Google today announced on a Google+ post that it has started shipping pre-ordered units of the Nexus 7. “Locked and loaded, ready to play: we’ve started shipping Nexus 7 pre-orders today!” said the company’s Google Play page.

The Nexus 7 has been one of the most anticipated pieces of hardware this year ever since it was announced at the Google I/O. The tablet, manufactured by ASUS is not just designed to take on Apple’s highly successful iPad, but will also pose a stiff threat to the Amazon Kindle Fire, and Google aims to tackle the competition better with its pricing strategy. The Google Nexus 7 tablet is available in two storage capacities – 8GB and 16GB – and the brand has priced it extremely competitively at $199 and $249, respectively. This put a rest to the countless rumours surrounding the pricing of the tablet, some of which pointed out that the price would be in the sub-$200 price bracket.

Starts shipping today. (image courtesy Google+)

Starts shipping today. (image courtesy Google+)

By assuming a greater role in the tablet market, Google hopes to ensure that its various online services remain front-and-center to consumers amid a changing technology landscape in which tablets by Apple and Amazon are increasingly becoming gateways to the Web and Web-based content such as movies and music.

The Nexus 7 measures 198.5 x 120 x 10.5 mm, weighs 340g, and sports a 7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. Connectivity wise, the tablet does not have 3G capabilities so that the company could keep the price to a minimum. The connectivity options found in the tablet include Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities. The tablet also has only a front facing camera, but one that can shoot 720p HD videos.

Recently, retailers seem to have jumped the gun and had started selling the product online, according to reports. This was at a time when Google officially claimed that the product was not out for sale yet. One of the online stores to sell the product was Adorama. They were selling the 16GB ASUS Google Nexus 7 at a price of $249.99 (approximately Rs. 14,000). Another site to sell the product was EBuyer. Now, Google seems to have slammed the brakes on this and have asked Adorama to stop sales.

The Nexus 7 tablet, built by and co-branded with Taiwan's Asus, was one of several gadgets unveiled at its annual developers' conference, as the Internet search and advertising leader dips its toe into the intensively competitive consumer arena.

Google offers buyers of the Nexus 7 a $25 credit to spend in Google Play, and it showed off several media-centric capabilities of the tablet, such as a new magazine reading app.

They all but called it a Kindle Fire killer. They're clearly gunning for that No. 2 spot behind Apple's iPad that is currently occupied by Kindle,” said Altimeter Group analyst Chris Silva. “But the con is they do not yet have a footprint in people's minds and wallets as the go-to place to purchase and consume media.

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