I told you so, in April. Contrary to pundits at the time viewing Google's tablet as an iPad competitor, I saw something else: Google isn't gunning for Apple but Amazon. After getting my hands on the tablet this evening, and comparing the experience using my wife's Kindle Fire, there is no doubt. Google will probably save Android from Amazon, but the end cost may be greater gains for iPad.
By just about every measure -- the exception being buying tens of thousands of retail goods -- using Nexus 7 feels like Kindle Fire, only better in every way. Significantly, the experience is different from using Google Nexus smartphones or other Android tablets. That's because Google Play is so visible. I can't say if that's a function of Android 4.1 Jellybean or how Google has set up the tablet. But content pushes to the forefront, like Kindle Fire, and much of it is similar.
The cat is finally out of the bag. After weeks of speculation surrounding Google’s vaporous "7-inch Kindle killer", the Nexus 7 is now real. And as I suspected, the search giant’s new reference platform is nothing more than another in a long line of cheap, uninspiring Android tablets.
I mean, what is there to differentiate the Nexus 7 from similarly-sized tablets by Samsung or Acer? They all have the same crappy build quality, the same limited output options (no HDMI?) and the same tinny, poorly-placed speakers that have come to define the 7-inch Android tablet category.
At Google's I/O 2012 developer convention on Wednesday, the long-rumored Asus tablet sporting the Google Nexus brand was finally revealed. Confirming the rumor from Gizmodo Australia earlier this week, the tablet is known as Nexus 7.
As the rumors had suggested, the $199 device is going to be the first to run Android 4.1 (aka Jellybean), sport a 7-inch, 1280 x 800 display, run on a quad-core 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAM and a "12 core" GeForce GPU, be Wi-Fi only, and offer a 1.3 megapixel forward-facing camera, accelerometer, and NFC chip for device-to-device communication. The total weight of the device is just 340 grams.
I'm here in San Francisco, undeterred by cancelled and delayed flights, and it's madness. At 7 am PDT, when the doors were supposed to open, the line wrapped around and down the block and around the next one. Man, you should have come. I/O closes an exciting month of developer events -- Apple's WWDC, Microsoft's TechEd, Windows Phone and surprise Surface announcement. But the last word goes to Google, which is expected today to debut the Nexus tablet, expand cloud services and delight with lots more. I'm too rushed to go through them all.
The keynote commences at 9:30 am PDT -- that's 12:30 pm Eastern Time, and all updates here will be in chronological order reversed -- meaning newest first. You'll want to refresh often.
Google I/O starts tomorrow, and if rumors are right -- and I believe them -- developers get a big peak at the 7-inch Nexus tablet. About a month ago, I asked how much would you pay for one. Now with more details available, I ask if you will buy the Google device.
The Nexus tablet, manufactured by Asus, features a 7-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 800 resolution; 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB RAM; 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera; near field communications; and Android 4.1 "Jellybean". There are two capacities, 8GB and 16GB, selling for $199 and $249, respectively. This information comes from a leaked training manual that Gizmodo Australia obtained. The big differentiator is price. As I explained in April, "Google isn't trying to save Android tablets but kill Kindle Fire".
The existence of a 7-inch Google-branded Android tablet has been rumored for a couple of months, and Asus has proudly taken credit for manufacturing the device. Still, the specifics have not be officially laid out, so we have to rely on unnamed sources and ambiguous evidence for the next few days until Google I/O begins.
Reportedly, some "training materials" uncovered by Gizmodo Australia related to a tablet known as the "Nexus 7" provide some confirmation to prior rumors of an Asus-made Google Tablet, similar to the MeMO 370T that was debuted by Asus earlier this year.
Microsoft and Google won’t have a price advantage with iPad, so they’ll have to actually make a better product
Last week Microsoft kinda-sorta announced its new Surface tablet computer. This week will come a Google-branded tablet. Both are pitted against the mighty iPad. Both companies see opportunity because of what they perceive as a Steve Jobs blind spot. And both companies are introducing tablets under their own brands because they can’t get their OEM’s to do tablets correctly.
For all the speculation about why Microsoft or Google would risk offending hardware OEMs by introducing name branded tablets, the reality is that neither company really had any choice but to make the hardware. In the commodity PC market, no one company is likely to be willing to make the investment necessary to compete with the highly-integrated iPad. Samsung tried, and even then it didn’t pay off for them. Taiwan Inc + Dell just don’t seem to run that way. Furthermore, it is a lot easier to make a product when you control the operating system. You have the experts right there. You don’t have to go through support channels to fix stuff. So ultimately, Microsoft and Google should be able to make much better products than their licensees.
Just ahead of Google I/O 2012, The Street claims that "Android users don't know enough to matter". Interesting story, especially considering the timing, and one that’s bound to stir lots of criticism just because it puts down all Android fans in the world.
There are plenty of references, but they sustain a flawed point of view.
The annual Google developer convention I/O will take place next week. Like Apple's WWDC and Microsoft's TechEd, it is the big summer event where the world is given a look at each of the respective companies' plans for the coming year.
Google is expected to announce a lot of staggering new stuff, like its own branded sub-$200 tablet and its own Cloud platform to rival Amazon Web Services.
Rumor stories are uncommon here at BetaNews, and rare when we don't get the information ourselves. But Android Police has got one so tasty and so in line with others, I can't resist. In less than one month, Google could debut the highly-anticipated Nexus tablet, produced in conjunction with Asus and packing quad-core Tegra 3 processor and Android 4.1. The only question, if rumors prove to be true, is price. What would you pay for a 7-inch Asus-made, Googe-branded Nexus tablet?
David Ruddock reports evidence from Rightware's Power Board benchmark and Android Police server logs showing instances of Androd 4.1 and Nexus devices. But the benchmark tool is more revealing: 1.3GHz nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1280 x 768 resolution display, Google brand and product name Google Asus Nexus 7. That's hardly a smoking gun. Asus and Google could be testing a prototype device, or even several. But given that Google I/O starts June 27, developers received tablets there last year and the search giant promised a Nexus tablet in about six months half a year ago, the discovery is too credible to ignore.
Rumors about Google's forthcoming tablet are increasing, which astounds me -- as they portray this as something new. Hey, Google already formally stated it would produce an Android tablet. The rumormongers have got the reasons wrong, too. Google isn't gunning for Apple but Amazon.
The retail giant is by far the biggest competitive threat standing before Android today. Amazon has customized Android, released its own hardware, ditched Google's browser for its own Silk, established a viable app store alternative to Google Play and created a curated user experience that rivals Apple's. In just one quarter, Amazon's Kindle Fire jumped ahead of all other Android tablets, putting it second to iPad. Every Kindle Fire sold is one more brick in the wall blocking the success of the broader Android ecosystem.
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has told an Italian newspaper that the company would release a Nexus tablet within six months. Google's sudden turnabout on releasing a signature Android tablet may reflect his confidence that regulators will approve the Motorola acquisition and concern about Amazon coming to dominate the Android tablet market.
Six months is way late in a market overrun by tablets -- more than 100 -- but with just a handful pulling meaningful sales. Apple's iPad 2 is the market leader by huge margin, according to IDC. In second quarter, iPad media tablet share, based on shipments, was 61.5 percent. Second-ranked Samsung: 5.6 percent. There's no question Google should have released a tablet -- that's past tense -- as in six months ago instead of six months from now. Year ago would have been even better.