I did not spend a lot of time with the software, but a quick look at the hardware is impressive. At 340 grams, this feels more like a heavy phone (see anything HTC made last year) than a small tablet. We are not sure how the mA hours/16-core processor/9-hour battery life will reconcile, but it seems impressive at first blush. The plastic back will have its fans and detractors.

One important note: Like the Kindle Fire, but unlike Samsung’s 7-inch tabs, it charges via Micro USB. That will please many…unless they are looking for a quick charge. It will be interesting to see if you can do video out of the Nexus 7 using the micro-USB port—or if Google steers you to its new Q orb.

The screen is very nice. Colors are crisp, even in the bright demo area, and it feels a bit sharper than the now-boxy Kindle Fire.

As a product, the Nexus 7 feels like a media-heavy direct attack on the Kindle Fire. I think there is no question that this is better, though. The issue is that the Kindle Fire is now almost a year old, and rumors of the next version landing at around the same time as this device hits the Google Play store have already started.

I will have my device to go deep into tonight.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

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