Samsung unleashes Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Android 4.2

This week Google was scheduled to have an event to announce new Nexus devices and the latest version of their OS - version 4.2. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to happen on a pier in New York City on the day that Hurricane Sandy hit the US. Google spotted the potential issue there, and cancelled the event. Thankfully, despite the lack of event, Google issued press releases about their new products and OS so we know what they would have announced in full.

There are two members of the Nexus family - a Samsung Nexus 10 tablet and the LG Nexus 4 smartphone. Both offer incredible specifications for their price, as well as Android 4.2. Let’s have a look at the Nexus 4 smartphone first.

The Nexus 4 is a flagship Android handset with similar specifications to the LG Optimus G upon which it is based. That means a 4.7″ IPS display (no Pentile!) at 1280 x 768 pixels, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2 GB of RAM. There’s also an 8 megapixel camera, NFC, Wi-Fi N, Micro USB and HDMI.

There is also a killer Google Nexus 4 accessory already - a wireless Google Nexus 4 charger compatible with the same standards as those present in the Lumia 920.

All of this makes for a hearty upgrade to say the least, absolutely demolishing the previous Galaxy Nexus and eclipsing most other Android flagships like the Galaxy S III, Note II and HTC One X.

And the best part of this phenomenally powerful phone is its price - just $299 for the 8 GB version and $349 for the 16 GB version. That makes it nearly half the price of those same Android flagships that it outperforms, and that’s not even counting the benefit of stock Android 4.2 as well.

The Samsung Nexus 10 is a similar story, although at a slightly less competitive price. It features the best display ever seen on a 10″ tablet, at 2560 x 1600. That’s good for 300 pixels per inch, much better than the third generation iPad at 2048 x 1536 and 264 ppi. The rest of the tablet is strong too, with a dual-core next-gen Exynos 5250 processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 9000 mAh battery and a weight of just 603 grams.

The Nexus 10 costs $399 for the 16 GB version and $499 for the 32 GB version, making it about $100 cheaper than the full size iPad and way better specifications. The Android market still offers fewer quality tablet apps, but selling a load of Nexus 10 tablets is surely a good way of rectifying that problem.

The Google Nexus 7 was also updated in the wave of announcements, with storage improvements at each price point - the $199 price point now features double the storage at 16 GB, while the $249 now has 32 GB of storage. There’s also a new 3G 32 GB model which costs an extra $50, at $299.

All of these devices will be running Android 4.2. While the Jelly Bean name remains (no Key Lime Pie for us just yet!), there are a number of new features. Probably the biggest is support for the Miracast Wi-Fi display sharing protocol, allowing devices to stream audio and video to TVs like Apple’s AirPlay. Google Now has been upgraded once more, this time allowing it to read your Gmail and get even cleverer. There’s also a new gesture typing keyboard (similar to Swype, but better) and a PhotoSphere camera mode (think Panorama, but in 3 dimensions resulting in a movable picture like you get on StreetView). Finally, Android 4.2 also adds multiple user support on tablets, allowing each user to have their own app data and settings.

All in all, Google have unleashed an awesome set of devices and software upgrades this time around. It’s really too bad that their event was cancelled, as I would have loved to see all of this wrapped up into a neat presentation. Still, Google have fired one hell of a shot here and they are looking really good going into the holiday season, with three killer devices at each of the three form factors at ridiculously low prices.

Images courtesy of The Verge.

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William Judd has written 53 articles on this blog.

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