Google’s Nexus 7 tablet was launched just nine months ago but has already sold an estimated 4.6 million units. Not content to rest on their laurels, Google has announced a refresh of the popular 7-inch tablet this week.

The Nexus 7 has already been rated the ‘best Android tablet around’ by ABCNews.com and the new model is even better. Boasting a faster Snapdragon processor, the new Nexus has added a back-facing 5 megapixel camera and an upgraded 1920×1200 display, beating the iPad Mini to become the highest resolution tablet available in its size class. All this extra power comes in a thinner (8.65mm) and lighter (.64 lb) case.

Upgraded Android OS

But all this hardware power isn’t much good without the right software. So Google has preloaded the new Nexus with version 4.3 of its popular Android mobile operating system. The update includes support for multiple accounts. This is very handy if Mom wants to share her tablet with little Danny. She simply logs off of her Google account on the tablet and lets Danny sign on with his. Mom can then let Danny play with confidence, because Android lets her restrict what apps he can use or even set up restrictions within specific apps. In-app purchases can also be blocked.

iAd mobile advertising
iAd was lackluster for mobile advertising possibilities

By comparison, Apple’s IOS supports account restrictions but not multiple accounts, so you have to activate restrictions each time you share the tablet. In addition, IOS restrictions are based on a PIN which might be easily guessed, whereas Android maps restrictions by user account, adding extra security to this feature.

But this is not just a simple upgrade announcement. The new Nexus 7 is perfectly positioned to become Google’s secret weapon in the Tablet Wars.

Let’s consider the facts. Apple makes their money on hardware so their mobile software has poor support for multiple users, thus encouraging additional hardware purchases. Their recent attempt at developing for mobile advertising, iAds, has so far been underwhelming. In fact, CNNMoney calls iAds “Apple’s lonely flop”. Their lackluster response to their mobile advertising platform reinforces the fact that Apple’s place is still more in the hardware realm.

Does it Beat the iPad Mini?

The refreshed Nexus, on the other hand, now has hardware and software that matches or exceeds that of the iPad Mini. The faster CPU and improved display mean that graphics, games and videos now look even better and the overall user experience is silky smooth.

In addition, Android has left IOS in the dust by adding robust, simple to use support for multiple users. So we don’t need multiple machines but with this set of features and a price point $100 lower than the Mini, Google is going to sell more than a few of these tablets.

ipad mini vs nexus 7
iPad Mini vs Nexus 7

There’s also a hidden bonus for Google. Multiple user support means that ads can be embedded in apps and games that specifically target that user account. Not only that, but by tying the Android experience to a Google account, that user experience (including targeted ads) can follow you from desktop to tablet to smartphone.

So users get a more consistent experience, advertisers get smarter, more focused marketing and THAT is how Google wins.