We have all heard about the Apple iPad and how it revolutionized mobile computing. By creating a new market in between laptop computers and mobile phones, the Apple iPad has introduced global users to the wonderful world of mobile computing using smaller app programs. Talk about bridging the benefits between full-blown computing and smart phone mobility. It is no surprise then to know that the tablet space is the fastest growing mobile device space on the market. No wonder Microsoft, Google and Apple are keenly keeping their eyes set on this market.
Google took a crack at this market with the launch of the Nexus 7 tablet. This is a Google-designed tablet made by a hardware partner. The good news is that it has sold out. The bad news is we do not have any details yet on the numbers behind this device selling out. It is an old Apple trick where a newly launched device sells out very quickly. Why? Because there was not that much inventory to begin with. Still, the marketing bonanza and the PR value of a new device selling out quickly sends ripples through the market and create even more demand for the device. Apple did this with iPod and iPod’s many iterations, the iPhone and of course the iPad.
It looks like either Google is taking a page from Apple’s Playbook with this announcement of the “sell out” of the Nexus 7 or there is really a huge demand for the new device. There is a lot at stake for Google with this hardware venture. First of all, it has already tried and failed with the Chromebox attempt to build a network-only computer. The Chromebox is in its second generation and it still remains to be seen whether it would do a much better job than its predecessor. From all indications, the odds are stacked against it. There are just still too many variables and the market maybe still has not matured to the point that there is a ready consistent and standardized global infrastructure to support a network-only device.
Be that as it may, the Nexus 7 tablet venture on the other hand is a pure play on Google’s part to leverage its Android operating system. Android as you probably already well know is a free mobile device operating system that Google hands out to a broad range of hardware producers. The strategy is to flood the market with so many hardware devices running this OS that it crowds out Apple’s iOS. The strategy is already paying off. Android is the market leader when it comes to smart phone OS. The problem is it is a free OS and Google does not own the hardware. It is basically hitching a ride on the efforts of hardware makers. That is why the Google Nexus 7 venture is sure to raise a lot of eyebrows because it is Google’s way of ensuring control over its Android tablet strategy.
Based on an aggregation of initial reviews for Nexus 7, it is looking quite good. It has many positives. Many reviewers are saying that it has the look and feel of a sleek quality product. While it is not as beautiful or as elegant as Apple products, it does give Apple a good run for its money. Its design sensibility is not shallow. It does not look like just a well-polished piece of plastic and glass. It has some design integrity. It looks great. It weighs lighter and the swiping motion and other touchscreen actions precede quite smoothly. This tablet’s 7-inch size is convenient and appealing to a broad range of users and it can be held with one hand, which gives it an added level of mobility. It is also small enough to fit in most purses and larger pockets. As a result of its smaller size, users can use it in more places more often. It is definitely more portable and more mobile than a larger tablet. It is one step closer to a smart phone.
While the display is not at the same caliber as the iPad, which boasts of a Retina screen display, it more than holds up its own as it produces the brightness and sharpness that most tablet users are looking for. When it comes to apps, this is where it kind of bugs down a little bit. It does not have as many great apps as the Apple. That is undeniable. However, Android is building up there and it is increasing its app coverage. It does have quite a beefy app library, but if you are looking for the greatest and the latest Apple iOS apps on the Nexus 7, you might have to wait a little bit longer. The real crowd pleaser about this tablet device is that it is cheap. It is only $199. At that price, many consumers can almost snap it up as an impulse buy. You cannot say the same thing about the Apple iPad which costs twice as much. An iPad will set you back at a minimum of $399 and can be quite pricey as you opt for more memory and storage and other options. Overall, the Nexus 7 has been gathering its fair share of positive reviews from even the most diehard Apple fans.
With all that said, this device does come with its share of downsides. The default screen does not gain it too many fans. It is confusing. The organization has been termed haphazard. Some reviewers are saying it was hard to find basic apps. Also Google Play, which many people like, is buried a layer deep in the menu system. It would be nice for the Google Play app store to be more easy to find and also transparent because not everybody knows that Google Play is an actual app store. Also some people might be uncomfortable about the fact that they are being pushed to store their files on the cloud because the Nexus 7 only supports 16-gb or 8-gb storage options. Not much to play with considering the amount of videos and other content people accumulate when they are surfing the web. In terms of touchscreen performance, there have been some reports with touchscreen’s functionality especially when playing games. While this is not obviously a deal killer, it might hamper the Nexus 7′s growth.
Overall, the Nexus 7 for its price is a great value proposition. There is still obviously room for improvement and Google needs to step on the gas on the next iteration of Nexus 7 as the rumors of a mini iPad progress. If Apple truly delivers on a mini iPad, it may mean that Google’s Nexus 7 may have a short development life. It is really a race against the clock to come up with a much better version to cement its Google’s foothold in the tablet hardware market.