Hurricane Sandy may have stymied Google's big Nexus launch event, but it didn't stop the search-engine giant from rolling out new Android products. Google on Monday announced new tablets and a smartphone.
The lineup includes three new Nexus devices that run Android 4.2, also known as Jelly Bean: The Nexus 4, two upgraded versions of the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10. Google also touted a more useful Google Now and a more populated Google Play.
"Nice little family of products," said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. "They look well integrated and reflect Google's mainly cloud strategy. Pricing looks reasonable."
Reinventing the Photo Experience
Google started with the Nexus 4, successor to the original Google Nexus smartphone, manufactured by LG. The Nexus 4 has a quad-core processor, a 4.7-inch display and offers wireless charging.
"Starting with the camera, we've reinvented the photo experience with Photo Sphere, which lets you capture images that are literally larger than life," Andy Rubin, senior vice president of Mobile and Digital Content at Google, wrote in a blog post. "Snap shots up, down and in every direction to create stunning 360-degree immersive experiences that you can share on Google+ with friends and family -- or you can add your Photo Sphere to Google Maps for the world to see."
Meanwhile, the Nexus 7 tablet offers YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Maps and other Google services. The Nexus 7 entry-level 8-GB model has been dropped and replaced with the 16-GB version for the same price point, $199. A 32-GB model now goes for $249. Google also added an option for HSPA+ mobile data for $299, which can operate on more than 200 GSM providers around the world, including AT&T and T-Mobile.
Is Google Creating a Dilemma?
Google is positioning the Nexus 10 as ideal for watching movies or reading magazines. Google partnered with Samsung to create a high-resolution tablet with a 10.055-inch display and nine hours of video playback.
The Nexus 10 has the highest resolution of any tablet -- a 2560x1600, 300ppi screen -- and a set of front-facing stereo speakers. But Rubin said what makes the Nexus 10 unique is that it's a "shareable tablet." With Android 4.2, consumers can add multiple users and switch between them from the lockscreen. The Nexus 10 ships Nov. 13 at $399 for 16 GB of storage and $499 for 32 GB.
"Google, like Microsoft, by putting out a best-in-class product in the same category that its OEMs are aiming for, is creating a dilemma for them. However, it's notable that such behavior hasn't stopped Samsung from taking advantage of Google's software to excellent effect," Kay told us.
"And, unlike Microsoft, Google's OEM partners don't have to pay Google for the software, which at least keeps Google from underpricing its own customers. The same can't be said for Microsoft."