Since the Google I/O developer conference was announced, there has been no shortage of buzz surrounding the company’s 7-inch tablet, rumored to be the main attraction at the event. From what we know so far, the new tablet device is likely to be powered by Android 4.1, also known as “Jelly Bean,” and will reportedly be offered for as low as $199. If true, this makes the Android tablet not just an affordable, first-tier alternative to the likes of Apple’s iPad or Microsoft’s Surface, but a credible challenger to similarly priced tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
With Asus helming the manufacturing, Google’s new tablet, which will likely be branded as “Nexus 7,” will feature a 1280×800 IPS display with a viewing angle of 178 degrees and include NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a storage capacity of either 8GB or 16GB. Both storage versions possess the same array of features, and are expected to be priced at $199 and $249, respectively. The convenient size and reasonable pricing make Google’s 7-inch tablet both a promising new product to look out for and the ideal tablet choice for those seeking a highly portable computing device.
While likely to generate a stir upon release, Google’s 7-inch tablet device, gimmicky as it may seem, is far from the first of its kind. “Mini” tablets, with their trademark light weight, long battery life, and portable size, have long maintained a comfortable position in the market while continuing to attract respectable amounts of investments from year to year. In China, for example, local companies have produced countless affordably priced, handheld tablet computers ranging from 7 to 9 inches in size. A 7-inch tablet device can be purchased for as little as $100 in China, making it a highly popular choice for households wanting a second computer. The quality of the tablet, however, will likely vary depending on where it falls within the $100 to $200 spectrum.
As Google’s 7-inch tablet is set to make its debut in the market, local companies in China have reacted by cutting the prices of existing Android tablets and offering upgrades to any systems with versions 2.3 or above. The 7-inch tablets that already run on Android 4.0, on the other hand, are not expected to undergo as many changes, as they are believed to be sufficiently capable of holding their own against Google’s tablet devices.
Regarding the tablets that currently use 5-point capacitive touch screens instead of 10-point ones and stick to FFS (Fringe Field Switching) technology as opposed to the more expensive IPS (In Plane Switching) technology, prices are expected to fall to somewhere around $149.
With such a myriad of developments, the market for 7-inch tablet devices is sure to look a lot more impressive and competitive in the second half of 2012 than ever before.