Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hands on with Google's $199 Nexus 7 tablet

Amazon, Microsoft and now Google accept anniversary apparent a new acknowledgment to the iPad aural the endure six months. That agency that consumers now accept a accomplished lot added to anticipate about if chief which book to buy.

Google's Nexus 7 book is the newest contender. Built by Asus, the Nexus 7 has abundant of what you'd apprehend from a high-end tablet: It appearance a beautiful, high-definition touchscreen, a active processor and a able cartoon dent that makes video attending stunning. It's failing but feels solid in the hand, and it's adequately simple to use.

Yet its low amount -- $199, compared to $499 for the latest iPad -- pits the Nexus 7 absolutely adjoin the lower-end of the book market, decidedly the Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) Kindle Fire. The Nexus 7's smallish, seven-inch awning -- additional Google's arresting adjustment of apps for videos, books, movies and magazines -- puts it head-to-head with the analogously priced Fire.

If this were just a accouterments battle, the Nexus 7 would win easily down. Its awning crams in about 28% added pixels per inch than the Kindle Fire. It has a front-facing camera (the Kindle has none), Bluetooth connectivity, a twice-as-fast processor and alert the memory. All that comes with the aforementioned array activity in a accessory that is two ounces lighter..

But acrimonious a book isn't just about specs. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) accepted that by actualization its Surface book endure week, whose a lot of talked-about affection wasn't its acceleration or screen, but an avant-garde case that doubles as a keyboard.

So how does the Nexus 7 analyze to its rivals in agreement of usability?

Like the Kindle Fire, the Nexus 7 offers seamless admission to agenda content. The new "My Library" accoutrement on the capital home awning places all of your most-recently beheld books and videos in big, easy-to-navigate tiles. A tap on a asphalt will accompany up the agreeable appropriate from area you larboard off

The Nexus 7 appearance agnate libraries of movies, books and magazines on its four added home screens. An Amazon-like "recommended content" affection about begs you to buy new things from Google's Play store.

The botheration with the Nexus 7 is that for all that adorableness and simplicity, there's just not as abundant agreeable to ample its awning as its competitors'.

Amazon and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) both accept it exhausted in agreement of movies and TV shows. Amazon's e-book abundance is additional to none. Even Microsoft, with its Xbox Live integration, appearance the affectionate of acute agreeable partnerships with cable providers and media companies that Google hasn't been able to bear on yet.

Apps and amateur aswell set added tablets apart, decidedly the iPad.

Apple's book -- with 60% bazaar share, according to IDC -- has added than 225,000 apps. When Microsoft enters the book bazaar after this year, its abundance will affection abounding bags of apps, and some versions of the Surface will acquiesce users to download any of the millions of Windows programs out there.

Google doesn't say how abounding tablet-specific Android apps are in its store, but it's far, far fewer.
Android has just a 36% allotment of the book market, but even that makes Google's book accomplishment complete added acknowledged than it absolutely is. A lot of of that bazaar allotment comes from the Kindle Fire, which uses a awful customized adaptation of the Android software -- and links to Amazon's app store, not Google's.

With few users and beneath apps, Google has a chicken-and-egg problem.
Hence the Nexus 7. It's powerful, sleek, well-designed and -- a lot of conspicuously -- it's cheap.

"Learning a assignment from Amazon, Google can see that the abandoned way to exhausted the premium-worthy iPad is to go for the millions of barter who are accessible for abate and cheaper tablets," says James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Google hopes that barter absorbed in by the accouterments will accept Google-powered casework like its magazines app, Google Music, YouTube, and the Google Play agreeable store.

"That ambit of casework will be the abstruse to bond calm this rag-tag agile of Android accessories into a belvedere that can attempt with Apple for account of user's attention, rather than exceptional accessory dollars," McQuivey says.

It's elegant, it's simple to use, and it's easily down the best book in its sub-$200 class.

But that abandoned will not be abundant to barrage Google accomplished Apple, or even Amazon, in the book space


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