It's sleek. It's functional. It's running the newest unadulterated version of Android. And it's priced to sell. The Google Nexus 7 tablet could have all the ingredients it takes to make a great consumer device. That doesn't necessarily mean it will take off in the mass market. Will the Nexus 7 challenge the iPad's supremacy and dethrone the Kindle Fire as the top Android tablet? That's the question for this week’s ReadWriteMobile poll.
The Nexus 7 will start shipping in mid-July, priced at $199 for the 8GB version, $249 for the 16GB version. That will make the Nexus 7 the most functional tablet at the lowest price. It will be available through the Google Play store at first, but it's likely to reach retailers not long afterward.
Android tablets (aside from the Kindle Fire) have not sold particularly well over the past year and a half. Neither have Google Nexus devices, the flagships for every new version of Android. This is the first Nexus tablet, so historical sales of smartphone Nexus devices aren't a good predictor of Nexus 7 sales. Nor, really, are sales of other Android tablets. The Kindle Fire has an Android kernel, but it's not a true Android tablet with access to Google services like location, or apps (Gmail, Maps, etc.).
Truly, the Nexus 7 stands alone.
Google executives told reporters at its Google I/O developers' conference this week that they do not expect the Nexus 7 to outsell other tablets. That's one way to temper expectations, but the Nexus 7 has potential to be a blockbuster and, secretly, Google must hope that it will become one. The Google tablet holds its own against the Samsung Galaxy Tab line, anything from HTC or Motorola, the BlackBerry PlayBook and even the newly announced Microsoft Surface.
The Nexus line is meant to guide Google’s Android manufacturing partners. These are the model devices, the foundation for others to build upon. Google has heavily integrated the content from its Play store (apps, movies, TV, books, music) into the user interface of the Nexus 7. That is a very telling sign from a device intended as a guideline. Google is hoping that other Android tablet manufacturers will take its lead in terms of design and functionality (and price), and heavily integrate Google Play content into future tablets running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
In the past, Nexus devices have been targeted at the mobile geek culture. Can this Nexus device, the first tablet of its name, get over that hump and into the hands of the general public? Take the poll and let us know your thoughts in the comments.