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Google boss Eric Schmidt launches Nexus 7 tablet in Japan

google nexus announcements Google boss Eric Schmidt was in Japan on Tuesday to launch the company’s Nexus 7 tablet.

At a special event in Tokyo, Schmidt said the 7-inch device would be available on its website from today and from retail stores starting October 2. The Android-powered tablet is priced at 19,800 yen ($250) for the 16GB version, Reuters said.

Stores in Japan set to stock the device include Edion, K’s Denki, Kojima Denki, Joshin Denki, Bic Camera, Best Denki, and Yodobashi Camera. As an added incentive, buyers will bag 2,000 yen ($26) of credit to spend in the Google Play store.

Schmidt told the gathered audience that adoption of Google’s Android operating system is rising rapidly in the Asian country, with the number of devices powered by the mobile OS almost tripling in the last 12 months. As a result of the take-up, the Japanese Google Play store is now the third most popular in the world in terms of the number of app downloads.

The tablet, now available in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia, was well received by critics when it launched in July. Outside of Australia, Japan is the first country in Asia to start selling the Nexus 7, though earlier this month it became available for pre-order in Taiwan, which is, incidentally, where Asus, the tablet’s manufacturer, is based.

The launch in Japan gives Google a head start over one of its main rivals in the tablet market, Amazon. Its Kindle Fire range of tablets are yet to launch in the country, one of the most lucrative markets in the world.

Whether the Nexus 7 – with its 1.3GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, a front-facing camera for video chat, and the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS – will have any effect on sales in Japan of the popular iPad remains to be seen. It may also have to contend with another tablet expected to be unveiled next month, the much talked about iPad Mini.

[via Reuters, TNW]