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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Google Debuts an Updated Nexus 7 Tablet

SAN FRANCISCO â€" Google revealed its latest Nexus 7 tablet on Wednesday, a day after Apple reported declining sales of the rival iPad.

The new Android tablet, which was widely expected, is a slimmer, faster, lighter, higher-resolution version of the first Nexus 7, introduced a year ago to good reviews and brisk sales. It accounted for more than 10 percent of Android tablets sold, according to Google, which held a news conference here to show the tablet and a new Internet TV device called Chromecast.

Google also announced a competitive milestone for its Play app store, which once lagged behind Apple’s App Store. Play now has a million apps, exceeding Apple’s 900,000. Google also announced a few new features of the Play store, like a gaming hub and textbooks.

The Nexus 7, though more expensive than the original, is less expensive than the rival iPad Mini. The Nexus 7 costs $229 to $349, depending on storage and Internet connection, while the iPad Mini costs from $329 to $659.

Apple reported on Tuesday that iPad sales were down 14 percent year over year, which some analysts attributed to its high prices in a market that is increasingly filled with lower-priced, similar-quality competitors.

The new tablet, which will be available July 30, has rear and front-facing cameras, virtual surround sound speakers, log-ins for multiple users and photo-realistic graphics that show the stubble on a gaming avatar’s face. It runs on the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.3. Like the first Nexus 7, it is manufactured by Asus.

Sundar Pichai, the Google senior vice president who recently added Android to his portfolio of responsibilities, which also includes Chrome, said the tablet was evidence of Google’s commitment to both operating systems and to developing a consistent experience for consumers across devices.

Brian X. Chen contributed reporting from New York.