The Google Nexus 7 Tablet and the All-Out Mini-Tab War

Google’s I/O event is scheduled to get underway in San Francisco later today, though the two key focal points of the conference has already been deemed common knowledge by most.

For the vast majority of the past year and indeed quite some time before, rumors have been flying around from all angles of Google’s intention to produce its very first pure-Google tablet to compete with third parties and of course the iPad. However, such rumors have never come to fruition and the project seems to have been put on hold several times for unexplained reasons, though it is impossible not to feel that this time around, we really are just hours away from something incredible.

The fact that Google has chosen this particular time to debut the fabled Google Nexus Tablet comes as little to no surprise, as from a strictly sales or marketing point of view they really have hit the nail right on the head. Despite the fact that the affordable tablet marketplace has been blown wide-open, none have yet managed to deliver a true powerhouse in terms of both consumer reverence and hard sales.

The Google Nexus 7 Tablet and the All-Out Mini-Tab War

However, Google is not the only leading manufacturer looking to take its own weighty piece of an increasingly lucrative pie, which in turn has set the stage for a mini-tablet war of biblical proportions.

As of now, we can expect the coming months to bring about an incredibly exciting three-horse race involving the following contenders:

Google Nexus 7 Tablet / Asus Nexus 7

No matter what you choose to call it, the Google Nexus Tablet deserves to come first in our list as there is every chance it will be showcased before our eyes in a matter of hours. The culmination of months, perhaps even years of speculation and wild guesswork certainly has a lot to live up, though the latest set of leaks suggest that it will indeed be up to the job.

With regard to hard-specs, it has been accepted by most that the Google Nexus Tablet will sport a 7-inch screen, backed by a quad-core Nvidia Tagra 3 processor, up to 1GB of RAM and as-yet unknown storage options. Perhaps even more exciting is the way in which the Nexus Tablet is expected to exclusively carry Google’s new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS – the company’s first attempt at tablet-specific software.

The Google Nexus Tablet has perhaps the very best chance of any so far at dethroning the iPad, or at least poaching several millions sales from Apple’s market leader. The reason for this is the plain and simple fact that should all of the above be offered for the expected sub-$200 price tag, there will be nothing on the market that comes close in terms of value for money. The $500 new iPad is certainly no casual impulse purchase – a $200 Android 4.1 tab on the other hand seems something too good to miss out on.

Android’s primary downfall in the tablet market has always been OS fragmentation, therefore should the Nexus Tablet prove to be real and indeed deliver the goods OS-wise, Google’s future in the min-tab business could be blindingly bright.

Amazon Kindle Fire 2

Whispers of the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 have this week turned into screams, as rumor has it that the launch date for the second of our contenders has already been penciled in by Amazon. If true, the follow-up to last year’s incredibly successful Kindle Fire will be on the shelves before the end of July, or on the 31st if looking for more accuracy.

So, how is the Kindle Fire 2 likely to hold up against the competition?

The biggest advantage the Kindle Fire 2 will have over its rivals is the extensive customers-base which last year tried out the original Kindle Fire and has since been waiting with bated breath for its bigger brother to arrive. Those with exiting Amazon content accounts will likely be unable to resist the next-generation version of the Kindle Fire, which is expected to deliver everything is predecessor offered on a whole new level.

Spec-wise, few concrete details are known about the Kindle Fire 2’s inner-goodies, though hardware is expected to be vastly upgraded, while the tablets 7-inch screen size and $199 price-tag will most likely remain unchanged

The Kindle Fire 2 is also expected to be flanked by two bigger brothers heading our way over the course of the coming month, while the original Kindle Fire may go through another period of enormous demand following a price-cut to $150 or less.

iPad Mini

Last but by no means least and perhaps the most promising contender of all, the iPad Mini from Apple remains as elusive today as it was before the tablet PC market was even invented.

Analysts, market experts and consumers alike have long concluded that it is not a case of if Apple will launch an iPad Mini, but rather a case of when. The idea itself had been floating around for some time, though the incredible impact of the Amazon Kindle Fire last year demonstrated just how enormous the demand for smaller, more affordable tablets really is.

In fact, Amazon’s example resulting in a flurry of new low-end tablets hitting the market, though none even came close to offering the same experience as the iPad or its key Android rivals.

Rumor has it that Apple not only took  note of the market’s potential, but stepped up efforts toward creating a fully functional min version of its world-leading iPad, which even to this day is thought by many to be behind the scenes waiting for the ideal time to launch.

Spec-wise, the iPad-min has been earmarked by the rumor mill for a Retina quality display, A6 processor and iOS 6 as standard – all for a bewilderingly low $250 or less. However, the only word from Apple so far seems to point to the impossibility of launching an iOS device with a 7-inch screen, therefore the rumors remain rumors even to this day.

Will Apple really pass up such an opportunity though?

Verdict

For the time being, the Google Nexus Tablet could and most likely will simply swallow up the market and break all existing records for two reasons – firstly it almost certainly exists and secondly it will be the first of the three to offer true power and affordability combined.

With regard to overall prowess, nothing would be able to hold a candle to the iPad Mini with its Retina display and what not, but a $200 price tag would have to be hugely subsidized by Apple – something not in its track record.

As for the Amazon Kindle Fire 2, expect incredible things though none that can quite match up to the above two…assuming of course they exist in the first place!

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