Ever since Google’s announcement at I/O 2012 last week, the new Google Nexus 7 has been hyped more than any tablet launch since… err, the new iPad back in March.
The Nexus 7 will be first to ship with the new Android 4.1 ‘Jelly Bean’. For those who haven’t seen them yet, hardware specs include:
7 inch 1280 x 800 HD IPS display – scratch resistant Corning glass
Quad core 1.3Ghz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor
8GB or 16GB storage
1.2MP front camera
Wifi and Bluetooth
And what is missing:
No MicroSD card slot
Prices – officially $199 for the 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB version – all other specs are the same for both versions.
Launch date varies by country – expected from July 19th in US and UK, pre-orders available. The Verge reported that the Nexus 7 was designed and manufactured by Asus in just 4 months – not normally a good thing but most of the components will have been readily available before.
However, considering the high quality hardware specs and the new OS, the price does indeed represent something of a bargain – it is no surprise to learn that the $199 version is being sold at cost. This all sounds good for buyers but bad for Google – and its competitors.
But Google aren’t being quite as generous as first impressions suggest – the extra 8GB of RAM in the $249 version should only cost about $10 so they have a very comfy $40 profit margin there.
The cynical amongst us would suggest that this is precisely why Google chose to omit a MicroSD card slot – if users can’t add more storage it is guaranteed to make the profitable 16GB version a lot more popular…
Anyone thinking they can work around the lack of SD card storage by utilizing USB-OTG (On The Go) functionality will also be out of luck – according to Anandtech, USB-OTG will allow the connection of a mouse and keyboard but not USB storage.
Nexus 7 Guidebook
Google have published a free official guidebook on how to use the Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean – available here.
You can read it online in any web browser or via Google Play Books app for Android/iOS.
Nexus 7 Fanboys
Sadly, most discussions on the Nexus 7 quickly turn into flame wars – Android fanboys proclaim it as the Second Coming whilst, for some strange reason, Apple fanboys seem very keen to fault it.
I say ‘strange’ because it should be obvious that the Nexus 7 is targeting cheap 7” Android competitors like Amazon’s Kindle Fire – not the 9.7” iPad.
How could it be otherwise? If it was a 9.7” model running iOS, then of course comparisons with the iPad would be valid.
But it isn’t – so they’re really not…
Android and iOS remain as different as Windows and OS X – neither is ‘better’ than the other (though we may each have our own preference). They’re just different, with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Likewise, anyone buying a tablet who seriously isn’t bothered whether it has a 9.7” screen (and almost double the weight) or a 7” screen for (optimal portability) hasn’t thought through their actual needs or usage.
What the Nexus is – a powerful, quick and high quality 7” tablet at a great/good price (depending on the version), with plain vanilla (nothing to do with Ice Cream Sandwiches!) Android rather than a heavily customized semi-walled garden a la Kindle Fire.
Fanboy note: that’s not to say that standard Android is necessarily better than the Fire’s implementation – again, they are aimed at different types of user.
Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is a fair price for the quality of its components and 4.1 Jelly Bean may be an added bonus for early adopters.
Judging by the amount of interest and discussion it has already generated, it is likely to be a big seller and may become a ‘go to’ model for 7″ tablets. It could even cement the hugely fractured Android tablet market into one key model, as the iPad has done with larger screens.
For some people the lack of HDMI and SD card storage (available even in cheap but cheerful tablets like the £50 M009S I reviewed earlier) would make the Nexus a poor buy.
For many others, it is possibly the highest quality 7” tablet on the market.
What are your thoughts on the Nexus 7? Let us know in the comments.