Google Inc on Wednesday showcased a new-generation, slimmer Nexus 7, which the Internet search company hopes will expand its presence in consumer hardware and ensure that its online services remain front-and-center on mobile devices.
The new Nexus 7, featuring a Qualcomm Inc Snapdragon processor and a higher display resolution, on July 30 will be priced at $229 for a basic version with 16 gigabytes of storage. The original year-old tablet started at $199 for an 8 gigabyte version.
The announcement comes a week before its Motorola division is expected to unveil the Moto X smartphone in New York. The Moto X represents the first phone Motorola has developed since it was acquired by Google for $12.5 billion in May 2012, and is central to relaunching the venerable brand into a highly competitive mobile market.
Hugo Barra, director of Product Management at Android, holds a new Nexus 7 tablet during a Google event at Dogpatch Studio in San Francisco, California. (Reuters Photo)
Google and other traditionally non-hardware companies such as Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp have begun making inroads into mobile devices as consumers increasingly access the Web on the go. It introduced its first tablet in June 2012, hoping to replicate its smartphone success in a hot market presently dominated by Amazon's Kindle Fire, Apple Inc's iPad.
Hugo Barra, vice president Android product management at Google, displays the new Nexus 7 tablet in San Francisco. (AP Photo)
Google, which gets the lion's share of its revenue from online and mobile advertising, wants the aggressively priced Nexus tablets to be a hit as more users would mean increased exposure for its ads.
Its Nexus line of devices, which include smartphones and tablets made by partners like Samsung Electronics' and HTC, also serve as references for manufacturers across the globe adopting its Android mobile software system.
The new Nexus 7 tablet is announced during a Google event at Dogpatch Studio in San Francisco, California. (Reuters Photo)
On Wednesday, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai told reporters that, since its launch, the Nexus 7 line alone has accounted for greater than 10 percent of all Android tablets sold.
The company was on track to see 70 million total Android tablet activations in 2013, versus a pace of about 10 million at the end of 2012, he said.