I just bought a Nexus 7 — my first android device ever. Everything else I have is either iOS or MacOS.
I love Nexus 7 for one and only one reason – its form factor. The 7” form factor is just perfect for a vacation tablet – for reading, for quick information browsing or watching some pre-loaded you-tube videos. Its fairly slick – but for the not so pretty Android User Interface.
( Credit: Google Inc. )
So, it is pretty clear to me that the 7” form factor is a great winner, and its price point does help things further. There is no doubt in my mind now that Apple has to release a mini-iPad to maintain its lead in the tablet market. Even if Apple prices it at higher a bit – and it will – say at $299 for 16GB, it would maintain its market share. The draw for Apple products has not waned down a single bit and there is a reason for it. Android is just not a great user experience. Reminds me of X-windows days – designed by engineers for engineers.
Now, lets talk about Kindle Fire. I am pretty sure Kindle fire is doing fine given that they got the right form factor. So did Barnes and Noble’s nook. These companies needed to release a tablet to lock-in their subscribers. Google probably doesn’t have much of a reason to release a tablet but to just give a brand name to the non-Apple tablets, which have been doing terrible – Motorola’s XOOM and Samsgung Galaxy tab were not as successful. But not sure if Nexus 7 would go too far in changing the perception of Android user experience. Its only a winner because it’s the latest tablet in that form factor – until the next version of Kindle Fire arrives. And until the iPad mini arrives.
Its time for Android tablet vendors to decide what market niche’s they are going to hit.
So far, the limited success that Android tablets have had is with book readers – who want a convenient way to carry their reading arsenal. The price point and form factor are they only two things that matter here. The basic performance, battery life are a given.
Android tablets need to find other niches – such as the education market. A lot depends on the software/application vendors but if Google recognized these niches, it can help in focusing on making their platform more amenable to these niches. Google should use google books, google scholar to its leverage.