We first saw an ASUS 7” tablet at CES 2012. That tablet would quickly drop off the radar only to emerge again at this year’s Google I/O developer conference as the Google Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is a 7” tablet that closely resembles the original ASUS model but tweaks the case and knocks the price down to $199.
Specifications include a quad core Tegra 3 processor with 12-core GPU
component, 8GB or 16GB of storage space, and 1GB of RAM. Other features
include WiFi, NFC, and Bluetooth. Further, Google announced during its Day 1 keynote
that the Nexus 7 weighs in at 340 grams and offers up to 9 hours of
video playback time. All that hardware drives Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and
an IPS display with resolution of 1280x800 resolution.
All Things D talked with both ASUS CEO Jonney Shih and Google’s Andy
Rubin about the new Google Nexus 7 tablet and how it came to be.
Reportedly, ASUS had just four months to come up with a 7” tablet for
Google that they could sell at cost for $200. Both of those added up to a
tight time schedule with 24-hour development cycle and a tablet that
was mostly similar to its CES tablet but at the lower Google price
point. Dubbed Project A Team internally, ASUS added a number of new
people to the tablet project
and moved engineers around the work – including some postings in
Silicon Valley so that they could work closely with Google. It also
enabled ASUS to work around the clock on the hardware (albeit by
different workers). Google has stated that ASUS was one of the few
companies that could have pulled off the tablet in the short time frame given. AllThingsD quoted Google’s Andy Rubin as saying “We went from zero to working product in four months.”
On the ASUS side of things, Jonney Shih told the site that “our
engineers told me it is like torture” regarding working with Google to
develop the tablet. Also, he stated that Google can be a demanding
company to work with. “They ask a lot.”
it showed off at CES,
but the difficult part was taking that same tablet and making it cost
less than $200. Google’s goal with that price point was to attempt to
capture the mainstream market – a market that is currently buying into
the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet tablets (and accompanying ecosystems).
Despite being based on Android, both Barnes and Noble and Amazon have
heavily tweaked the interface and heavily tied the hardware into their
content ecosystems. Google wants to do the same with its Play Store by
releasing a tablet at cost on its Google Play Store that will run the
latest – and bloatware-free – version of Android. The company is trying
to position the Nexus 7 as the perfect tablet to consumer Play Music,
Play Books, and Play Movies on. The hardware inside and out along with
the latest Android OS do make it a very compelling option for people
wanting a tablet with the form factor of the Kindle Fire but the full
(and latest) stock version of Android. Both companies seemed to run into
the Nexus 7, but in the end the pressure ASUS was under may have
resulted in a "diamond in the (Android tablet) rough."
What do you think of the Nexus 7? Is it the Kindle Fire for the more
tech savvy (and/or those not already heavilly invested in a competing
media catalog like Itunes, Amazon Kindle, et al)?