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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik