Google’s first Nexus-branded tablet is expected to be unveiled later this month when the search giant will host its annual Google I/O developer conference. The 7-inch Android tablet is reportedly made by Asus, and represents Google’s first attempt to create a pure Android tablet.

Google Nexus vs Kindle Fire

However, the device will not be an iPad rival, which is what people would assume Google would be interested in launching. Instead, the Google Nexus will be an affordable Android tablet meant to neutralize the Amazon Kindle Fire and its potential effects on the Android tablet business.

Amazon released the Kindle Fire last fall, and the $199 tablet became quite popular in the U.S. during the Christmas shopping season. The device managed to match, and even surpass, tablet sales from other Android tablet makers including Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG and others, although the Kindle Fire demand has cooled down in the recent months.

However, the Kindle Fire, and its successors that should be unveiled at some point later this year, are a threat to Google. Amazon decided to create its own custom Android version for the device, and completely shun Google web services from it, thus controlling the entire Kindle Fire ecosystem, from hardware, to software, to digital content stores. Since Android is free, any OEM can customize it and adapt it as it sees fit, but most companies developing Android smartphones and tablets know better than to remove Google’s various mobile services (such as Search, Gmail, Maps, and others), which is very important for Google. After all, that’s how Google makes money off of Android, mobile advertising rather than actual device sales.

Google Nexus pictures

While we saw various rumors detailing Google’s progress with this first Nexus tablet (the name is yet to be confirmed), we have not seen any official images of the device, at least until today. Phone Arena has gotten its hands on the first leaked press images for the Google Nexus and while they can’t be confirmed at this time, they certainly appear to play the part.

The tipster that sent in the images also mentioned certain specs and features of the device, confirming the previously rumored quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU, 1GB of RAM and most importantly, Android 4.1. The Galaxy Nexus images reveal that the tablet will be available in white and that it will lack any physical Home button. Moreover, the tablet will come with a front-facing camera and we’re apparently looking at a device that will offer users a 7-inch edge-to-edge display. Volume keys can be seen on the left-hand side, while on the back we spotted a shadow that could indicate the placement of a rear-facing camera and some sort of an on/off button on top. In case it matters, Google and Asus branding can be found only on the back of the device, but there’s no trace of the “Nexus” name.

What’s worth insisting on is the fact that the device is said, again, to come with Android 4.1 on board. The Galaxy Nexus tablet has been rumored for quite a while to be the first Google device to run the company’s new mobile OS update, Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. Now it looks like the device will run a slightly improved Ice Cream Sandwich version instead of a completely new Android OS.

Is anyone particularly interested in a mid-ranged affordable Google Nexus tablet? Or would you rather buy a slightly more expensive, high-end Nexus device?

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