If you’ve always wished your tablet was smaller than your existing tablet yet appreciably bigger than your smartphone while still being able to fit into a large enough pocket, the era of 7 inch-plus tablets AOA or Alive on Arrival is upon us.
Sure, Samsung sells 7.0 and 7.7-inch versions of its Galaxy Tabs around the world, and they have truly yet to capture the mainstream market, but were Apple to launch a 7+ inch sized tablet, iPad Minis would soon be everywhere - especially if they started at that same US $199 price.
Google is trying its hand at doing just that, having learned lessons from its Google Nexus smartphones and all the Android smartphones and tablets preceding it, and has made the Nexus 7 tablet as much of a competitor for now and the immediate future as possible.
Whereas Google once worked with Motorola on the original (and perennially “overtaking soon”) Honeycomb-powered Xoom tablet, Google chose to work with Asus – despite buying Motorola Mobility for US $12b.
Google must have been planning this tablet for a while now and Asus was obviously the company they thought most up to the job of creating “the world’s first quad-core 7-inch tablet”.
Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is available for pre-order now in the US, UK, Canada and Australia with other countries to follow, and with first deliveries to arrive mid this month.
Although the official Google Nexus site with details and pre-ordering for the Nexus 7 tablet is here, with prices of AUD $199 and $249 for the 8GB and 16GB models respectively (and at prices $50 more expensive than the US $199 and $249 for 8 and 16GB models), the Nexus 7 will also be on sale at a range of Australian retail stores “later in July” – in the 16GB configuration only.
Stores where the 16GB Nexus 7 will be on sale include Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi, Dick Smith, Bing Lee, The Good Guys, Retravision, Radio Rentals, Officeworks, EB Games, Costco, BSR and other authorised Asus resellers.
That means the Google Nexus 7 tablet will be available anywhere, but there will be a price increase – the 16GB model will sell for AUD $319, or $20 more than the online Google Play price, presumably to cover the retailer margin.
The only major caveat to the Nexus 7 is that the movies, TV shows and magazines (if not also music) that Google showed off as part of the Nexus 7 demonstration are only available in the US, with Google still obviously to do the same kinds of content sales licensing deals Apple had to battle through with iTunes before iTunes launched locally.
Indeed, Apple only just launched its iTunes Store in Hong Kong at the end of last month, showing that licensing deals aren’t easy things to nail down, and that a device selling digital content cannot do it selling to US consumers alone – it must sell to customers worldwide, or in as much of the world as possible.
Thus, while Google’s Nexus 7 is a very worthy looking tablet that will certainly generate sales, it still has an incredibly formidable competitor in the new iPad and the older iPad 2 – let alone and iPad Minis that Apple may well be set to surprise us with when it launches the iPhone 5 later this year.
Google’s 7-inch Nexus tablet may well be the tablet that ensures Apple stops simply thinking about a similarly sized tablet and playing with one in the labs, and actually releasing one.
Either way, the age of tablets is upon us – with Microsoft’s Surface Tablet perhaps even heralding the end of tablets as we know them just as Google introduces its own Nexus – and begins an age of ultrabook tablet hybrids that usher in what a MacPad Air would be like – if only Apple would release one of those, too!