The recent launch of the Google Nexus 7 tablet has ignited fire in a somewhat dormant Apple iPad-dominated tablet market.
Google Nexus 7 is the first Google-branded slate designed and developed by the search giant itself. It comes with the most attractive set of high performance features found on a tablet so far, which will not compromise topnotch hardware and software specs with price. The Google tablet will be yours for just $199 for the 8 GB model (the same price and capacity as Amazon’s bestseller Kindle Fire tablet) and $249 for the 16 GB model.
On paper, top tier features at a low-cost price will place the Google Nexus 7 on the path atop the tablet market. All Android tablet makers need to reconsider their product offerings if they want to keep up with competition. However, online consumers may not find a tablet without definite changes on its app ecosystem as worth the buy. It will not be sufficient for Google’s effort to pull away Apple iPad users and gain market share.
Google hired the services of Taiwanese device maker Asus to build the Nexus 7 tablet, which symbolizes the first commercial materialization of Project Kai. An inexpensive tablet design from Nvidia, the Kai reference platform gives manufacturers a crosscut pattern of how to make competitive tablets for budget-conscious consumers.
Back at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012, Asus and Nvidia formerly unveiled plans to create a Tegra 3 tablet for only $250, both companies obviously set their eyes on the Amazon Kindle Fire.
It was during the fall of last year that Kindle Fire broke records as the best-selling Android tablet ever. It offered Google’s mobile operating system at the budget price of $199. The Amazon tablet, however, is kindling fire among owners for its middling 1024×600-pixel resolution display, sub-par custom Android OS, no expandable memory, mediocre internal storage memory, no camera and slow overall performance. Kindle Fire sales figures have plummeted since the initial salvo of excitement from consumers. After its relatively successful launch, no Android tablet has gained traction on the tablet market.
Google Hands-On With Nexus 7
The search giant’s foray into the tablet market with a Google-branded tablet is important for various causes. Nexus 7 means that the company realized how critical it is for software makers, especially OS creators, to have deep involvement in making hardware that fully integrates and complements its own software.
Over the course of the past few years, Android tablets created a heap of risky mediocrity, spanning from hapless preferences in design, display, processors and weight.
Operating systems with hardware-independent tablet designs are not going to make big impacts nor break the Apple iPad’s dominant position in the industry. For tablet makers to create a sensational following from consumers in this post-PC era, the right approach should involve the integration of their own hardware design and operating system.
Google has found enough reasons to expand from its Nexus-branded smartphones by offering up its own tablet. On hindsight, the search giant would have done better if it took this step last year, alongside the launching of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. It was the first operating system that revolves around tablets. The company, however, opted to gamble with the stunningly unimposing Motorola XOOM tablet.
It is yet vague to what degree the Nexus 7 substantiates the company’s vision of a tablet. Other than the near-field communication (NFC) capability of the tablet – a feature that Google may have added to the original design, the principal specs for the slate are the exact ones that Asus and Nvidia presented at the CES 2012.
To top it all, Asus even unveiled its own device: the Asus Eee Pad MeMo 370T. It comes with specifications, price and availability period that somewhat fell upon the Nexus 7 tablet. After CES, the tablet maker has remained tight-lipped about MeMo, and then Google introduces its own tablet to fill up the holes.
All involved parties apparently realized that for Android OS to emerge successful in the tablet market, a change of plans should happen. They now take Project Kai as their route to have a meaningful impact on existing tablet manufacturers.
High Specs, Low Price
A $550 Toshiba Excite 7.7 tablet with a 1280×800-pixel display is nowhere close as a competitor to the Google Nexus 7, especially with the latter offering a similar screen resolution and costs $350 less. The edge Toshiba has over Google’s tablet is a relatively larger screen. However, both have Nvidia Tegra 3 processors and 16 GB of built-in storage memory.
Rumor mills believe Amazon currently is in the works for a next-generation Kindle Fire for a July launch. It remains unclear if the online retailer will come forward with up-to-date features for its Android tablet.
Not So Perfect
Google has not yet announced if it will sell Nexus 7 on any channels other than its online Google Play Store. Accordingly, consumers and reviewers who intend to create hands-on comparison videos of the Nexus 7 with other tablets will have to hold back until its mass release.
The approach Google is taking the Nexus 7 covers a rather small subset of Android tablet market problems. Issues that need solutions include higher-resolution displays and better blueprints.
The keynote during the Google I/O 2012 developers conference failed to tackle any discussion of Android OS and device fragmentation issues that cause headaches among app developers. With fragmentation and little market share, it’s no wonder software developers opt to create iPad apps, rather than Android apps.
At the event, Google highlighted that it now offers around 600,000 Android apps in its Play Store, but failed to mention how many apps consumers can fully enjoy on a tablet.
The Android app ecosystem is still an impasse in progress for tablets running the OS, which only makes Android tablet recommendations more difficult to consumers.
Nexus 7, with the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, should be delineating a landmark in Android tablets’ struggle to outperform the Apple iPad.