Monday, September 3, 2012

Tablet computers: Nexus vs Fire vs iPad

If you've used Google search lately, you've probably seen the advertisement for their new Nexus 7 tablet computer (pictured above).  I don't remember there being a Nexus 1 through 6, but the point is that the already competitive tablet market just got tougher.
Amazon has their Fire, Apple the iPad, and now Google enters the arena.  There are also several other tablets, usually running some version of the Android operating system.  With the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung, I don't know what will happen with the Samsung tablets.
You Look Familiar
One appeal of the Google tablet is familiarity.  If you're like me, you already use Google products--I use Blogger, Gmail and Google docs--so the transition should be easy.  Which brings up a side issue:  How come Windows-based tablets aren't more popular when so many people use Windows?
Show Me the Numbers
So how do we compare these three tablets? Their specifications list all sorts of factors, but I narrowed it down to memory, battery life and price.  Although it's hard to make straight apples to apples comparisons since they use different chips and different measurements.
Memory:  The Nexus has 1 GB RAM, and two levels of storage, either 8 GB or 16 GB.  The Fire has an unspecified dual core processor with 8 GB of storage, and new iPad (iPad 3?) has 16 GB storage and an A5x processor.
Battery Life:  You can compare battery life in several ways, but I tried to find the times for web browsing.  Nexus will do 10 hours, as will the iPad, with the Fire listed at 8 hours.
Price:  The 8 GB Nexus is $199 USD, and the 16 GB is $249.  The Fire is also $199, whereas the iPad is listed at $499.
The Magic 8 Ball says:
What tablet you buy should depend on what tasks or entertainment you plan to use it for, but familiarity will also be a consideration.
While I'm tempted to say price will be the strongest component in the marketplace, Apple has repeatedly proven that the Apple 'cool factor' outweighs pure functionality for many consumers.  And Apple has a big head start in terms of an established customer base. 
So the question may not be if the Fire and Nexus can beat the iPad, but rather how much of a niche can they carve from the iPad's market?
(The specs for each tablet:  Amazon's Kindle Fire, Apple's iPad, and Google's Nexus 7.  The pic of the Nexus 7 is from Google.)

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