Nexus 7 aims its sights at Kindle Fire
Apple can breathe easy -- Google's new Nexus tablet poses little competition for the iPad. At least that's the opinion of Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White.
Most of the specs for the Nexus 7 are impressive -- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a 1280x800 pixel resolution, Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a nine-hour battery, a micro-USB port, GPS, a gyroscope, and support for NFC and Android Beam. The tablet is also price friendly, selling at $199 for the 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB model.
But White thinks the iPad will continue to reign as king of the tablets. The 1280x800 pixel resolution doesn't match the 2048x1536 pixel Retina Display found on the new iPad. The Nexus 7 is available only in a Wi-Fi version, while the new iPad supports both 3G and 4G.
The analyst also believes Apple could release an iPad mini in September priced at $250 to $300, opening up a new front for the company in the 7-inch tablet market.
And then there's the famed Apple ecosystem. The App Store offers more than 650,000 mobile apps and 225,000 alone that are native to the iPad. Google is closing in with 600,000 apps in total but only a small number optimized for tablets. Apple holds around 400 million accounts through the App Store and 125 million registered users for iCloud.
"We believe the combination of Apple's expanding digital grid, innovative design, unmatched aesthetics, leading App availability, intuitive user interface and expanding technology innovations will continue to keep the company on top of the tablet market for many years to come," White wrote in an investors note released yesterday.
Instead, the analyst sees the Nexus 7 as more of a rival to Amazon's Kindle Fire.
White tends to be bullish on Apple, even projecting a 12-month target price for the stock of $1,111 a share. But I echo his analysis on this one.
The Nexus tablet will certain make a big splash in the tablet arena. Its specs and price will appeal to buyers who crave a beefy yet budget-friendly tablet. But the real competition is not with the iPad, but with all the other 7-inch Android tablets on the market, and not just the Kindle Fire.
Prior to the initial reports about the Google tablet, I had been eyeing a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. The Tab 2 has garnered good reviews and is priced competitively at $249. But the Nexus 7 beats the Tab 2 in several ways. Other 7-inch Android tablets, such as the Acer Iconia Tab A100, the Toshiba Thrive, and the Lenovo IdeaPad also now seem lacking in comparison to the Nexus 7, especially since they're running older versions of Android.
Google holds another key advantage. Other Android tablet vendors are slow in pushing out updates and new versions of the operating system. But Google can roll out the latest updates directly to users. That's a major plus, especially since the Nexus 7 is already starting off with the latest version of Android.
Tune in to CNET's live blog from the Google I/O day 2 keynote starting Thursday at 9:30 a.m. PT.