From a software perspective, Google has been doing very well. Their Android platform for smartphones is dominant and on tablets it’s been making its mark. Unfortunately, the company still doesn’t see a ton of revenue from it with over 96% of their money coming from online advertising.
Hardware is where they want to be and the original Nexus 7 tablet launched last June did pretty well with an estimated 4.7 million sold. This year, they hope to far exceed this with unconfirmed reports of the second generation Nexus 7 tablet launching in July.
Google is aiming to ship as many as eight million of the Asustek-made tablets in the second half of the year, throwing down the gauntlet to other low-end tablets such as Amazon.com Inc‘s Kindle Fire and Apple Inc’s iPad mini, the sources with knowledge of the new product said.
If true, this will be a huge win for the tech giant for three reasons:
- The timing is perfect, allowing for the buzz to get built up prior to school and with plenty of time to be prepared for the holiday season rush.
- The rumored price point of $149-$199 allows it to continue to be competitive with Amazon and Microsoft while giving it a cost-savings edge over the $300 iPad Mini.
- It’s a second-generation device following a 1st-gen device that has a chance of success.
The last point is the key for Google. Despite tremendous success in other areas, they haven’t been able to really crack the hardware arena as well as they’d like. Their smartphone lines have played second fiddle to other devices on the same platform and they haven’t really been a player in other mobile devices despite a handful of half-hearted attempts. By putting out a second-generation tablet, they’re staying along a verifiable course.
In the world of gadgets, consumers are fickle. Other than the iPad, iPhone, and Galaxy S smartphone series, it’s hard to find devices that have been able to garner loyalty. Google is making a play to put out a product that people will buy now and upgrade later.
If the new Nexus 7 tablet and its Qualcomm Snapdragon processor are able to make a real splash in the market, it will represent the first true hardware success for the company. That’s important as they look to the future and realize that advertising dollars are not enough to let them take over the world.