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Reporting From Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 And Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)

Reporting From Google I/O 2012: Nexus 7 And Jelly Bean (Android 4.1)
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Google unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet and Android 4.1 update. We did deeper and take a more technical look. But that's not all. We go over some new additions on Google+, and share a quick demo of an impressive HTML5-based game (hold the laughter, please).

Google I/O 2012 - Nexus 7 Announcement

There were two gadgets announced at Google I/O 2012: Nexus Q and Nexus 7. We covered both announcements yesterday, and we'll dig deeper into the hardware once we get back down to Southern California. In the meantime, though, we wanted to share some of our thoughts on the 7.

As Google's first branded tablet, the Nexus 7 is an impressive device. We've always considered tablets complements to the digital experience; they don't really replace anything, though. To that end, the 10" tablets cycling in and out of our lab seem to come across as neat gadgets. But a piece of hardware with a 7" screen is a lot smaller, and thus more manageable.

Manufactured by Asus, the Nexus 7 is much more portable than many of the company's own branded products. Google is clearly going after customers tempted by the Kindle Fire (not an altogether bad piece of hardware; read The Amazon Kindle Fire: Benchmarked, Tested, And Reviewed). With both priced at $200, Google has this one in the bag. To recap, the Fire is chunkier, uses a version of Android that prevents you from accessing Google Play (previously Android Marketplace), lacks a camera, and employs a lower-end OMAP 4430 SoC.

In contrast, the Nexus 7 is slimmer and only weighs 340 grams (Kindle Fire is ~415 g). It actually feels a lot more like our E Ink-based Kindle Keyboard (third-gen) than the Fire. There are no app installation restrictions, and it runs Android 4.1, rather than Amazon's more tightly controlled Android 2.3-based ecosystem.

The Nexus 7 also includes a decent front-facing camera/mic, which will let you Skype to your heart's content. This was a feature lacking from the Fire. Performance should also prove to be impressive, since the Nexus 7 employs a version of Nvidia's Tegra 3,.

GLBenchmark 2.1.4
Transformer Pad (TF300T)
Transformer Prime (TF201)
Nexus 7
SoC
Tegra 3 (T30L)
Tegra 3 (T30)
Tegra 3 (?)
Android
4.0 (ICS)
4.0 (ICS)
4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Egypt Standard
5752 frames (51 FPS)
5720 frames (51 FPS)5968 frames (53 FPS)
Egypt Fixed
62.768 s (45 FPS)
65.250 s (45 FPS)59.279 s (48 FPS)
Egypt Offscreen (720p)
7178 frames (64 FPS)
7122 frames (63 FPS)7073 frames (63 FPS)
Pro Standard2796 frames (56 FPS)
2744 frames (55 FPS)2830 frames (57 FPS)
Pro Fixed22.982 s (54 FPS)
23.599 s (53 FPS)22.515 s (56 FPS)
Pro Offscreen (720p)
4006 frames (80 FPS)
3827 frames (76 FPS)4095 frames (82 FPS)


According to Google, Jelly Bean makes this tablet faster than Asus' Transformer Prime. While the Nexus 7 doesn't have a clear lead, you can see in the scores above that GLBenchmark seems to support that claim to some degree

Amazon didn't set out to make the Fire a fast, sexy chat-enabled tablet, though. It's a content purchasing and delivery mechanism. Google clearly has nice hardware, but without the same retail presence, its Google Play store might not realize the same level of success.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 29, 2012 3:49 AM
    now if only Google can get this 4.1 on more than 2% devices by the end of this year.....
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , June 29, 2012 3:49 AM
    now if only Google can get this 4.1 on more than 2% devices by the end of this year.....
  • -1 Hide
    _Pez_ , June 29, 2012 4:58 AM
    I would like to buy one Nexus 7 and an Asus Prime :D 
  • 3 Hide
    hannibal , June 29, 2012 9:47 AM
    Google can do nothing to force manufacturers to use 4.1... Just wondering if even customers can "lob" new operation systems...
    We really need manufacturer black list for bad upgraders!
  • 0 Hide
    amdwilliam1985 , June 29, 2012 2:10 PM
    I'm more interest in the battery life, seems like JB increases a lot of UI performance, but at what cost though? Does the battery life take a hit?
    It'll be great if we can increase UI smoothness without significant cost of battery, I'll upgrade to JB in a heart beat. But I value battery life > "smoothness".

    I thought they're giving out Galaxy Nexus preinstalled with JB at Google IO, can't someone run the battery life against the "old" Galaxy Nexus on ICS.
  • -2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , June 29, 2012 4:22 PM
    Mmmmmmmmmm... jelly bean ice cream sandwich. :lol: 
  • 1 Hide
    Augray37 , June 29, 2012 6:01 PM
    amdwilliam1985I'm more interest in the battery life, seems like JB increases a lot of UI performance, but at what cost though? Does the battery life take a hit?It'll be great if we can increase UI smoothness without significant cost of battery, I'll upgrade to JB in a heart beat. But I value battery life > "smoothness".


    That's a good point. Seriously, the battery life problem in mobile electronics needs some real attention here in the next couple years. Smoothness on phones and tablets doesn't need too many more improvements for quite some time, it's the battery life people!
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , June 29, 2012 8:54 PM
    I wish google would go the MS way, provide the OS for everyone to use (as a download on Google Play) and allow OEMs to provide driver support, which the customer can download manually or automatically.
  • 0 Hide
    pacioli , June 29, 2012 9:30 PM
    All I know... Nexus 7 sounds way cooler than Kindle Fire...
  • 1 Hide
    RCx240 , June 29, 2012 11:07 PM
    Just ordered a Nexus 7 today, pretty excited for it.
    Now I just hope I'm not left hanging for a JB update on my Nexus S, like with ICS.
    Because promising an update and only delivering for 1/3 of the models, and leaving the other two hanging for another 5 months with no feedback was definitely a great experience
  • 0 Hide
    boiler1990 , July 1, 2012 3:28 PM
    amdwilliam1985I'm more interest in the battery life, seems like JB increases a lot of UI performance, but at what cost though? Does the battery life take a hit?It'll be great if we can increase UI smoothness without significant cost of battery, I'll upgrade to JB in a heart beat. But I value battery life > "smoothness".I thought they're giving out Galaxy Nexus preinstalled with JB at Google IO, can't someone run the battery life against the "old" Galaxy Nexus on ICS.


    I installed the JB ROM on my VZW Nexus, and I'm not noticing much of a difference so far (it was pretty terrible on 4.0.4). We'll have to wait for conclusive tests to determine the real draw on battery.

    Some things will inherently draw more battery - Google Now is great, but to get the maximum utility the GPS needs to be left on so it can recommend Places literally right next to you.

    The experience overall is significantly smoother than ICS was, so I'm looking forward to the actual release and the tweaks in the incremental updates.


    In regards to the Nexus 7 - this is an amazing tablet. It does more than the Fire does, and the only thing it can't do is Amazon Instant Streaming (which in reality is basically Netflix's library). I owned a Fire and though it was a huge letdown from day 1; ended up with the Nook Tablet and felt the device and OS were much better crafted, just lacking in content.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 18, 2012 4:04 PM
    Am I the only one still using Gingerbread?
    Google needs a way to force every manufacturer to make their phones at least 4.0... Tired of LG king n update every century.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 18, 2012 4:05 PM
    * making

    IPad spellcheck is very finicky.