Print 49 comment(s) - last by Solandri.. on Jul 25 at 2:33 AM

At cost tablet is so popular ASUSTek is upping production

While the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) saw some modest international sales success, no Android tablet to date has truly challenged market dominator Apple, Inc. (AAPL), unless you count, Inc.'s (AMZN) quasi-Android Kindle Fire.

Google Inc.'s (GOOG) new Nexus 7 tablet runs the main-line Android release -- specifically Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" -- unlike the Kindle Fire, which runs Amazon's own special fork of Android.  But the tablets do share a common price -- $199 USD for the 8 GB Nexus 7.

Now they share something else -- the Nexus 7 appears to be the first pure-Android tablet to be a market-moving hit.

Google reports that despite demand for the 8 GB variant being soft, it is seeing wild demand for the 16 GB version that retails for a modest $249 USD.    The tablets are reportedly sold at cost, which may be part of their strong appeal.

The sales success of the higher-storage variant is unusual, given that competitors like Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) have typically seen their highest sales with the cheaper lower-storage models.  In fact, the success took Google by surprise and the company has now been forced to put sales of the popular 16 GB model on hiatus, as it struggles to catch up with a back-log of orders in the U.S. and UK.

Nexus 7

The company now lists the 16 GB model as "coming soon", offering hopeful buyers the chance to sign up for an email alert when more stock becomes available.

Announced June 27, the tablet's hardware is produced by Taiwanese computer maker ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357).  The tablet packs a Tegra 3 quad-core CPU from NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA).  It is primarily available through the Google Play store, but was also picked up by several major U.S. and UK retailers late last month.

The tablet has reportedly sold out at many of its U.S. partners' stores.  ASUSTek is upping production, but it may be weeks before customers can get their hands on the hot tablet.

The success of the 7-inch Kindle Fire, and now the Nexus 7 have reportedly alarmed Apple who is reportedly feeling pressure to release a "mini-iPad" early than planned.

Before his death CEO Steven Jobs vetoed such a design, insisting it would be a market failure.  In one of his numerous rants in his waning years, he commented:

The reason we wouldn't make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit a price point, it's because we don't think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen.  The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.  [Increasing screen resolution on small devices is] meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size.

Well the success of its rivals reportedly has Apple prepared to tell its legion of loyal followers to get the sandpaper out and ready their fingers for a mini-iPad.

Sources: Google Play, The Guardian

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fatal flaw
By Nortel on 7/23/2012 3:43:19 PM , Rating: 1
Other then the price break a 7 inch tablet would bring (~$350?) what usecase does this form factor appeal to? I can't really think of a reason for using a smaller tablet. A 3.5 - 4 inch phone/ipod touch fits in a pocket and 10 to 15 inch ipad/laptop fits in a bag. Are there really that many people who have precisely budgeted for a device that lies between the iPod touch and the iPad? Heck, the old iPad is still available for $419.

RE: fatal flaw
By Topweasel on 7/23/2012 4:36:05 PM , Rating: 5
Long term use. Having both a Nook Color and TF101 I basically bring both of them around where ever I go.

A 10" tablet isn't a comfortable reading device. It's heavy and awkward to hold onto for hours at a time. Great for playing a quick game, or for putting it in a stand to watch a movie. Certainly scrolling through some pictures, or browsing the web are great to.

A 7" tablet is easier to carry around. Easier to read for longer periods of time. Better to hold onto when laying on your side. Problem is the only real good and affordable ones have weak specs and highly modified OS's.

Enter my new N7. Now I get the flexibility of my TF101 combined with the reading abilities of the Color. All in one tablet, while losing a bit in web or video room. But JB runs so smoothly and Chrome works so well, there is almost no reason to pull my TF101 back out.

RE: fatal flaw
By Solandri on 7/25/2012 2:33:38 AM , Rating: 2
Correct. C'mon folks, tablets may be new, but the form factor isn't. A 7" tablet is just about the size of a paperback book - a very successful form factor for carrying around. As technology improves and the bezel shrinks, it'll be even closer to paperback book sized.

10" tablets are about the size of a small magazine (e.g. National Geographic). Which is why I think the market will eventually settle on 12-13" tablets - same size as a regular magazine or A4/letter-sized sheet of paper minus the margins. IMHO, the 9.7" iPad is the tweener. It's not as portable as a 7", not big enough to display a regular magazine or paper page at the same size as their physical counterparts.

RE: fatal flaw
By SPOOFE on 7/23/2012 5:59:27 PM , Rating: 3
10 to 15 inch ipad/laptop fits in a bag.

But a 7" tablet doesn't fit in a bag? I'm confused. What weird non-euclidian bags are you using? I want one.

RE: fatal flaw
By BladeVenom on 7/23/2012 7:12:38 PM , Rating: 3
Cthulhuian geometry FTW!

RE: fatal flaw
By probedb on 7/24/2012 6:02:40 AM , Rating: 2
There are lots of people that aren't you.

Some of us want a 7" tablet.

I don't really have anything else to say.

RE: fatal flaw
By bupkus on 7/24/2012 6:26:05 AM , Rating: 3
I are stymied.
I don't know about you but the 7" size fits perfectly inside my athletic cup. ;==)

Later that evening in the Bupkus household:

Wifey: "Honey, lets go or we'll be late."

Me: "Coming love cakes... just bringing my new tablet."

Wifey: <Rolls eyes>

RE: fatal flaw
By nafhan on 7/24/2012 3:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
I would say your arguments apply to the pretty well to the tablet market segment as a whole, but then kind of goes off the rails when you claim that 7 inch tablets are stupid while 10 inch tabs are perfect.

As far as the budgeting goes... just a guess, but I'd say there are a number of people who will save $100 because spending $100 more will not get them anything they want or need.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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