| |Google has taken the battle to Apple in the tablet market, introducing a premium tablet for a 'bargain bucket' rate.
The seven-inch Google Nexus tablet, which goes on sale in three weeks, will cost $199 in the U.S. and just £159 in the UK.
It is a rare example of UK shoppers not being burnt by the usual tactic of companies - which usually simply switch the dollar sign for a pound sign.
The extremely competitive pricing may well lure Apple fans away from the iPad, which starts at $399 in the U.S. and £399 in the UK.
The Nexus packs a high-definition screen, the latest 'quad-core' processor, runs the latest version of Android, and has a battery life which can handle nine hours of continuous video playback.
The firm hopes the tablet will take on Apple’s iPad, along with Microsoft’s Surface tablet which was revealed last week, and current Android tablets including Amazon’s Fire.
Two versions will be available, one with 8GB of storage for $199 and a second with 16GB for $249. By comparison, Apple's new iPad, which has a larger 9.7 inch screen, costs $399 for a 16GB version.
The unveiling came on the same day that Google showed off its augmented reality glasses with an astonishing stunt at the firm’s developer conference in San Francisco.
The search giant announced a prototype of the glasses will be made available early next year.
Speaking about the launch of the Nexus 7, Google’s Hugo Barra said: 'Its always been a goal of the Nexus programme to provide the best experience. We wanted to design a best of google experience.
'The Nexus 7 is made for Google Play, your content is front and centre.'
The new device has a 1280x800 HD display, a Tegra3 quad-core chip with a separate
12-core graphics processor.
It weighs 340 grams, and Google says the tablet is able to play video for nine hours on a single charge.
The firm hopes the smaller size of the Nexus 7 compared to the iPad will make it more popular.
'It has the portability of a paperback backed by cloud storage for books,' said Google’s Chris Yerga.
The search giant also revealed the Nexus Q, a small spherical computer designed to be used in the living room to stream music and films and TV shows to a TV and hifi.
Described as the ‘the first social streaming device,' the Q allows friends to control music playlists from parties from their phones, and to access all of their music, films and TV shows. The Q will go on sale in July for $299.
Google also revealed a host of improvements for users who already own Google powered phones or tablets.
Google said 1M Android devices are activated every day, and they will receive the new version, depending on which phone they have, from next month.
Google also said over 600,000 Android apps are now available in its Play store, which will also begin selling films, TV shows and magazines.
The firm said the new version of its Android software, codenamed Jelly Bean, was far quicker that previous versions.
'Jellybean has a ton of improvements, we have touched every corner of Android,' said Mr Barra.
The new version introduces a number of new gestures, including the ability to ‘throw’ apps and pictures off the screen to delete them.
It also has a speech typing app similar to Apple’s dictation feature, but one capable of working when the phone does not have an internet connection. Speech was also used to search for web pages and information about topics.
A new feature called Google now is able to work out where users are and show them information - for instance, if they stand at a bus stop, it will show the next arriving bus, or show traffic information if a user if driving to work.
It can also work with a diary to warn users if they will be late, and what buses to get to arrive on time. Scores in major sports are also displayed, and Google can even work out which team you support from which searches you have made.
Google also updated Google+, its social network, adding the ability to create events on the service and an app for both Android and Apple tablets.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin today showed off the search giant’s augmented reality glasses with an astonishing stunt at the firm’s developer conference in San Francisco.
He gave skydivers the prototype glasses, which they used to broadcast a live jump over San Francisco, landing on the conference centre roof.
They then handed the glasses to stunt cyclists and abseilers who wore the priceless prototypes into the conference to gasps and cheers from the crowd.
'I’m so jazzed that actually worked,' he said.
'I’m really excited about glass from my day to day usage.'
He also defended the firm’s decision to keep many of the features of the glasses secret, only showing the video and picture taking capabilities.
'But why are we showing you this utility? We’ve just found it incredibly compelling. It is also one of the things we can show you.
'We are also a small team, so we we have only had so much time, and we want to involve developers.'
Brin also announced a prototype of the glasses will be made available early next year to developers attending the conference for $1500.
The firm also showed a video showing a new parent capturing their child’s development using the glasses.
'We created glass so that you can interact with a virtual world without distractions from the real world,' said Isabelle Olsson, the lead designer of the glasses.
'We position the display above your eye, so as not to block your senses. We don’t want technology to get in the way.'
The firm showed videos of the glasses being used while running, playing tennis and jumping into a pool of balls.
'We are experimenting with a lot of designs, and our latest prototype weighs less than many sunglasses.'
'Our team moments have already captured unique moments in just a couple of months. But what really excites me is how easy and seamless it is to share.'
Olsson said she had worn the glasses while visiting the dentists, and had received messages of support from friends while in the chair.
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