Google just conjured up its platonic ideal of an Android tablet: killer specs, the most pristine possible software, and a $200 price. Wil this be the Android tablet that finally makes Android tablets exciting? Is Amazon going to lose?
The Nexus, a slim, trim piece of gear packed with the latest Jelly Bean release of Android, falls mostly in line with what we were expecting: built by Asus, the Nexus holds a 1.3Ghz quad-core CPU, 12-core Tegra 3 processor, NFC, and 1 GB of RAM, a 1.2MP front-facing camera, and 8 hours of battery life—all with two different storage variants: 8 GB and 16 GB. That's a damn good level of muscle behind a 7-inch, 1280x800 screen, measuring 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm.
It's also clear from the price—$200 for the 8 GB model and $250 for 16 GB—that this thing is aiming squarely to extinguish the Fire, as is the big push Google is pressing on sucking up your favorite media. So far, it's the only tablet that isn't an iPad that's managed to make large groups of people care in the real world, owing, yes, largely to the fact that it's cheap. If Google can manage to not only sell a cheap, powerful Android tablet, but a powerful Android tablet that doesn't scare off moms and non-geeks, the Nexus will hit the ground with serious momentum—it's sure as hell kicking the Fire's ass in about every other category.
What it's lacking, however? Amazon Prime, and all the super myriad goodies that come with that. We'll see if Google can give you as compelling a list of things to do on your tablet as Amazon has. Google is gunning for Prime, too, now that Google Play offers pretty much every medium short of signal flare. This, not crazy specs and wobbly tablet gaming, is how many are going to be persuaded (or not) to buy a Nexus over a fire. Watch and listen to whatever you want, as easily as you can—that's the draw. Magazines, books, and TV shows all admittedly look great in Google's demo—it's done a terrific job with the interface—but so far Play doesn't provide the unlimited pipe of Prime. Maybe the beefy guts inside will make up for that. [Google]