Google announces Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 10 tablet, and Android 4.2
October 29, 2012
Google had some big announcements today, and it couldn't even be stopped by a Super Storm. Though Hurricane Sandy forced the search giant to cancel its planned New York event, the company plowed ahead and revealed three new devices and a major software update.
In the third major mobile tech reveal in the last week (following big events by Apple and Microsoft), Google announced the Nexus 4 smartphone, the Nexus 10 full-sized tablet, and a minor update to the budget Nexus 7. All three devices will ship with Android 4.2, which carries on the Jellybean name.
Most of the details of LG's first Google collaboration were leaked in advance. Like the original Nexus One, the Nexus 4 is being sold directly by Google: online and off-contract. US$299 gets you a 4.7-inch 1280x768 display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chip, and a bedazzled back. The base model sports 8GB of storage, but you can boost that to 16GB for $349.
The Nexus 4 is one of the first big-name smartphones to ship with wireless charging tech. The phone doesn't include a charging mat, but Google advertises that the inductive charging capabilities are built into the phone.
Though the Google/HTC Nexus One wasn't exactly a hot-seller when it was sold off-contract online, things have changed in almost three years. Google has now established its own online storefront, Google Play, which will increase the device's exposure. Its modest off-contract starting price should also help offset its lack of LTE.
The Nexus 4 is available on November 13 in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Canada.
Google also revealed its first direct iPad competitor, the Nexus 10. Building on the success of the Nexus 7, the full-sized tablet has an unprecedented 10.055-inch 2560 x 1600 display. Its 299 pixels per inch (PPI) are a significant upgrade over the Retina Display iPad's 264PPI.
The Nexus 10 starts at a competitive US$399. You won't have to wait long for the new device, as it too ships in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan on November 13.
The Nexus 7 received an expected minor spec bump. For the prices that used to buy you 8GB ($200) and 16GB ($250) of storage, you can now get 16GB and 32GB of storage.
The 7-inch tablet also, for the first time, gets cellular data. Though there's no LTE to be found, the tablet connects to 3G networks across the globe, as well as HSPA+ (typically marketed as "4G").
Though it didn't receive the honor of being named after its own alphabetical dessert, Android 4.2 is a big update to Jellybean. It features a stock Swype-like trace keyboard, a new take on panoramic photography called Photo Sphere (it takes panoramas that extend 360 degrees in all directions), and support for multiple user accounts on tablets. Google Now also receives an update, now letting you track packages, check movie listings, and browse popular photo spots.
More to come
With the holidays approaching, the last week has been jam-packed with new products. If Google's slew of announcements – combined with Apple's and Microsoft's – are too much to digest, check back for more in-depth analysis and comparisons of all the new gadgets.