Now that Microsoft has taken on the iPad in announcing its Surface line of tablets, Google is taking aim at the other tablet behemoth, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, with the announcement of the Google Nexus 7 tablet at their I/O conference yesterday.
Google’s new tablet, built by Asus, shares the same 7″ screen and focus on content as Amazon’s offering. The Nexus 7’s specs, however, blow the Fire’s out of the water, with a 1280×1800 display, 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, front-facing camera, and microphone. Compare that to the Kindle’s 1024×600 display, 1.0 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, and lack of front-facing camera and microphone. And somehow, despite the added hardware, the Nexus 7 is lighter than the Fire, weighing in at .75 pound as opposed to the .91 pound Fire, which is downright hefty in comparison.
The 8 GB version of the Nexus 7 has the same price as the Fire, which itself sports 8 GB of storage, at $200, while the 16 GB is priced at $250. Based on the above, it is pretty clear that Google has its sights set on directly competing with the Fire, and is trying to woo consumers away from Amazon’s tablet with a more impressive spec sheet.
The content-centric approach has been Amazon’s #1 selling point for the Kindle, running a smooth and simple, though largely non-customizable, fork of the Android OS that enables users to easily access the myriad of content offered through the $79/year Amazon Prime account. While Google’s Play Store is nothing to sneeze at, offering over 600,000 apps, and plenty of books, movies, TV shows, and magazines, the Play Store doesn’t offer an unlimited subscription to a vast, always expanding library of content like Amazon offers with Prime. Perhaps to mitigate this deficiency, if you order the Nexus 7 now (for shipping mid-July), you will receive a $25 credit for the Play Store. Though that should get you started, Google really needs to think about offering a subscription-based content-providing service that offers at least a portion of the content offered by Amazon in order to compete with the latter. That is doubly important considering that Amazon is undoubtedly prepping the Kindle Fire 2 to level the specification playing field.
Overall, if you are looking to do more with your tablet than access content, the higher specs and newest version of Android, 4.1 Jelly Bean, included in the Nexus 7 could be the right tablet for you. Though if your main focus is accessing loads of content for the price of a yearly subscription, barring any announcement by Google of a subscription service like Prime, the Fire might remain the better value.