Google Nexus 7 – reaction

Yet another tablet has been unveiled, this time from Google.  The search giant’s announcement of its first own-branded tablet, the Nexus 7, comes just a few weeks after Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablet.

The Google Nexus 7 comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor packing a 12-core GPU and 1GB of on-board RAM ensuring a slick, super-smooth performance.  It uses Android’s latest operating system 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and is the first Android tablet to use Chrome as its default browser.

At just 340g it is considerably lighter than the iPad and is about the same weight as a slim book. As its title suggests, the Nexus 7 accommodates a 7-inch screen as well as a camera and 8 hours of ‘active use’ battery life.

With prices starting at just $199/£159 (8GB version) and available this month (July 2012), Google’s entry into the tablet market is impressive and according to our CEO, Richard Stephenson, the Nexus 7 specs already look “300% better than the Kindle Fire”.

With total worldwide sales of tablet computers reaching 105m units this year and 143m in 2013, it’s no surprise to see Google partner with Taiwanese manufacturer, Asus in attempt to grab market share for itself. After all, tablet sales now match laptop sales almost 1 for 1, at least in the UK.

However, the unveiling of both firm’s tablets – as well as Amazon’s Kindle Fire – is part of a much bigger strategic move by Microsoft, Google and Amazon to replicate Apple’s ‘trinity model’ of owning the hardware, software and cloud, with each rival using different business models:

Apple: Join the Apple ecosystem and keep buying the world’s best and coolest hardware.  Premium positioning and pricing:  iPad 3 starts at $499/£399 (16GB).

Google: Buy a cheap Nexus and Android phone and the data gathered (on you) will be used commercially by businesses. Mass market positioning: Google Nexus7 starts at $199/£159 (8GB) available July in both US & UK.

Amazon: Buy a cheap Kindle or Kindle Fire and get access to all the films, books and content and pay us for the privilege. Mass market positioning: Kindle Fire 2 starts at $199/£150 (8GB) available July in US only (until Amazon Store opens in Europe).

Microsoft: Buy a tablet or tablet computer and integrate with all your business processes and continue to licence our applications. Mass market and enterprise/corporate positioning: RT $599/£380 and Surface Pro $799/£500, launch date October 2012.

Will Google be able to take on the might of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon in the tablet market place?  Only if it attracts users to its cloud ecosystem and that will depend on getting the right content on Google Play. Google has a lot of books (4 million) but much less than Amazon, whilst most of its apps are poorer quality than Apple iOS apps (and this is where the revenue is).

Google is also adding magazines and adopting a more publisher-friendly approach to data but this is yet another platform format for publishers to add into their workflows. Certainly this may be a game changer for publishing magazines on Android but, so far, demand for Android magazines has not been registering on the radar.

Overall, Google’s Nexus 7 is another interesting development in the tablet market place and it will probably delay the launch of the Amazon Fire in Europe until the Kindle Fire 2 becomes available. Indeed, it is the potential buyers of these devices rather than the iPad user that the Nexus 7 is targeting.

But I conclude this post with one sobering fact for Google: Apple is expected to remain the dominant player in the tablet market for the foreseeable future, with Gartner forecasting that the iPad will account for 61.4% of all sales this year.  Google has some ground to make up!

Categories: Google Nexus 7

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