Google is now taking orders for the Nexus 7, the first tablet to wear the Nexus name. As expect, it’s built by Asus and has a starting price of $199 for an 8GB model. There’s also a 16GB version available for $249. Google is selling both through the Play Store, alongside the Galaxy Nexus smartphone (which has been marked down from $399 to $349).
The tablet will ship in mid-July. It’s available first in the US, Canada, and the UK. More countries will follow.
The Nexus 7 is also the the first device to ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.
The tablet features a 1.3 GHz NVDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display with scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. It has a 1.2MP front-facing camera, 1GB of RAM, and up to 9 hours of battery life while watching HD videos.
Measuring 7.8″ x 4.7″ x 0.41″, and weighing 12 ounces, the Nexus 7 is about the same size as a Kindle Fire or NOOK Tablet. It’s also about the same price, but it has a faster processor, a built-in camera, and Google Certification.
Google’s new tablet also has a microphone, NFC support, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, a magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer.
While the Nexus 7 is the first tablet available for less than $200 with a high resolution screen, quad-core processor, and Google Certification, it may not be the last. The Asus tablet is based on NVIDIA’s Kai platform which provides a reference design for inexpensive, high quality tablets. We could see more devices in this mold soon.
Optional accessories include a $20 Nexus 7 cover, and an additional charging adapter and cable for $25.
Google is also giving new customers $25 to spend in the Play Store, plus a free copy of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, plus a free book and some free magazine issues.
On the software side, the Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Google Chrome as the default web browser. Google has also included new home screen widgets including an app that lets you tap to identify a song that’s playing, Shazaam-style, and open a link in the Google Play Store to buy the song.