We are at that time of the year again when the iPad’s latest avatar is about to be unveiled and the entire tech world is rife with rumors ranging from whether it will have a Retina Display and LTE to whether it will have the quad core A6 processor or something else entirely. And why shouldn’t people be excited about the iPad 3’s release? After all it was the original iPad's release that created a market for tablets and since then the iPad has ruled the roost when it comes to this segment of mobile computing devices.
But in 2011 when HP decided to clear its stock of the Touchpad by offering it on sale for $99, the entire inventory of tablets was lapped up in a matter of hours. The launch of the no frills Kindle Fire as a cheap multimedia consumption device for $199 showed that there was indeed a market for these low cost devices that served their core purpose. The sale of these devices has brought about a change in the market with every major seller beginning to offer a midsize tablet under $200. Those like Barnes and Noble took up this challenge and began offering their tablets for $199 backed by their online content stores. Whereas those like BlackBerry resorted to fire sales for their PlayBooks to ensure the presence of their devices in the hands of the consumers.
Google with its Android operating system now currently rules the smartphone arena. It has been the tablet market that has remained elusive to Android. Though the bestselling tablet after iPad has been the Android-based Kindle Fire, it is not really Android in the real sense because it does not offer access to all Google’s services and restrict’s content to Amazon. Thus the sale of Kindle Fire doesn’t do Google any good. So the tablets which are Android in the real sense like ones from Samsung or Asus are usually a hit and miss and haven't really tasted the success like that of the iPad or the Kindle Fire.
The right time for a Nexus branded tablet (Mock up)
Now this is a perfectly good opportunity for Google to release its own Nexus branded tablet offering consumers a pure Android experience that they have come to love with the Nexus range of handsets. Google, like Apple has an ecosystem in place and with the recent buyout of Motorola; it has the best hardware prowess available to make this device a reality. This would solve the Android tablets’ biggest peeve, the lack of timely software updates. Google has a perfect chance to give users the best of both worlds by making a hardware that sets the industry standard and being a Nexus branded device it would not be bound by the bloatware and custom skins loaded by OEMS on their devices. It would be Google’s vision of how a tablet should be.
But the best reason for making this mythical Nexus is yet to be told.
Google, unlike Apple, doesn’t believe in a 'one size fits all' policy. Thus we have Android-powered devices in a variety of form factor and sizes. Google could launch “flavours” (versions) of this device, by offering one high end device to directly tackle the iPad and a sub $200 7-inch device to take on the likes of Kindle Fire. This lower end device could be pushed merely for content consumption and could further be marketed as a student’s device - a stark alternative to buying a $500 iPad for educational purposes. Education is a market that is too big to be ignored by Google and with these devices Google could offer a cheaper and more “open” educational experience that would be more appropriate for the price conscious student domain, thus capturing the required market and locking the consumers into the Android ecosystem.
In the grand scheme of things I really hope Google bucks up the competition and releases these mythical Nexus tablets. Till it does the consumers are happily ignoring the rest of Android's tablet offerings.
You can connect with Gurpreet Bedi on Twitter @grprtbedi