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Google Unveils New Tablet to Compete With Apple's iPad

Google's Nexus 7 will be half the price of the competing iPad and has deals with entertainment industry giants to make more content available

Now it's Google entering the iPad competition.

The search giant unveiled the Nexus 7, a $199 tablet made with Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc., Wednesday morning at its developers conference.

The 7-inch tablet, which will run on Android's mobile operating system, comes just a week after Microsoft fixed its crosshairs on the iPad with the carefully orchestrated release of its new Surface tablet.

Google's device will run on a new version of the Android 4.1 software named Jelly Bean.

Also read: Microsoft Manufacturing Tablet to Rival Apple iPad, Says Insider (Exclusive)

Priced to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire — and at about half the cost of the iPad — the Nexus 7 is available for preorder Wednesday on the Google Play store. It will ship in mid July. 

The tablet has a front-facing camera and claims to have up to nine hours of battery life with video playback and up to 300 hours of standby.

Google has courted the entertainment industry with this product launch as it announced Wednesday that it struck deals with Disney, NBC Universal, Sony and Paramount to download or rent movies and shows on the Google Play store, along with magazine subscriptions from Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith. 

Despite the popularity of its Android smartphones, the search engine giant has struggled to break into the growing tablet market, the sales of which nearly doubled last year to 118.9 million units, according to Gartner Inc, a technology research firm.

Android-powered tablets are already available from Samsung, HTC Corp. and Motorola Mobility Holdings, which Google bought last month for $12.5 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Also read: Microsoft Unveils the Surface, a Tablet to Rival Apple's iPad

But Google is trying to use its own dictionary-bound brand name to increase sales to consumers who will be swayed by its sleek hardware, updated software and lower price than the iPad, which starts at $499.

Both Google and Asustek did not immediately respond to requests for comment.