Google unveils new Nexus tablets and phone

  @DavidGoldmanCNN October 29, 2012: 1:40 PM ET
google nexus

Google's new Nexus devices come in three sizes: small (the Nexus 4 phone), medium (the Nexus 7 tablet) and large (the Nexus 10 tablet).

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

It's gadget season, and Google wants in on all the fun that Microsoft and Apple have been having.

Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) unveiled a new "Nexus" phone, tablet and Android operating system on Monday. Its goal is wrest back some of the attention that Windows 8, Surface, the iPad, iPad mini and iPhone 5 have gotten over the past several weeks.

The Nexus 4 is the fourth annual "Google phone," designed by the search giant and manufactured by one of its Android partners -- this time, LG. Google didn't say much about the device, other than that it has the latest quad-core mobile processor (that's fast), and a 4.7-inch screen (really big).

Google's Nexus phones have never sold particularly well, but this time around Google is trying something bold. For $299, customers can buy a Nexus 4 without a two-year contract. That's quite cheap for an "unlocked" high-end smartphone. An unlocked iPhone 5, by comparison, costs $650.

Apple's iPad Mini event in 90 seconds

The base model Nexus 4 comes with 8 gigabytes of storage, half the typical amount for a smartphone. A 16 GB phone is available for $349. Both will go on sale on Nov. 13 online at the Google Play store. T-Mobile customers can also get a 16 GB version with a two-year contract for $199.

The Nexus also works on AT&T (T, Fortune 500), which uses a similar network technology, but it isn't compatible with Verizon's network or Sprint's, according to a Google spokesman.

The search leader also announced a new 10-inch tablet, dubbed the Nexus 10. With 300 pixels per inch, the Samsung device has the highest-resolution screen for any tablet, Google claims, including the iPad with Apple's Retina display. Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) says the iPad sports a 264-pixels-per-inch screen.

The Nexus 10 allows for multiple user accounts, so that a family can share the device and keep separate apps and settings for each user. It also has stereo speakers and a standard tablet battery that lasts for nine hours.

The price tag is competitive: The 16 GB version will go on sale on the Google Play store Nov. 13 for $399, and a 32 GB version will be available for $499. Comparable iPads are each $100 more expensive.

Google also unveiled an update to its Nexus 7 tablet, which the company unveiled in June. A new 32 GB version of the seven-inch Asus device is now available with AT&T's 3G-HSPA+ service -- which AT&T brands as "4G" -- for $299.

"We think today's devices offer the very best that money can buy," Android chief Andy Rubin said in a blog post.

The Android software that runs Google's devices also got a minor update on Monday. New features include Photo Sphere, a 360-degree photo-taking app and wireless streaming support for Qualcomm's (QCOM, Fortune 500) Miracast wireless displays. It also offers a keyboard that doesn't require typing: "Gesture Typing" lets users glide their fingers over the letters they want to type.

Google Now, an app that surfaces important information from e-mail, calendars and social networks, added support for flight information notifications, restaurant reservations, hotel confirmations and shipping details, in addition to nearby attractions like movies times at local theaters.

A launch event had been planned in New York, but it was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy. Google announced the devices in a blog post instead.

Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) will be holding a Windows Phone 8 launch event in San Francisco on Monday. To top of page



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