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Adventures In Tech: Nexus 7: How Google took on the iPad

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Adventures In Tech: Nexus 7: How Google took on the iPad

4:14 /

Prior to the Nexus 7, Android tablets were adrift, failing to fight the might of Apple's iPad. Here's how Google got its first tablet right.

The Nexus 7 was at the time the best Android tablet ever built and helped Google fight back against the might of the iPad. Now Adventures and Tech explains how Google's first tablets got it right. [MUSIC] The iPad wasn't the first tablet, but it was the first tablet people actually wanted to buy. Launched in 2010 at the back of the successful iPhone, Apple sold 3 million in less than three months. There was gold in them there tablets, and everybody wanted a piece. Soon we were treated to a barrage of iPad rivals. Trouble was, they were all terrible. The high profile failure of HP's WebOS TouchPad and BlackBerry's PlayBook left Android as the only platform with a shot at taking on Apple. To Google's dismay, however, what was unleashed was a veritable flood of Android tablets, many of which were too expensive or hobbled by unrefined software. The sheer number of these would-be iPads was staggering. Presumably, they all ended up in some landfill in the desert for future archaeologists to find and use to make assumptions on. How we live. The dig taught us much about life in the primitive 21st century. Experts now believe the find was intended as an offering to a great and terrible god known only as Android. There was one good Android tablet out there. And then since 2011 Kindle Fire was smaller than many of its rivals, it was also very cheap. The problem was it used a heavily modified version of Android that didn't have Google Play, so it wasn't any use to Google. The search giant realized that if it wanted a proper Android tablet done right. It would have to do it itself. Google enlisted Taiwanese tech giant Asus to build the Nexus 7, giving the firm just a few months to get the device completely ready. Asus' Chairman Johnny She has said the process was like torture for it's engineers. And so work has moved closer to Google to a 24 hour development cycle. The work was worth it. The Nexus 7's crowning glory was a seven inch 1280 by 800 pixel display, while beneath the surface hummed a quad core processor. The fresh version of raw Android made Google's tablet uncluttered and easy to use, putting Google Play front and center. Google has realized that when it came to tablets, we cared about apps, movies, and games and less about hardware. Of course, we also care deeply about cold, hard cash. Google made the nexus 7 very cheap, knowing it would make money when people started downloading things. When they're getting Android gadgets into people's homes, would lead to more cash in the long run. It was also a chance to give Android tablet app development a shot in the arm. It was compact, it was powerful, and aggressively priced. If the iPad was a lumbering tyrannosaurus, the Nexus 7 was a velociraptor. Smaller, but just as lethal. [MUSIC] [NOISE] Oh cool, a Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 went on sale on the 13th of July 2012. Met with critical acclaim including a CNet editor's choice award, it sold out in many shops. By the end of the year, the Nexus 7 was estimated to have sold 4.6 million units. Nowhere near Apple's iPad sales, but certainly respectable. The Nexus 7 had managed something more important than sales figures though, for the first time Android was making it's mark int he world of tablets, and this time it was Apple who had to react. The iPad mini was a clear sign that for the first time apple had spotted a threat to it's tablet dominance. The success of the nexus 7 also upset Microsoft which was just months from launching windows 8, and it's largest surface tablets. The nexus 7 showed what an android tablet should be, and since it's arrival has inspired many imitators. Apple still rules the world of tablets, but thanks to the Nexus 7, it's clear that the playing field is now much more level. What would you want from a new Nexus 7, and who is better at tablets: Apple or Google? Let me know and check back next time for another adventure in tech.

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