Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

New Nexus 7 Packs Quite a Pixel Punch, Landing a Blow at Apple

While Apple watchers are still waiting for an iPhone-style Retina display to make its way to the iPad mini, Android lovers got such a screen with the redesigned Nexus 7.


The second-generation Nexus 7 is capable of showing full HD content, thanks to a screen that shows a whopping 323 pixels per inch — well into the territory of screens where the individual pixels are too small to be recognized by the human eye from a reasonable reading distance.

Numbers aside, that means that the Nexus 7 can show movies in full 1080p high definition, a feat Apple’s iPad mini can’t match.

While the larger iPad has a greater-than-HD Retina display, it uses a totally different type of screen technology from the iPhone, and the mini is still in the less-than-Retina category. The Nexus 7, meanwhile, uses a similar display to the iPhone — part of what allowed Google and manufacturing partner Asus to make the device so thin and light.

Managing to secure such a screen — and to pack it into a relatively low-cost device — was no small feat.

Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer said the company has been working for quite some time with Japan Display — the company that makes the screens, which are known as LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) displays.

But in managing to incorporate such a screen, Google now has a strong selling point over both the iPad mini and other Android tablets with lower-resolution displays.

“They are using a lot of high-end technologies in an entry-level device,” said DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim.

Shim said that Apple may be able to start producing later this year the components for a Retina-level iPad mini, but said volume shipments of such a device won’t come until the first few months of next year because of the challenges of producing such a display.

Android and Chrome head Sundar Pichai said that, even at its $229 starting price, there is still room for retailers, Asus and Google itself to profit from the product.

The other big coup of the Nexus 7 was managing to create a single LTE model that can sell unlocked and work with carriers around the globe. In the U.S., for example, the same Nexus 7 can be connected to the networks of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Pichai said that is part of the company’s aim with its Nexus devices, and that doing so will help the cellular-equipped model be more attractive to retailers leery of having to stock multiple different products.

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