Google’s Nexus 7: A Hit or a Flop?
Rajesh is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced the launch of its first tablet computer, the Google Nexus 7 at the Google I/O Developer Conference held at San Francisco. Last year Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) launched its tablet Kindle Fire at $199, amazing people who expected that the tablet would be offered for $249. This year it’s the Nexus 7 which is drawing eyes. The Asus-made tablet directly competes with the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet.
The market is packed with several players who are ramping up in this tablet war.
…so what makes Google to enter the tablet market?
To this, Patrick Brady, Director of Android Partner Engineering said that the tablet is one product category which is to explode, particularly the lower priced ones. There lies huge opportunity as it has much more potential than what seems at present. As per Gartner Inc.’s estimation, this market will almost double to 118.9 million units by this year end.
The tablet war…
The tablet market is extremely challenging at this moment. The Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad is considered to be the king of tablets and is expected to lead at least through 2016, though it might lose some market share to the Androids. Samsung, HTC and Motorola already offer Android tablets, but Google desires to build its own brand in this field. It wants to offer consumers a slimmer device featuring the latest software yet at a highly reasonable price tag of $199, much lower than the latest version of iPad starting at $499. Other than this, Google might face some pressure from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which recently unveiled the Surface.
Google is all set to take up the challenge and launch the Nexus 7. Let’s take a look at its feature.
Nexus 7, which is to come this July, runs on Google’s latest version of Android OS Jelly Bean. It also gives access to the Google Play app store. The tablet is available in both 8GB and 16GB storage. The 8GB is priced at $199, while the 16GB would cost $249. The tablet comes with an impressive 7-inch 1280-by-800 resolution screen. Though it doesn’t give a Retina display quality as the more expensive third generation iPad, it isn’t bad either.
Other features include a 1.2GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor from Nvidia Corp., 1GB RAM, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS and a front camera of 1.2 megapixel. Also, it weighs pretty light at 350 gram compared to most of its competitors and also claims a battery life of 9 hours.
The size and weight of the device makes it handy and easy to carry. I must say that the hardware specifications are extremely striking for a $199 tablet. Also, the leather-like rubber cover on the back of the device gives a solid feel.
Now if you’re planning to grab one, you have a couple of options. First, you can pre-order it online from the Google Play Store. Other than this, it will also be made available at brick-and-mortar stores, though Google hasn’t spoken much about it.
A look at the cons
The tablet might have a beautiful display, better responsiveness with smoother Jelly Bean version, but the point that immediately strikes is the lack of microSD expansion slot, a feature to expand the storage memory. Also, when the device is turned to landscape, the screen doesn’t rotate and continues to be on the portrait view. There is no rear facing camera. Other than this, Nexus 7’s battery capacity is lower than the batteries of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.
A comparison with fellow devices
The device isn’t directly competing with the premium market of iPad, but it aims to hit the market of Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet. First let’s take a comparative look at Kindle Fire.
Kindle Fire 2 is expected to arrive as early as July 31 and now that the release of Nexus 7 is announced, the new version would keep its specification near about the Google tablet to keep it competitive. Also, the current Kindle model will be brought down to $149. The current Fire’s specification is pretty common and has no feature like the Bluetooth, a front camera, GPS or an in built microphone. It has a 1,024x600-pixel screen resolution not as good a resolution offered by Google’s Nexus 7.
Nook tablet, on the other hand, which comes for $249 for the 16GB model, has an expandable memory slot and a faster processor with a user-friendly interface. But it falls behind Nexus 7 for similar reasons as Kindle Fire.
Despite a few glitches, I believe the Nexus 7 is a promising device. An Android device at $199, with specifications such as the Nexus, is an undeniable offer. No other 7-inch tablet in this range possesses such attractive hardware specifications with Android 4.1 and such high screen resolution.
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