Nexus 7 finds Apple napping

Google has beat Apple at its own Retina display-thumping game. Meet the Nexus 7, the eye-popping 323-pixels-per-inch (ppi) wonder.

(Credit: Brooke Crothers/CNET)

It is, in a way, the (rumoured) iPad Mini Retina wrapped in Android 4.3.

Here's the deal: if you can find most of the apps you need on Google's Play Store and would like a small tablet with the highest-resolution display on any tablet to date (ie, higher than the 9.7-inch Retina iPad and way higher than the iPad Mini), then the second-generation Nexus 7 may be a good choice.

How did this happen? Well, Google, Asus (the device manufacturer) and Japan Display Inc (the display maker) have managed, for the first time, to slap a smartphone-density display on a small tablet.

Without getting too technical, the second-gen Nexus 7 uses a display technology (called low-temperature polysilicon, for those keeping score) from Japan Display that has been used, to date, only on phones like, ironically, Apple's iPhone 5 (which has a pixel density of 326, just slightly more than the new Nexus 7).

Maybe more ironically, Apple is considering the same technology for a future Mini Retina, according to Richard Shim, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch. When that Mini would appear ranges from sometime in October (optimistic) to early next year (pessimistic).

Analysts have told CNET that the 7-inch 1920x1200 display on the Nexus 7 may be the upper size limit for Japan Display's ultra-high-resolution technology — at the moment. In other words, JDI's tech is not quite ready to scale up to the larger 7.9-inch screen on the Mini.

Of course, we'll wait and see what the Nexus 7's Australian pricing looks like before we make a final decision. In the US, some stores have the Nexus 7 for as low as US$230, making this an impressive value proposition compared to Apple.


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ChrisM13 posted a comment   

Its all about loyalty to an OS now, the majority of people are invested in their chosen OS and probably have been for a couple of device generations or more. New devices for each OS will increasingly ruffle feathers and bring out the fanboys of both OS. We have seen this type of argument for many generations of video game consoles now so the gamers already know how much hatred each platform loyal fan can have for the other company/platform. its not a big deal this is the best tablet at the moment, soon there will be a better tablet, then an even better tablet and each OS/platform will have its day from now and until the end of time lol.


LarryL posted a comment   

Here is what I don't understand about stories like this one. If you prefer iOS - how is this relevant? I suppose if you were shopping for a tablet and you are agnostic about the whole thing then perhaps this matters. But if you are pro android - you would likely buy the Nexus 7 anyway. If you are pro iOS, you wait for the iPad mini anyway. If you are impatient and just have to have a retina display in that form factor now then there is really something wrong with you.

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