In releasing its first company-branded Nexus 7 this week, Google is deepening its reputation as both a hardware and software provider, staking out a place in the growing tablet market. But Google's content-centric, 7-inch device built by Asus is not much of a threat to Apple's market-dominating iPad, instead focusing on Amazon's Kindle Fire.
The Fire, Down Below?
The evenly priced, Android -powered devices -- $200 each ($250 for the 16-gigabyte Nexus) -- have similar specs in terms of display size, thickness and weight, but the Nexus 7 has an edge in processor speed (1.3 gigahertz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core vs. 1-GHz dual core) and RAM, 1 gigabyte vs. 512 megabytes. The Nexus 7, which is due in July, has a 1.3-megapixel camera, where the Fire has none. The Fire also is only available with 8 GB of storage .
The Nexus 7's display resolution is slightly better: 1280x800 pixels, compared with 1024x600. Best of all, the Nexus is the very first device to ship with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the latest operating system, while the Fire runs a customized version of Android 2.3. The Nexus 7 packs Google's latest version of the Chrome browser while Kindle has its own Silk browser.
"The Nexus 7 is clearly aimed at Amazon's Kindle Fire," said analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis. "Google called it a tablet designed for Google PLAY content and gave it a home screen that defaults to My Library -- you can't get clearer positioning than that!"
After his hands-on look at the Nexus 7, Greengart said he "came away impressed with the hardware and with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but comparing it to the Kindle Fire is premature as Amazon is expected to launch a second generation Fire before the holidays."
He noted that Amazon also has an important advantage in merchandising the tablet -- it's the top online retailer, while Google has struggled with online sales -- and Kindle is a more established brand.
"Amazon also has the $79 Amazon Prime program, which includes free 2-day shipping for physical goods and plenty of free-streaming content for the Kindle Prime that Google cannot match," said Greengart. "But Google is clearly tired of Amazon staking out the largest position in Android tablets without actually using any of Google's services, and it has decided to see if it can 'PLAY' in that market as well."
Bottom line: "If Google advertises it heavily and gets good retail distribution it could be disruptive [to Kindle].
The Kindle Fire was immediately the second-most popular tablet behind the iPad after its introduction during the holidays last year, with 16.8 percent of the market and 4.8 million sold in the last quarter of 2011.
But the Fire slumped significantly this year, falling to third place behind Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 with just 4 percent of the market in the first quarter. The iPad, meanwhile, is estimated by IDC Research to command 68 percent of the market and sold 11.8 million units as it rolled out a newer model and Apple offered the previous version at a discounted price in the quarter.
Posted: 2012-07-01 @ 12:45am PT
We love our Kindle Fire, but as many people have said it has some draw backs when compared to the iPad, especially on size and power. But we are impressed with the new specs of the new Kindle Fire 2 with the 10 inch screen. Some of the new specs are at kindlemad.com and I think they will be opening up pre-orders soon.