Google Talks Nexus Strategy Amid Nexus 4, Nexus 10 Launch
November 5, 2012 10:43 AM
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Google changes gears with branded products
Google Inc. (
over the smartphone market in
, even as it has
struggled with profitability
intellectual property concerns
But the taste of success in the mobile space has left Google hungry. Amid mostly
weak tablet efforts by OEMs
, Google has opted for a bold strategy that is
to Microsoft Corp.'s (
-- offering a compelling array of branded options, while continuing to offer OEMs opportunity to produce their own branded product by offering licensing opportunities.
the Nexus family grew
into a product trio -- a phone (4-inches), a mid-size tablet (7-inches), and a full-size tablet (10-inches).
I. The Product
Here's a quick recap of the changes/new stuff:
OEM partner: LG Electronics (
4.7-inch True HD IPS PLUS (1280x768 pixels)
1.5 GHz quad-core SnapDragon 4 by Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM)
: Adreno 320
8/16 GB (
8MP, AF, LED flash (rear); 1.3MP (front):
: HSPA+ (no LTE), 802.11 b/g/n
NFC, wireless charging, BlueTooth 4.0
Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean v2)
OEM partner: ASUSTek Computer Inc. (
7-inch Asus TruVivid (1280x800 pixels)
1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 by NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA)
: 416 MHz 12-core GeForce ULP (NVIDIA)
1 GB DDR3L
16 GB ($199) or 32 GB ($249) (
: HSPA+ (no LTE) for +$50, 802.11 b/g/n, BlueTooth 3.0
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean v1), upgrade to 4.2 this month
OEM partner: Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
10.1-inch PLS-backlit display (2560x1600 pixels)
1.7 GHz dual-core Cortex-A15
: Mali T-604 (ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM)
2 GB LPDDR3
16 GB ($399) or 32 GB ($499) (
5MP, AF, flash (rear)/1.9MP (front):
: 802.11 b/g/n, BlueTooth 3.0
Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean v2)
II. The Strategy
One week later, Google's John Lagerling, director of business development for Android, participated in a
special Q&A session
The New York Times
discussing the motivation for the expanded Nexus push.
He emphasizes the need for Android to get more aggressive in tablet pricing, calling the Nexus 7/10 price points "pretty revolutionary." Pricing was a key driver of Android smartphone adoption, and higher prices on Android tablets have been a key adoption deterrent, so this makes sense.
John Lagerling, Android business director [Image Source: Pocket]
He comments, "We did really well with the Nexus 7, I feel, because nobody really pushed the envelope with seven-inch in terms of price and performance. It really proved that category. We felt the 10-inch category was overpriced and underpowered, and we wanted to see what we could do for that from our perspective."
When it comes to subsidiary Motorola, he somewhat contradicts the
past commentary of
who said the acquisition wasn't just about patents, by commenting, "The way I understand it is, it’s mostly about the patents."
Asked about why Motorola was not included in this round of the Nexus lineup, he says that they have the chance to bid on each product just like the other Android partners without a featured product. When it comes to choosing OEMs he says the variety is "not so much fairness as it is to sort of work with partners who happen to be in good “phase match” with us in what we’re trying to do."
After a frustrating stall in the tablet market, Google, much like Microsoft, is finally seeing fresh life. Not content to take a second-seat
, Inc. (
, Inc. (
), Google is finally offering hot products at alluring prices.
Mr. Lagerling summarizes, "I'll admit we’re finally much more closer to our actual vision in the past year than we have ever been."
One key issue not touched upon in the discussion is a glaring weakness of the Android market when it comes to super-HD tablets like the Nexus 10 -- a
lack of super-HD-resolution apps
(Apple's own selection of "Retina" iPad apps, while far from the lower resolution selection, is industry leading). Apps, of course, follow a
Field of Dreams
"if you build it, they will come" sort of trend, but for early adopters a smaller catalog may create headaches for Nexus 10 owners.
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RE: Great summation
11/6/2012 3:56:20 PM
This one app developer's experience is this... So here is a verdict.
Pick any mobile developer who does cross-platform development and they'll tell you the exact same thing. I can pull experiences from over a dozen, and wide polls and sales figures will back it up just the same.
And yes, app development is important to me, this is why I use Windows and OS X and not desktop Linux.
Do people who buy Android tablets just surf the web and are content with halfass ports? Perhaps they should stop using Widnows and switch to Debian. They clearly don't need apps, a web browser should be enough for them.
apps are important.
I can't believe this is even a point of discussion.
RE: Great summation
11/6/2012 5:32:41 PM
Of course they are important. We have had this discussion before.
We arent talking aboout apps vs no apps. We are talking about whatever 800,00k apps on IOS vs 700,000 apps on Android. There are apps that do everything on both and do it all quite well. The difference isnt all that big. Its not that apps arent importaant, its that the SMALL difference in apps isnt as important as better features, better screens and more versatility. Get it?
RE: Great summation
11/6/2012 7:01:03 PM
The difference isn't apps versus no apps, it is about having the best versions of apps as well as apps better optimized towards the form factor (phone or tablet).
I never said it was all or nothing, its all about which one is better.
If getting the second or third best version of an app on the #2 development platform is a good trade for an SD card slot (forget about missing apps), then great. I've been on both sides and I know what I'd be giving up in terms of quality, support, and flexibility by going from the iPad to an Android tablet. Throw in the iPad's faster hardware and it is a really simple choice at the moment.
If Google encouraged developers to target tablets and made it easier for them to make a profit then there wouldn't even be a discussion because the Nexus 10 would have a comparable app market, but it doesn't.
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