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Android is good in that many apps designed for a phone's smaller screen are automatically adapted to take advantage of a tablet's larger screen. On the iPad, apps that aren't optimized for it are squeezed into a smaller window the size of an iPhone. Blow it up to full screen, and it looks distorted. But that's not as glaring on the Mini as it is on the full-size iPad. And having apps automatically change their layout isn't the same as designing them for the tablet from scratch, as is the case with the hundreds of thousands of apps optimized for the iPad.
The Nexus 7's screen is much sharper than that on the iPad Mini, which has the non-HD display technology of the iPad 2 from 2011 — ancient in the world of mobile gadgets. The Nexus 7 is also a tad lighter, by 6 percent.
That said, the iPad Mini has a larger screen, measuring 7.9 inches diagonally compared with 7 inches on the Nexus. And the iPad Mini has had a rear camera from the start. The iPad Mini also has Siri, a voice assistant that is feistier than Google Now on the Nexus. If you prefer Google Now for its ability to give you information you need to know without even asking, you can download it on the Mini. You can't get Siri on the Nexus.
If you do get the Nexus 7, it supports wireless charging, so you can get rid of the messy wiring. The device comes only with a standard microUSB charger to plug in, so you'll have to buy a Qi-compatible wireless charger yourself.
The $229 base model comes with 16 gigabytes of storage. For $40 more, or $269, you get twice the storage. Both will go on sale in the U.S. next Tuesday. A 32-gigabyte model with 4G cellular capability will cost $349. By contrast, the iPad Mini starts at $329. A 32-gigabyte version with 4G costs $559.
Even with the price increase, Google has Apple beaten on price. The Nexus 7 may lack the cachet and many of the apps that the iPad Mini has, but you'll be able to do a lot with it. I hope technology companies won't make price hikes a habit, but this one is made palatable by the device's richer display, sound and camera.
About the Nexus 7:
The updated Nexus 7 sports a sharper, 7-inch screen and better sound through dual speakers. It now has a rear, 5-megapixel camera to complement a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. It comes with an Android update that features the ability to create restricted accounts for kids.
It also comes with a higher price tag. The base model with 16 gigabytes costs $229, or $30 more than last year's model. A 32-gigabyte model costs $269, or $20 more. A 32-gigabyte model with 4G cellular capability will cost $349, $50 more than before.
The Wi-Fi-only models go on sale in the U.S. on Tuesday, with other countries to come. Google says it will be available at its online Play store and the following retailers: Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Amazon, Home Shopping Network, Radio Shack, J&R and B&H Photo. Google hasn't announced a release date for the cellular version.
The device is made by AsusTek Computer Inc., working from Google's design.
Anick Jesdanun, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, can be reached at email@example.com.