Google announces bigger tablet, new Android smartphone, other extras


Google's line of Nexus smartphones got a new addition Monday, called the Nexus 4 smartphone. There is a minor upgrade to Google's Android operating system. A more comprehensive upgrade is expected to be released next year. It's manufactured by LG Electronics.

A larger version of the Nexus 7 tablet was also announced Monday. The new, larger Nexus 10 tablet measures 10 inches diagonally, about the same size as Apple's iPad. The larger Nexus tablet is manufactured by Samsung Electronics.

The Nexus 10 tablet with 16 gigabytes of storage will sell for $399. That's $100 less than the comparable version of the latest iPad, though the older iPad 2 is still available at that price. The Nexus goes on sale in Google's online store Nov. 13.

The Nexus 7 itself was upgraded to add cellular capabilities and a doubled increase in its capacity. Google began selling the Nexus 7, measuring 7 inches, in July.

Google's introduction of a larger tablet comes less than a week after Apple announced it's making a smaller, less expensive iPad, with a 7.9-inch display, to compete with the Nexus 7 and Inc.'s Kindle Fire. The iPad Mini will be available in stores Friday.

The Android update also includes a new feature called Gesture Typing, designed to make entering text and other information on touch-screens easier and quicker.

The Nexus 4 phone boasts a 4.7-inch screen, larger than Apple's recently released iPhone 5 and just slightly smaller than Samsung's flagship phone, the Galaxy S III. A 16-gigabyte model of the Nexus 4 will sell for $199 with a two-year contract to buy phone service and Internet access from T-Mobile. A contract-free version is available for $299 with 8 gigabytes of storage and $349 for the 16-gigabyte model. Google is touting the Nexus 4's wireless charging capability as a major selling point.

The Nexus 7 tablets will continue to be sold at Google's Play store online as well as such retailers as GameStop, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, Wal-Mart.

Besides adding more hardware to its online store, Google is expanding its music library to include Warner Music Group's catalog. Warner had been the only holdout among the major music labels when Google began selling music a year ago to compete with Apple's iTunes stores. The company also said it will begin selling music in Europe beginning Nov. 13.

With these additions to its product lineup, Google joins a procession of companies selling a gamut of sleek and powerful computing devices in different shapes and sizes. Some are smartphones and other are tablet computers, but they all aim to cater to people's growing interest to have easily portable devices that can be used to connect to the Internet, take pictures, watch video and read books, magazines and newspapers.

Google's Nexus devices will be competing with gadgets from such companies as Apple Inc., Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Samsung and Microsoft Corp. Microsoft released a new tablet called Surface last week and launched new software for phones on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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