Oh, Nexus 7. You have launched to surprising success and acclaim, thanks to a low entry price, top notch components, a quality build, some free content and a $25 credit in the Google Play store.
Indeed, according to The Next Web, you’ve helped the Instapaper app (letting you save webpages for viewing offline, handy on a Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 tabet) see a whopping “600% jump in downloads via the Google Play market that lined up with the day people started getting their Nexus 7 tablets”.
Some of that is attributable to the $25 Google Play credit that Google has bestowed up all new Nexus 7 owners, but Instapaper’s makes “doesn’t believe it accounts for all of it”, especially given the fact owners Samsung Galaxy and Nexus phones along with Galaxy Tablets were already big Instapaper users, but “within weeks” of the Nexus 7’s release, The Next Web reports it “has easily taken the largest single device share of Instapaper installs” at 15.58%!
Indeed, as a Nexus 7 owner, I saw the buzz about Instapaper and decided to spend some of my $25 credit on getting Instapaper too, for even though I have a separate 4G Wi-Fi hotspot and Internet sharing from my phones, it doesn’t hurt to have a popular app that can save content for offline viewing!
Anyone who has already experienced a 7-inch tablet is probably wondering what the fuss is about, but then they’d be Android and not iOS users (genenrally speaking), because the Nexus 7 certainly packs the best, smoothest and most polished version of Android yet, complete with an app experience that works the way iOS users have expected it to - without forcing you to exit the app (something iOS 6 will fix) and while offering you the ability to get refunds if desired.
But you have to try a Nexus 7 to appreciate it, and with even the early “sold out” situation reportedly due to Google thinking the 8GB version would be more popular than the 16GB model causing a delay in new Nexus-owners-to-be actually getting their hands on their own Nexus 7 tablets, the ol’ Halo effect is finally rubbing off on Android tablets, even if it took Google and its subsidisation of the market to do it.
After all, if Samsung could have made a great profit from selling US $199 to $249 tablets before hand, it would have already done so, but the Android world needed Jelly Bean 4.1.1 to catch up to the very mature iOS ecosystem, one that with iOS 6 is about to get even better.
Now, Google has lain down a challenge, not only to its Android OEMs like Samsung, but also to Apple and Microsoft – that Google is deadly serious about its computing, smartphone and tablet ambitions, and it too is able to go to great lengths to create its own hardware and “pure Google” experience.
So far, thanks to the subsidy of a cheap price, store credit and an excellent build quality (despite the lack of rear-facing camera, LED flash, Adobe Flash and SD card slot), the Nexus 7 experiment has worked, seeming as the long-awaited “spark” to fire of a round of Android tablet innovation and ever greater sales of Android tablet software.
It comes in the fact of Microsoft’s Surface Tablets, Apple’s market-leading new iPad 3rd-gen and the heavily rumoured iPad Mini, which itself is expected to be a massive sales success, igniting the mid-sized iPad that works with all the iPhone and iPad software you already own.
Of course there are plenty of Android owners out there too who can migrate their Android smartphone or tablet apps to the Nexus 7 tablet, but if you’re an iOS user, do you want to buy all those apps again on Android – or the Windows 8 Store?
Thankfully, most people reading this artcle live in a world where we can, generally speaking, can not only afford to buy more than one computing device easily enough, but already own several computing devices.
While some suspect the Nexus 7 is selling in big numbers to iPad owners who want to see what an iPad Mini would be like before it officially arrives from Apple, even if the iPad Mini isn’t expected to be inner-suit-jacket pocketable like the Nexus 7 (which will be a shame) – the facts are that the Nexus 7 is a solid tablet that has surpassed expectations.
As long as production doesn’t become unprofitable at the price being sold, through the evils of monetary inflation or the reality of selling $1 for 95c being a good way to go out of business, Google’s got a great head start on the iPad Mini and all those upcoming Windows RT tablets, and undoubtedly has a follow-up Nexus 8 tablet being prepared – along with whatever Samsung, LG, Huawei, Sony and everyone else is preparing for the same space given the success of the Nexus 7 thus far.
Which tablet will ultimately win, however, is still very much in question, and despite the Apple’s awesome iSuccess, it really is still anyone’s market – and everyone knows it!