Google unveils new Nexus devices

Although Hurricane Sandy caused Google to cancel the media event it had planned for today, the company has updated its blog with official details on the latest additions to the Nexus family. Let's start with the Nexus 10 tablet, whose 10" screen offers a 2560x1600 display resolution—the same resolution as 30" desktop monitors, and about 32% more pixels than a Retina-equipped iPad. The Nexus 10 has a pixel density of 300 PPI, which is notably higher than the 264 PPI of the iPad and roughly double that of Windows tablets like the Microsoft Surface RT and the Asus VivoTab RT.

Unfortunately, the official blog post announcing the Nexus 10 is a little short on technical specifications. There's no confirmation of rumors that the display uses AMOLED rather than IPS technology, and Google doesn't say what SoC is under the hood. Samsung partnered with Google on the device, so the ARM Cortex-A15 processor mentioned on the Nexus 10 product page probably bears the Exynos name. Samsung's involvement also lends credence to the AMOLED rumors.

We do know that the Nexus 10 measures 8.9 mm (0.35") thick and weighs 603 grams (1.3 lbs). The battery is supposed to be capable of fueling nine hours of video playback and 500 hours of standby time. Interesting, the tablet's stereo speakers face the user instead of being buried on the back panel. Support for MIMO Wi-Fi has been integrated, as well.

The Nexus 10 will start selling on November 13. Two versions will be offered: a 16GB model for $399 and a 32GB one for $499. Those prices put the Nexus 10 between the iPad and the 8.9" Kindle Fire HD.

To do battle with smaller tablets like the iPad Mini and the 7" Kindle Fire, Google has added a 32GB model to its Nexus 7 line. The new device will sell for $249, bumping the 16GB model down to $199. There's also a $299 version of the 32GB variant with HSPA+ broadband built in. The 8GB Nexus 7 appears to have been discontinued.

On the smartphone front, the new Nexus 4 combines a quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor with a 4.7" 1280x768 display that boasts a pixel density of 320 PPI. Inductive charging is supported, but it's unclear whether a charging mat is included. LG was Google's hardware partner for this puppy, which will cost $299 for the 8GB version and $349 for 16GB. Like current Nexus phones, both models are unlocked.

All of the new Nexus devices will run Android 4.2, an updated version of Jelly Bean with support for multiple users. Apparently, you'll be able to switch users instantly from the lock screen. Android 4.2 also features a Swype-style gesture keyboard and an updated camera with a panorama mode. Google Now has been updated, too, with new cards that track flight information, restaurant reservations, and shipping details.

The Nexus 10 is the most intriguing device of the lot, and I'm really curious to see how the screen stacks up against the iPad's Retina panel, which has become the benchmark for tablet displays. I can't help but feel a little jilted by the pricing, though. On the Nexus 10, jumping from 16GB to 32GB costs an extra $100. The same increase in capacity costs only $50 on the Nexus 7.

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