Google set to launch low-price tablet this week

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)will launch its own sub-$200 seven-inch Nexus tablet this week at its Google I/O conference in San Francisco, according to training documents.

The report comes after a slew of rumors, including reports of a Google tablet called Nexus 7 that would run Android Jelly Bean, the next generation of the Android operating system.

Jelly Bean, or Android 4.1, was recently described as a modest upgrade from Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

A $199 starting price would put the Nexus 7 in the same category as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablets. Both offer the same price and same screen size as the expecte Google tablet.

The most popular tablet by far, with more than 60 per cent market share, is still Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, whose latest version is priced from $499.

The same documents say that the Nexus 7 is built for Google by Asus, and runs a 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia, and a GeForce 12-core graphics processor. The device will include1 GB of RAM and either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage.

The Nexus 7 will also have an NFC chip to run Google Wallet and Android Beam, the Android 4.0 tool used to for transfer data between NFC-ready Google phones.

The documents also describe a tablet with a screen resolution of 1280 x 800, a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera and a nine-hour battery.

The report puts the 8GB model’s price at $199, and a the 16 GB version at $249. The report says the device will be release in Australia in July, which likely be about the same time or after a U.S. release, based on prior history.

Of interest to many Android fans is a comment in the documents that Google will handle all updates of Jelly Bean going forward, a policy that might only relate to the Nexus 7.

Android updates to many different models of smartphones have been a recurring problem for carriers and Google. At the June, 2011 Google I/O conference, Google announced the the Android Upgrade Alliance of phones manufacturers and carriers. The Alliance was created to help keep upgrades to various Android models on track.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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