Well, hello there, the worst-kept secret in tech. Apple’s iPad mini is the company’s newest device, a 7.9-inch tablet that’s designed to go toe-to-toe with Google’s Nexus 7. For now, it’ll sit alongside the iPad 2 and fourth-generation iPad, and as it packs the same 1,024 x 768 display as the second-generation slate, apps will carry across without any resizing. While Phil Schiller didn’t mention Google or the Nexus 7 by name, the rival slate (and Google’s app library) was compared to the newest iOS device. On stage, he claimed that the screen, which is .9-inch larger than the Nexus 7, gives the iPad mini 35 percent more display area than Google and ASUS’ collaboration.
On the hardware size, the 7.2mm thick, .68 pounds device has been manufactured with an “all new” process that gives it the same anodized edges as you’ll find on the iPhone 5. If you were hoping for equal specifications to the big-daddy iPad, you may be mildly disappointed. While it will pack a 5-megapixel camera and an LTE modem (if you opt to buy a cellular model), it’s running the last-generation A5 CPU. However, the slower internals and less potent display may account for how the company has been able to squeeze out a claimed 10 hours of use despite the constrained space for a battery. Pre-orders for the $329, 16GB WiFi-only model begin on Friday (October 26th) and will begin shipping on November 2nd. The cellular-equipped models will begin shipping a few weeks afterward on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, with the 16GB base model costing $459, running all the way to $659 for the 64GB unit.
Earlier this morning, Google did the iOS crowd a generous favor by flipping the switch on its Street View service to help alleviate some of those Maps troubles, so it’s only natural to take care of the Android faithful as well. With that in mind, Google has updated its Gesture Search to be fully compatible with the ASUS-built Nexus 7, as well as improving the application’s UI, boosting search performance, adding support for more languages and allowing contacts without digits to now be searchable. The new version of Gesture Search can be downloaded now via Google Play, straight from your device or by simply using the link down below.
The stock Nexus 7 peaks at a 1.3GHz clock speed when it’s at full burn. That’s certainly good enough for the $199 price tag, but eager adopters have just hit a new record in trying to wring out even more of a bang for the buck. Courtesy of a custom Elite kernel from XDA-Developers‘ Clemsyn, the Tegra 3 in the mini tablet will scale all the way to a heady 2GHz. You’d be right in suspecting that it leads to some dramatic speed boosts: the Nexus 7 at this pace can put a Transformer Prime to shame in common benchmarks, let alone most smartphones. Reaching the loftier heights of performance does require nerves of steel, however. The Elite kernel is very much a rough build that the creator doesn’t yet trust with the public, and NVIDIA’s processor is already known to get toasty under significantly added stress. There’s hope a refined kernel will make for a safer venture into unknown territory. If you can’t wait to throw at least some caution (and the warranty) to the wind, though, hit the second source link for code that will reach a slightly less melt-prone 1.8GHz.
Google Play quietly updated its device availability page over the weekend, making the Nexus 7 available to Germany, France and Spain. Patient Europeans can now pick up Mountain View’s seven-inch wonderkind’s 8GB and 16GB models for €199 and €249, respectively. Conversion rates comparatively price the slate at about $248 and $311, meaning the new markets will have to suffer a small premium for the slate. Worse still, is that not all of Google Play’s services are available worldwide, with both Play Music and Magazines retaining US exclusivity. If you can bear with the inconveniences, however, one fine little tablet awaits.
Phew! On the heels of big events from Apple and Microsoft, Sergey and co. got their time to shine at the Google I/O event this week in San Francisco. The show kicked off with a a keynote that featured insight into Android Jelly Bean, the unveiling of the Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus Q media streaming device, plus some seriously amazing demos of Project Glass, among others. Was the two-hour-and-change press conference enough to push Google out in front of the competition? Check out our thoughts after the break.
We had a pretty good idea that this little guy was going to be making an appearance at Google I/O this morning and, sure enough, it’s here. Not only is it here, it’s in our hands. Meet the Google Nexus 7, an ASUS-designed device with minimal branding and a clean version of the latest flavor of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Join us after the break for a rundown of what this $199 Fire-fighter feels like to use.