SAN FRANCISCO — Google will sell a small tablet computer bearing its brand in a challenge to Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
The Nexus 7 is designed specifically for Google Play, the online store that sells movies, music, books, apps and other content – the things Amazon.com Inc. also sells for its tablet computer.
Both tablets have screens that measure 7 inches diagonally, smaller than the nearly 10 inches on Apple Inc.’s popular iPad. The Nexus 7 will also be light – at about 0.75 pound, compared with the Kindle Fire’s 0.9 pound. The iPad weighs 1.44 pounds.
The Nexus 7 will ship in mid-July starting at $199 – the same price as the Kindle Fire. By contrast, iPads start at $499.
Customers could start ordering it through Google on Wednesday, initially in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Andrew Rassweiler, an analyst with IHS iSuppli, said he suspects Google will be subsidizing the tablet to sell it starting at $199.
The Nexus 7 has more features than the current Kindle Fire, including a front-facing camera. The Kindle is believed to be roughly break even at that price. Samsung Electronics Co. sells a tablet similar to Google’s for $250.
The Nexus 7 will run the next version of Google Inc.’s Android operating system, called Jelly Bean.
Google also announced a home entertainment device called Nexus Q. It sends content from your personal collection or YouTube to your existing TV and speaker systems, much like Apple’s Apple TV. With Google’s version, you control it through a separate Android phone or tablet.
The Nexus Q, which Google is calling the world’s first “social streaming device,” will be available in July in the U.S. initially and sell for $299.
Google made the announcements during a keynote to open its annual conference in San Francisco for computer programmers.
Also announced Wednesday, Google’s Plus social network will have its own app for tablet computers.
A version for Android devices was made available Wednesday, while one for Apple’s iPad is coming “very soon.”
The app will help you send invites to friends for events such as birthday parties. It will also make it easier for you to share and organize photos on Google Plus.
Google considers Google Plus crucial to challenging Facebook Inc.
NEW FROM AMAZON
Not to be outdone, CNet reported earlier this week that Amazon is planning to release the Kindle Fire 2, a second-generation version of the Kindle Fire, on July 31. The new version is expected to include higher resolution display.