Google’s Nexus 7 hits the stores

Google’s hotly anticipated Nexus 7” tablet is off to a flying start with many retailers saying they’ve already sold out within hours of hitting the shelves.

The tablet is Google’s first attempt at dipping its toe into the already crowded tablet market.

Search engine giant Google unveiled the 7-inch tablet at its annual developer conference in San Francisco at the end of June.

It is another attempt by a technology firm to loosen the stranglehold Apple has on the market for touch-screen tablet computers with its two-year-old iPad.

Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire has so far been touted as the only real competition to Apple but Google is hoping to change that with the release of its own pocket-friendly piece of kit.

The Nexus 7 has been available to preorder for a few weeks now and finally hit the shelves just a few days ago. Already, it has drawn favourable reviews from critics who believe the $199 Nexus 7 may seriously threaten Kindle’s offering, especially as Google’s version has a camera and a higher resolution screen.

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt said there was “immense demand” for Nexus 7 in the first week after it was introduced.

Already, GameStop says it has run through its first two allocations of the tablet, which has been codeveloped by Google and Taiwan’s Asustek.

Both Sam’s Club, the warehouse chain owned by Wal-Mart and Staples have also listed the device as being out of stock on their websites.

The Nexus 7 uses Google’s Android mobile software which, while it has become the most prevalent operating system for smartphones across the world, has so far failed to make a big impact in the tablet market.

Google hopes by taking its own role in the tablet area, it will make sure its online services remain the primary ones used by consumers as tablets by Apple and Amazon are increasingly becoming gateways to the internet.

While all the 10” tablets continue to be outsold by the iPod, Google hopes it can make inroads into the new 7” market. Weighing just 340g, the Nexus claims to have 9.5 hours battery life. Coming in a choice of 8GB or 16GB of onboard storage, one of the Google tablet’s main selling points has to be its price.

But, just as Google has stepped in to try to take some of the market from Amazon, so there is always a new kid on the block.

Taiwanese firm HTC has already confirmed it has an exciting new tablet in the works and leaks about its product testing suggest this will be in the 7” category.

And the tablet giant itself is also rumoured to be launching the iPad mini. Images leaked of prototype covers suggest the iPad Mini will be ultra-thin with a display of about 7.85 inches – about two-thirds that of the current iPad.

It remains to be seen whether consumers will continue snapping up the Nexus at its low prices or wait for the higher tech specification of the iPad Mini.

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