Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), as had been rumored, unveiled a new version of its Nexus 7 Android tablet, including an unlocked version that can support the LTE networks of Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS). Previous Nexus-branded tablets, including the original Nexus 7 and the larger Nexus 10, did not support LTE.
Google's new Nexus 7
During a launch event Google also officially announced Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the latest update to its Android platform. Google said that the new Nexus 7, made by Asus, will be the first device to run Android 4.3.
It's unclear why support for Sprint's (NYSE:S) LTE network is not available on the new gadget. A Sprint spokeswoman declined to comment. Verizon and AT&T both use 700 MHz spectrum for their LTE networks, and T-Mobile is using its 1700 MHz AWS spectrum for LTE, but Sprint's LTE network runs on the carrier's 1900 MHz band.
Hugo Barra, director of product management for Android, said the Wi-Fi-only versions of the new Nexus 7 will be available for $229 for the 16 GB model and $269 for the 32 GB model, starting July 30. A 32 GB LTE model will be available for $349 in the coming weeks, he said. The Wi-Fi models will be available online from Google Play and also at a range of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, OfficeMax, RadioShack, Staples and Walmart. Google did not reveal distribution for the LTE model.
Google said that it will roll out the Nexus 7 to international markets in the next few weeks, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Spain.
The new Nexus 7 features a slimmer design than the original, and also sports beefier specs. The new 7-inch tablet has a "true 1080p" HD resolution with 1920 x 1200 pixels, and features a quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 5-megapxiel camera, 1.2-megapxiel front-facing camera and dual stereo speakers with Fraunhofer virtual surround sound.
At the start of the event, Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who oversees Android as well as the company's Chrome efforts, said that Android tablet activations totaled around 10 million at the end of 2012, but he said that number has now ballooned to 70 million. He said the original Nexus 7 has accounted for more than 10 percent of all Android tablet sales, and that Android now makes up around half of all global tablet sales, with the leader continuing to be Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.
- see this Google post
- see this The Verge live blog
- see this AllThingsD live blog
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