Market Insight

Google and Asus Refresh Nexus 7

July 25, 2013

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Google and Asus have released the second generation of their Nexus 7 tablet. The tablet, will be available to buy in the U.S. from July 30th through the Google Play Store and a number of leading U.S. retailers; it will be launched in the UK in September; other key territories, including Germany, South Korea, Japan, France, Spain, Canada and Australia will receive the new Google Nexus 7 a few weeks after the UK release. The tablet will start from $229 for the 16GB model in the US; the 32GB Wi-Fi model will cost $269 and the 32GB LTE model will set US customers back $349. UK prices are starting to appear, with prices for the 16GB version (Wi-Fi only) coming in at £199, and the 32GB iteration offered for £239. The LTE version offered through O2's 4G plan will be available with 2GB of data for £299.

Google's newest tablet includes Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android; and includes hardware improvements across the board:

  • New stereo speakers and Fraunhofer's surround sound system;
  • As well as an HDMI output for connecting to a big screen TV
  • A 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU providing almost double the processing power of the original
  • RAM is doubled to 2GB over last year's model
  • A slightly thinner and lighter than the previous model shaving off 6 mm and dropping 50 grams
  • A slightly larger screen at 7.02 inches and features 1920x1200 (323ppi) resolution, improved over last year's Nexus 7
  • The battery life improved over its predecessor allowing for an extra hour of battery life-Google claims this translates to nine hours of HD video playback and ten hours of web browsing

In many respects the new Nexus 7 represents more of the same from the Google / Asus partnership. The device continues to be competitively priced device with well-designed hardware that arguably represents the reference design for what an Android tablet should look like this year.

Establishing this sort of benchmark for Android in the tablet market is becoming increasingly important for Google as cheaper devices running its 'free' operating system proliferate (e.g. in the US Walmart is selling Android tablets for less than $50). The cheaper devices present something of a double edged sword for the internet giant: on the one hand cheaper devices are likely to boost adoption increasing Android's tablet installed base which in turn means a bigger pool of potential customers for Google's services. Whilst, on the other hand, less capable, cheaper devices risk sullying the operating system's reputation, and are likely to attract customers who are less valuable to Google's broader ecosystem ambitions as they are both less sought after by advertisers and less likely to buy content.

In the year since its initial launch, Asus shipped 5.5 million units of the original Nexus 7, with early sales constrained by the limited North American launch. IHS expects a much wider launch of the 2 as Google seeks to expand the Nexus brand around the globe, opening the opportunities for Google and its ecosystem. 

Asus Google Inc.
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