Google Nexus 7 hits UK stores to take on iPad

There has been a considerable buzz surrounding the Google Nexus 7 ever since its official unveiling at Google’s I/O conference last month and the tablet is now available on the British high-street for the first time.

According to the Telegraph, Currys and PC World have said they will begin selling the device as early as today, but Google hopes the traditional fanfare that heralds the launch of Apple products will not be necessary for the Nexus 7 to hit the ground running, with its strategy dubbed a ‘soft launch’.

The tablet’s UK arrival comes days after US retailers began selling out of the product, supporting the view that Apple’s all-conquering iPad may finally have a worthy rival on the market. The iPad accounted for 68 per cent of tablet sales in the first quarter of 2012 according to the analysts IDC, but with the Nexus 7 hitting shelves at half the price the balance of power may well start to shift.

The 8GB version starts at just £159 with the 16GB at £199, yet this will count for little if the device isn’t a performer.

Reviews, however, assure us it is. This analysis on ITProPortal calls the Nexus 7 a “game-changer”, with its Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor powering a “solid build” courtesy of manufacturing partner Asus.

A Google spokesperson told the Telegraph, “We made the big splash at I/O and the aim after that was just to get it in people’s hands as soon as possible.” Its swift arrival pays testament to a promising hardware strategy from Google, as it looks to build on this year’s $12.5 billion (£8 billion) purchase of Motorola Mobility.

But Apple is unlikely to let Android rivals steal the limelight for too long. As the imminent iPhone 5 prepares to wrestle back the smartphone crown from the Samsung Galaxy S3, a cheaper and smaller ‘iPad Mini’ tablet could go head-to-head with the Nexus 7 with a potential release later this year.

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