Google I/O is nearly upon us, and all signs point to Google revealing a tablet later today. The device leaked and then over the last few hours several high-level sources confirmed the device’s existence. It’s likely a low-end, 7-inch tablet powered by Google’s latest mobile operating system, Jelly Bean.
Try as they might, Google has yet to deliver an answer to the iPad. Most Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich tablets were flops, and it’s devices like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet that have managed to make an impact though they hide their Android underpinnings beneath custom user interfaces. Apple is dominating in the tablet wars and with Microsoft officially throwing down with the high-priced Surface, the Google Nexus Tablet must be a success.
The Google Nexus Tablet needs a halo spec. It needs something out of the norm to champion its cause. It needs a killer display.
Apple raised the bar with the new iPad and its retina display. It’s unlikely that Google will use a super-high resolution display in the Nexus Tablet, but it needs a display better than something like the Kindle Fire. The Nexus Tablet’s display just has to be the best at its low price point, and that shouldn’t be that hard. Early leaks place a 1280 x 800 IPS display inside the Nexus Tablet — that’s significantly better than the 1024 x 600 Fire’s screen.
Amazon launched the Kindle Fire right. Hopefully Google was paying attention. The Fire looks different and has several features exclusive to the device.
The Kindle Fire received a lot of traction at launch thanks to its Silk Browser. This browser promised faster web load times by routing the traffic through an Amazon server which compressed the data and delivered it to the tablet. Never mind that the Silk Browser doesn’t work that well, the feature sounded awesome at launch and gave Amazon a lot to brag about. Google needs something to brag about.
Google content services suck. Rather than using Google Books and Play Movies, Google would be smart to utilize successful 3rd party apps to serve up the content. This crazy theory would put Amazon and Netflix as the main providers of books, movies, and music. In a sense this would kill the so-called pure Android experience usually associated with Nexus devices, but it would also make the device a lot more tempting to the average consumer. This move might also steal some Kindle Fire owners board with their devices but not willing to buy a more expensive device.
If the rumors hold true, the Google Nexus Tablet has a relatively small amount of onboard storage. But that’s fine for most people — as long as they can stick a microSD card into the thing.
The iPad’s lack of removable storage is still a sour spot among even its most fervent supporters. A simply memory card slot increases the amount of use cases while making it easier for owners to add and remove items from the device. For better or worse, Apple tends to route data to an iDevice through iTunes. But Google wisely doesn’t rely on desktop software for its devices.
All the rumors state that the Google Nexus Tablet will likely be priced competitively with the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. Expect a price tag between $199 and $249.
The correct price will make or break the Nexus Tablet. Samsung, Motorola, and all the rest have yet to break the iPad’s hold on the $500 price point. Google would not be successful either at that level either, but the Kindle Fire has lost a good amount of its hype lately. Google might be able to sneak in and grab the number two spot from Amazon — the right price is crucial.
The Google Nexus Tablet needs to launch sooner rather than later. Microsoft made a potentially grave mistake announcing the Surface tablet months prior to its release.
That said, Google has a history of sending I/O attendees home with its latest devices. Over the past few years Google handed developers smartphones, tablets, and hotspots. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that Google hid a few Nexus Tablets under the seats this year.