their phone, tablet or laptop. The Chromecast supports multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Chrome OS. Once users connect to the Chromecast over Wi-Fi, they'll be able to beam content like video and music to a TV and use their smartphone, tablet or laptop to control playback. The Chromecast is now available in the Play Store for $35.