Peaking into Google’s Recent Nexus Lineup

1 Nov

Although the recent hurricane forced Google to cancel the Nexus event that it promised a week ago, the software giant, perhaps unwilling to fall behind Microsoft in the announcement race, made the effort to reveal its major flagship products anyway. The impressive roster line-up includes: the Nexus 4 smartphone, the “new” Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10 tablet. Also unveiled in the process is Android 4.2, an “update” to the Jelly Bean platform which had only been announced a number of months back. A quick breakdown of Google’s new mobile devices, along with a general idea of what we can expect in terms of their market performance, is summarized and detailed below:

1. “Android 4.2” Jelly Bean

The gist: Despite sticking to the same “Jelly Bean” title, Google has made sure to include in the new platform a respectable number of upgrades: Features like Photo Sphere allows panoramic photos to be taken and instantly shared on Google +, whereas Gesture Typing lets users glide their fingers over letters instead of tapping at them. Also notable is an enhanced version of Google Now, a wireless media-sharing feature known as Miracast, and a multiple user support feature that allows different people to maintain individual accounts on a single tablet/smartphone. To make things extra convenient, a “fast switching function” has also been added to allow for a “simultaneous” user experience, according to the Original Android Blog.

Implications: The snazzy Android updates, seemingly intuitive and easy to use, are likely meant as a ploy for attracting consumers towards the latest Nexus devices. Seeing as how enough differences exist between the 4.2 and 4.1 platforms, there’s little question as to Google’s potential success in this area. All three announced Nexus products are expected to come with Android 4.2 right out of the box.

2. The Nexus 4 Handset

The gist: The much anticipated 4.7-inch Nexus 4, which is modeled after LG’s Optimus G, comes with the goods that everyone had pretty much been expecting. Among the prominent features are the powerful 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, the 2 GB RAM, the 8MP rear camera (1.3MP for the front), and the True HD IPS+ screen that sports a 1280×768 resolution (320 ppi). The novel-looking orb accessory, designed to allow for wireless charging, is also getting its fair share of attention. At the moment, there’s only one slight bummer to the Nexus 4: the lack of 4G/LTE connectivity. It is unclear whether the software giant plans to announce or develop such a feature for the future version of the Nexus 4.

Implications: The incredible running speed and impressive display quality aside, many consumers will undoubtedly be happy to know that the Nexus 4 starts at a retail price of $299 USD. The affordable price tag makes the handset a legitimate high-end alternative to the iPhone, although, as suggested by Phone Arena, Google can expect competition from similarly priced products like the Xiaomi Phone 2, which also possesses similar hardware capabilities. Considering that the Nexus 4 is supposed to be Google’s major flagship device, the lack of LTE connectivity is likely to slightly hurt sales in countries where there are developed 4G networks, most notably the US and Europe.

3. The “Revamped” 16GB Nexus 7

The gist: All in all, this is pretty much the same Asus-made Nexus 7 that was introduced earlier, except that it comes with: 1) an additional 8GB of storage space; 2) 3G feature; and 3) Android 4.2. Google is reportedly discontinuing the 8GB model, and will be charging the “new” Nexus 7 at the exact same price: $199 USD.

Implications: Although unveiled about a week apart, the 16GB Nexus 7 feels almost like a direct response to Apple’s iPad mini. The resulting price tag is not at all surprising, considering that Google, much like Amazon, appears to be more concerned about market share than actually profiting from hardware sales. Thus, even at this point, it would not be unreasonable to expect the new Nexus 7 to pull a bit of the momentum away from the $329 iPad mini (16GB). A few trends also worth noting are that Google is allegedly selling about 1 million Nexus 7 tablets per month (as revealed by WSJ), and that Amazon recently released its 32 GB Kindle Fire HD, also priced at $249 USD.

4. The Nexus 10 Tablet

The gist: Mention the Nexus 10, and most tech enthusiasts will probably drone on and on about the immersive, jaw-dropping display quality. The Samsung-made device, as has been revealed, sports an astounding 2560×1600 resolution (300ppi), which is significantly higher than the 2048×1536 resolution (264ppi) from the iPad 4. Regarding the hardware specs, the Nexus 10 comes with Samsung’s 1.7Ghz dual-core 5250 processor (modeled on the Cortex A15 architecture), the ARM quad core Mali T-604 GPU, a 5MP rear camera (along with a 1.9MP front camera), NFC support, and an impressive 9000mAh battery. Topping all features, once again, is price. The 16GB Nexus 10 is charged at $399 USD, $100 USD less than the 16GB retina display iPad ($499).

Implications: With hardware features that arguably rival those of the current retina display iPad, a gorgeous looking display that will likely blow many minds, and a new Android 4.2 platform, Nexus 10 should be a no-brainer for anyone searching for an affordable high-end tablet experience. Making things all the more remarkable is the speculation that the tablet’s current display resolution is the target that Apple was allegedly aiming for with its next generation mobile devices. That Google has taken the first step in upping the resolution standard, in many ways, will certainly give the competitive edge that it needs within the tablet industry.

Google’s Nexus 4 handset, Nexus 10 tablet, and Nexus 7 will be available for purchase on November 13, 2012. Pre-order options will be available at the Google Play Store.

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