Google Announces Nexus 7 Tablet and Nexus Q Streaming Media Player

Confirming one of the worst-kept industry secrets of late, Google announced at its Google I/O conference that it will indeed be selling a 7-inch tablet co-branded called the Nexus 7.

The tablet features a 1280x800 display and runs on a Tegra 3 quad-core processor and a 12-core GPU with 1GB of RAM, WiFi, NFC capabilities, and Bluetooth on board. Other sweet hardware features include a 1.2MP front-facing camera, micro USB port, microphone, GPS, gyroscope, and a battery that purports to last 8 hours even when blazing movies.

It’ll sport the new version of Android, Jelly Bean (4.1), and Chrome will be the default browser. The home screen will feature a “library” that keeps your books, magazines, and other media organized and conveniently available, and a “recommendation engine” will learn your preferences and help you discover new media to consume. One killer feature is offline map support, which means you can download entire city maps and navigate them without worrying about data connectivity.

The Nexus 7 tablet, which includes $25 of Google Play Store cash, will run you $199 (for the 8GB version, $249 for the 16GB version) and will be out mid-July.

Google announced another fascinating piece of hardware in the Nexus Q, a spherical device that connects to the cloud (and your speakers and TV) to stream audio and video form the likes of Google Play. The Q is really a small Android computer, powered by an ARM Cortex-9 processor and running Android 4.0 ICS, with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. It features 1080p HD streaming, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, NFC, and Bluetooth and has micro HDMI, optical digital audio, Ethernet, and a micro USB port. The little fellow is 4.6 inches in diameter, weighs two pounds, and has a 25W (12.5W per channel) amplifier.

You can control the Q with your Android phone or tablet; actually, so can everyone else. The device is made to be social, so friends can add content from their stash of media to stream through your Q, creating collaborative playlists. And if you start streaming a movie on one Q, you can leave and pick up right where it left off on another Q.

Google will ship the devices in July, and they’re already up for pre-order for $299. If you want to drop some more cash, the Google Play Store suggests $399 speakers and $49 speaker cables as accessories.