Google's set to make a big push into the tablet market with the Nexus 7, but does it have what it takes to compete with Apple and Amazon?
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The Setup: Apple has enjoyed complete dominance in the tablet market since the launch of the original iPad in 2010. Amazon's Kindle Fire, running a modified version of Android, has been able to steal some sales away from Apple, but Google has yet to truly challenge the company in the tablet space.
Google hopes the Nexus 7 will change all of that. The company has made it clear it plans to double down on its tablet initiative in 2012, and it all starts with the launch of the Nexus 7 later this month. The new tablet may not have the clout or power of Apple's iPad, but early positive reviews suggest Google may have found a sweet spot that could lead to success.
- The Nexus' 7-inch screen may keep it from providing the same level of experience as Apple's Retina display iPad, but the smaller size makes it much more comfortable to hold and use for tasks like Web browsing, reading and watching videos. Google:+500 points
- Everyone check for flying pigs, because the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software is an asset to this tablet, not a detriment. The Android Honeycomb operating system held back past tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Toshiba Thrive, but Jelly Bean is a stable platform with a user interface that takes kindly to tablets. Google made a lot of progress eliminating lag and Android smartphones will receive Jelly Bean upgrades, helping to eliminate fragmentation. Google:+500 points
- Last, the most important factor that makes everything else about the Nexus 7 stand out -- its price point. At $200, the Nexus offers the ability to perform many of the tasks people use their iPads for everyday, at less than half the price. The functionality the Nexus offers for the money is a real value that will be tough for customers to ignore. Google:+1,000 points
- If there is something bad to be said about the Nexus 7, it's that the selection in the Android Market for tablet specific apps still leaves a lot to be desired. Even established social networks like Twitter do not have a tablet app for Android yet, and while mobile apps will run on the Nexus it can become painfully obvious they haven't been optimized for tablets. Google:-1,000 points
The Score:Google:+1,000 points
Even without tablet specific apps at the Nexus' launch, Google may have still set itself up for success with a strong platform and hardware at an affordable price. If customers recognize the value of the Nexus with high demand, then developers will take notice and the device's app problems will slowly begin to disappear.
However, the opposite could also occur. Customers weary of the device's poor app selection may not be willing to jump on board in good faith that developers will follow, putting Google in a tough spot. Only time will tell if users will choose the Nexus over more established tablets like the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire, but a lot of it will fall on the shoulders of Google's marketing team and creating awareness for the device.
Google hasn't had much success in the tablet market, but despite the Nexus being app-challenged, its decent features and affordable price make the device the company's best chance to make an impact in the market.