Search engine giant Google may have made the operating system to take the tablet fight to Apple, but it’s never had its own tablet in the game, that is until now.

The just announced Google Nexus 7 is the first Android tablet to come direct from Google, bringing the latest version of Android operating system – the newly announced Android 4.1 “Jellybean” – to the masses.

Google’s Nexus tablet comes in the form of a 7 inch tablet, making it a more portable tablet device that is suited for holding with a single hand and makes it ideal for reading books and magazines.

Manufactured by Asus, the Nexus 7 comes complete with a 7 inch IPS screen, similar to the high quality display technology we’ve seen on the Asus Transformer tablets up to this point. Specs inside the tablet are also similar to the new Transformer range, with a 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, Near-Field Communication technology (NFC), 1GB RAM, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel front camera, and a battery rated up to 8 hours of active use.

People who always want to stay connected will have to live without 3G, however, because Google is sticking to WiFi only in the tablet at this time.

Storage for the Nexus 7 arrives with both 8 and 16GB variants, but pick your storage version carefully because, unlike most other tablets out there, there is no microSD slot in this product.

While Google’s use of the Nexus brand isn’t unusual, the company making a new product available to Australians right off the bat is, with Google announcing preorders for the Australian version at $249 for the 8GB and $299 for the 16GB.

With those prices in mind, it’s clear that the Nexus 7 is a clear shot at the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s own tablet designed to read all manner of media purchased from the Amazon website. Sadly, Amazon has yet to make the Fire officially available in Australia, thus making the Nexus 7 a solid attack in the local tablet market for Australia.

Other manufacturers with tablets will also be keen to see how this performs, with Samsung’s excellent 7.7 inch tablet now coming in at a higher price than Google’s own device, and Kogan’s inexpensive 10 inch tablet competing on dollars and cents.