For a while, Apple dominated the tablet market. In fact, no one even had a comparable product for Apple to compete with. Now it seems the iPad finally has a worthy opponent in the Google's
Nexus 7. The Nexus sold out online and in retail stores earlier this year, thanks to a landslide of positive reviews, and an affordable $199 price tag. This is less than half of what consumers have to shell out for iPad's base model. A strong early indicator on the demand for the Nexus came in late July when Google announced that shipments of the 16GB model were experiencing up to a two-week delay. Just one week later Google completely stopped taking orders on the 16GB version and the device had also sold out at most retailers, leaving eBay as the only place buyers could potentially locate it for sale.
If we're going to talk numbers though, it's important to note that Apple sold 11.8 million iPads during the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, which is an impressive 151 percent increase over the same period in 2011. This was followed by 17 million iPads sold during the company's third quarter, an 84 percent increase over the same period last year.
The new Nexus 7 tablet is cheaper than the iPad and the reviews claim it is definitely user-friendly, but how does it really measure up? There is a Corning Gorilla Glass front, which is lightweight, ultra-thin and highly damage-resistant. The back is soft plastic and there is a front-facing 1.2-megapixel camera, which is fine for video chatting but not intended for use as a traditional camera. The Nexus has also passed numerous durability tests (drop tests) with minimal damages. Inside, there is a quad-core Tegra 3.1Ghz processor, a 7-inch 1280x800 HD screen and a battery that promises up to 10 hours of surfing the Internet on a single charge. It runs Google's newest version of Android, which is known as both 4.1 and Jelly Bean. This will be familiar to anyone who has used version 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. Regardless, Jelly Bean proves without a doubt that Android works on a tablet.
The smaller size of the Nexus is one of its most popular features, allowing it to weigh in at an incredibly light 12 ounces, compared to the 22-ounce iPad. Apple has been fast to develop a smaller mini version which will likely be announced next month or later this year. Analysts are already referring to the mini as Apple's "ace" and have guesstimated sales to surpass that of the original iPad.
Apple and Google are not the only players in the game -- Apple's mini is clearly aimed for competion at Amazon's product line. Earlier this week, Amazon launched a series of new tablets and an improved Kindle ebook reader. The move is an effort by Amazon to increase market share in the mobile platform market, and to sell more tablets and e-readers on which customers will purchase content through. Amazon is even selling the Fire at a loss just to put it in customers' hands.
Other contenders include Microsoft's Surface tablet, which will come in 64 & 128 GB and run on Windows 8. A Windows 8-based tablet is reported to be in the works for Nokia, but has yet to manifest in the real world. One thing is for certain, there will be more and more tablets and smart gadgets pouring into the market, competing for market share. That alone sheds serious light on the future stability of digital publishing and development.
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