Why Google’s Nexus 7 Isn’t Really an iPad Killer

At Google’s own developer convention, Google I/O, the software giant announced the upcoming release of the Nexus 7. The new Asus-built tablet is priced at $199, has a 7-inch screen and is more of a Kindle Fire killer than an iPad killer.

Google has released a product announcement on its blog that describes the Nexus 7 as “Powerful, portable and designed for Google Play.” The tablet comes with a 7-inch 1280×800 HD screen, a Tegra-3 chipset and quad-core CPU. There are two sizes. The 8GB model will cost $199, while the 16GB model will be $249. Do these specs sound familiar?

Exactly. That’s because they fit more inline with the Kindle Fire than they do the iPad. It is a little better than the Kindle Fire, but not nearly as good as the iPad.

Let’s start with the 7-inch screen. While there are rumors of an iPad mini coming out this fall, currently Apple doesn’t offer something that small. The resolution of the Nexus 7 is higher than Kindle Fire’s 1024×600 screen, but is not as pixelated as the new iPad with Retina display of 2048×1536.

Memory is another point where the Nexus is more in line to compete with the Kindle Fire than it is the iPad. Apple doesn’t even offer an 8GB tablet. Speaking from personal experience at having both a 16 GB and a 32GB iPad, 8GBs is just not enough storage. Even with iCloud, you’d eat up all your memory with a handful of apps. What then? Maybe 8 Gigs is enough for people who spend all their tablet time reading books or surfing the net, but iPad users have large productivity apps, in-depth crafter apps and full-fledged MMORPG games.

The price point alone is proof that Google doesn’t want to compete with Apple. Releasing a tablet that is half the cost of the iPad puts it into another category entirely. Like the Kindle Fire, the Barnes & Noble Nook and other low-cost tablets, the Nexus 7 is priced to cater to consumers that want to try out a tablet, but can’t afford, or don’t want to spend that much money on a gadget. In this regard, you get what you pay for, which is less.

Google’s new tablet will come with the newest version of Android, Jelly Bean. The Android operating system has been a sore spot for tablet users since the market began. Apple has a powerful App infrastructure and intuitive operating system dedicated to tablets. Android has been the butt of many operating system jokes due to its less-than stellar performance in the tablet arena. While Jelly Bean may be the version of Android that finally makes it work, it is still part of a fragmented operating system that continues to isolate users every time a new one comes out.

Kindle has its own, even more isolated and fragmented version of Android tucked into its guts. The online retail giant took Google’s open source software and twisted it into its own operating system that conveniently left out all of the Android-maker’s apps in favor of Amazon’s own tools. So, if Nexus 7 were able to compete in the software arena, it is more likely to be a competitor, neigh – killer, of the Kindle Fire.

The Nexus 7 will be available this August. We’ll know then who feels the heat from Google’s new hardware.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • Neil Lund

    I’m just going to say good job for pointing out the obvious. I think the purpose of the Nexus7 is to be references device and to fill the void in a highly desired market space. The market has been asking for a device like the Nexus7 and I have no doubt that it will be a very popular device among nonsheep around the world as it is opened to more world markets.

  • Mike

    whatever, ipads aren’t laptop killers either, no?

  • jayray78

    Google is building an entry level base. You better believe that a direct competitor to the iPad will come soon enough. I would say, in the next three years.