The Google Nexus 7 wasn’t much of a surprise when it was unveiled, since we had already caught a glimpse of it in a leaked training manual and then of the official one that leaked just moments before the conference even began. Google has managed to hit the sub-$200 pricing that they set out to achieve as the Nexus 7 will cost you just $199 when it launches, contract free, somewhere in mid-July. But what has Google sacrificed in order to reach this price point? Have they compromised too much on the tablet in order to reach their goals? While we don’t doubt the build quality of the Asus-built tablet, we do feel that a certain lack of features and services will limit its potential in India.
No Google Play for India yet
The Nexus 7 is clearly designed for media consumption and some of the new apps and widgets built into the device are designed to take advantage of the new additions to the Play store, like magazines, and TV shows. The problem is that other than the app store, we don’t have access to any of that content here in India, which means we have to physically save that content on our device if we need to access it on the move. That’s the same problem we face with Apple’s iCloud as well. The problem with the Nexus 7 is that the onboard storage maxes out at 16GB, which may not be enough for those who have the habit of filling their tablets with their music, TV shows and movies. This brings us to our second issue and that’s expandable storage.
Is it enough to take on the budget tablet segment?
No microSD card slot
Continuing the tradition of recent Nexus devices, the Nexus7 will not have a microSD card slot. As shocking as it may be, Google has decided not to include this feature for whatever reason. We highly doubt a simple expansion slot would contribute much towards the final cost of the device, so why did Google leave it out? They talked about how the Nexus 7 can handle complex 3D games by showing off Horn and Dead Trigger. The games looked incredible, they will occupy a lot of space and if you have a couple of these games, that's a couple of gigs of storage gone right there. Plus, you won’t be able to use the full 8GB of storage, since Jelly Bean will take up some space. Without memory expansion, you’ll have to think twice about what content you’re storing on your tablet.
Absence of 3G
The first batch of Nexus 7 tablets will not have 3G and quite frankly, we aren’t entirely sure when we’ll get to see a 3G version of the Nexus 7, if ever. This means you’ll have to be connected to a Wi-Fi hot-spot in order use the Internet, which in India is not the easiest to find. Your other option would be to tether your phone to the tablet, which is not exactly a solution but a work around. You get plenty of budget Android tablets that cost lesser or the same and support 3G. For someone who wants 3G connectivity on the go, these tablets will still offer better value as compared to the Nexus 7.
Will it ever come to India?
This is not a major issue, but the inclusion of an HDMI-out or even MHL support would have been a handy addition. Not everyone can afford a DLNA compatible HDTV, but all LCD TVs today have at least one HDMI port, so including a microHDMI connector would have helped average users to easily connect the tablet to the TV for either watching movies or viewing photos.
No rear camera
The decision to exclude the rear camera could be related to keeping the pricing down, but again, it’s something that will be missed on a tablet as small as the Nexus 7. While it is a bit awkward to go about snapping pictures from a larger 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet is still manageable. There is a front facing camera for video calls, but a second one in the back would have been nice to have. This probably would have hiked the cost a bit, but not by much.
A rear camera would have been a nice addition
Whether Google says it or not, the Nexus 7 was designed to be used with their Play store, so users had a great experience when consuming movies, music, TV shows and now magazines as well. This isn’t just another Android tablet; it was designed with a specific purpose in mind, similar to Kindle’s Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Nook Colour. Since the most important feature, the Play store, isn’t fully available in India you won’t be able to use it to its full potential. Sure you can use it as any other tablet without all the cloud features, but then you’re limited by functionality, as well like the inability to expand the storage or 3G SIM support, something which cheaper budget tablets running ICS offer. The Nexus 7 may be a great tablet for consuming media, but limitations stated above could throttle its sales in India, provided it officially gets here.