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How Google Nexus 7 stands up against iPad, Microsoft Surface

Thursday, June 28, 2012


New Delhi: Google turned up the heat in the vibrant tablet market by a few notches by taking the lid off its Nexus 7 tablet. Built by Asus, the competitively priced Nexus 7 runs Jelly Bean 4.1, and seems aimed at taking the Redmond-based tech giant's 'Android vs iOS' strategy as far as taking on Apple iPad a step further.

Similarly, Microsoft last week threw in its hat in the tablet market with Surface, its first tablet PC device with both the software and the hardware being distinctly Microsoft creations. Released in two versions, the Surface's performance and reception will most likely decide whether the company sinks or swims in the Apple iPad-dominated world of tablets.

Clearly the decision to not leave hardware design and development to OEMs, like it has done so far, suggests the company is loathe to taking risks when matters boil down to this crucial device. With Surface, Microsoft seems intent on making sure its grand entry does not fall flat on its face due to ordinary, uninspiring hardware.

That said, how do these latest launches hold up against existing players such as the iPad, the Kindle, the Kindle Fire or the Nook? While a final word on the relative merits and drawbacks of the devices will emerge only after the products reach a significant number of end-users post commercial launch, here's an initial lowdown on what you can expect to impress you and which aspects might leave you a trifle disappointed.

Price: At a price tag of $199-$249, Google seems to have played the price game just about right. The lower end of the range is low enough for it to win over a sizable part of potential Kindle Fire buyers.

Also, with buyers eager to lap up Apple iPads despite their colossal $499-$829 price range, the company has been comfortably perched at the top of the tablet market. But if Nexus 7 manages to deliver reasonably well on crucial fronts such as performance, display and app support, it should be enough for the Cupertino behemoth to relook at its pricing strategy.

As usual, Microsoft chooses to be tight-lipped about the Surface's price.

Memory: The 8-16GB memory of a Google Nexus 7 might look tiny next to the 16-64GB offered by Apple iPad, or the enormous 32-128GB that a Microsoft Surface comes with, but tie that up with the Google's Cloud Storage space and it seems users will end up having little to complain about.

Size/weight: At 340 grams, the Google Nexus 7 appears delightfully light and easy-to-carry, but its 7 inch screen might leave some users disappointed. At the other end of the weight spectrum is Microsoft's Surface that weighs as much as one and a half pounds (675 grams), but also packs a bigger 10.6" display.

Operating System: With Google launching the latest upgrade to its Android OS, Jelly Bean 4.1, both Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire users can expect smoother and faster OS experience, and better support for a wider variety of new apps.

Connectivity: With iPad supporting Wi-fi, 3G and 4G connectivity, the Apple device appears to score over its competitors such as Surface, Kindle and Nexus 7. The iPad, however, loses some edge when its claim to be 4G enabled is seen against the backdrop of the embarrassing legal mess its maker has found itself in Australia. Apple was found guilty of misleading consumers by selling the device that cannot connect with the 4G mobile network in the country.
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