The new Nexus 7 goes on sale early at Best Buy, sort of

It wasn’t supposed to be available until Tuesday, but the newly revamped Nexus 7 tablet from Asus and Google was listed as available for purchase Friday morning at many Best Buy stores across the U.S.

Earlier, Google said the device would hit store shelves starting July 30. So it’s not clear why Best Buy got the go-ahead to start selling the device on Friday. Most Best Buy locations were not open at the time of this writing, and calls to two stores with early morning hours in New York City did not clear the matter up.

The Best Buy website shows Nexus 7 tablets available for pickup all over the place. (Click to enlarge.)

One store told TechHive the new Nexus 7 was available, while another said it wasn’t. Both stores were listed as having the new Nexus 7 available for purchase online. One thing that is clear, however, is that the new Nexus 7 is available only for in-store pick-up, even if you purchase the device online.

Although Best Buy is the only retailer so far we’ve spotted with wide availability of the new Nexus 7, we also spotted the device as available for in-store pick-up at one Staples location in the New York City area.

Depending on where you live, the new Nexus 7 may be available near you. We spotted the new Google device as being available in stores in Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, DC, and areas of Indiana and Ohio. Locations such as Seattle and Los Angeles, however, were not showing wide availability for Google’s new addition to the Nexus line.

Google and Best Buy had not responded to our request for comment at the time of this writing.

New Nexus 7

The latest version of Google’s Nexus 7 features the same 7-inch screen size as the original low-priced tablet, but adds a number of important upgrades. The display has been bumped up from 1280-by-800 to full HD resolution at 1920-by-1200. You also get a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, SlimPort for HDMI out, an extra gigabyte of RAM for 2GB total, and a 1.5GHz quad-cord Snapdragon S4 Pro chip instead of the 2012 model’s Tegra 3 processor. Similar to the original version, the 2013 Nexus 7 comes in 16GB and 32GB flavors.

The new Nexus 7 also rocks the boringly great Android 4.3, a.k.a. the latest flavor of Jelly Bean. The new version of Google’s Android mobile OS doesn’t have a whole lot of consumer-facing new goodies to get excited about, but it packs some crucial under-the-hood changes. Important upgrades include the addition of Bluetooth LE (low energy) support, which will make connecting peripheral devices to your tablet such as health monitors more battery efficient. Android 4.3 also adds new graphics capabilities thanks to OpenGL ES 3.0 support and restricted profiles for individual user accounts on one device.

With the new additions to the Nexus 7, Google has also bumped up the tablet’s price. The 16GB version now sells for $230, up $30 from the $200 price tag of the 2012 version. And the 32GB slate will set you back $269, up from $250.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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