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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014
The Great Tablet Shootout begins...
Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
July 28, 2012
First Published: 13:33 IST(28/7/2012)
Last Updated: 19:21 IST(28/7/2012)

The week started off with a bang with two particular headlines that stood out. The first:  Samsung has sold 10 million Galaxy S3 phone units. This was big news not just because of the astounding numbers but also because it was done a week before the target was to be achieved. The claim now by Samsung is that they will manage selling 19 million phones by autumn (just around the time the iPhone 5 should be out).

TabletsThus the ‘Best Phone in the World’ title now has two big contenders. The other piece of news that made the world sit up was the discovery that the Google Nexus 7 Tablet is almost sold out. The 16GB is all gone and the 8GB stock is nearly all out.

It appears as if Google either wasn’t expecting such runaway success or that production can’t keep up to demand. Either way, this is great news for consumers as serious contenders in the Tablet market will make sure that the competition will bring in even more innovative products at better prices. But within this ‘happy news for consumers’ headline were buried many questions and other concerns.

The Google Nexus 7 has truly set the cat amongst the pigeons. It’s an almost no-compromise Tablet at an extraordinary price, and has thus shaken the foundation of all other players. Even those that would never have dreamed of an Android device are looking forward to giving it a shot. In the last month, the questions I’ve been asked – incessantly, and without a break – is when does this device come to India, how does it really compare to the other big guns and is it really all it’s hyped to be?

Here’s a comparison shootout chart of the top contenders in the Tablet market, now and in the future.

Competition success review

Chart

A few things stand out in the chart:

* The iPad is still king of the displays with its eye-bending retina screen and astounding PPI (pixels per inch). But the real marvel in the new iPad may well be its battery. Nothing comes even close. Look at the mAh they’ve packed into that case. Battery life will be an important criterion for all future Tablet buyers. The Nexus is number 2 here.

* Tablet cameras more or less suck. Some don’t even have one, some have a front or back one and that too a very average one. Once again, just the iPad has something worthwhile in specs – but in real life even the new iPad camera doesn’t perform well. The Nexus 7 has a front camera (which is good), but it isn’t an optical wonder.

* Most Tablets don’t really have much scope to go thinner and frankly there’s really nothing to choose from as each, irrespective of screen size, is almost the same as the other.

* The market will get divided into 7-inchers and bigger. The weight of a 7-incher is almost half (see chart) of that of a bigger screen device. Thus it’s not just size but weight that will also tilt the scale in terms of true portability. Apple will have to come out with a 7-inch Tablet soon, as will Microsoft.

* The Nexus 7 is the lightest at just 340 gms, and at this price point is the only Tablet to have a quad-core processor.

Thus, the above does prove that the Nexus 7 has some things that truly stand out and some that are adequate to take on the competition. Thus the much hyped term ‘the no-compromise economy Tablet’ is fitting for it. Also floating in are concerns that many Nexus 7 units have dead pixels and also the screen isn’t fitting into the case very well. Early reports are saying these manufacturing problems are very isolated, yet it does bring up the other big question. Can Google really continue to deliver a perfect device at this perfect price? Should you wait for the Nexus 7 to launch in India? Will it be worth waiting it out? At about the Rs.10,000 mark – this device has literally no competition. Will they be able to control quality as well as deliver devices in tune with demand? Now that is the billion dollar question!

From HT Brunch, July 29

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