Google’s Nexus range: The game changer?


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Two years ago, when Google unveiled the Nexus One at Mountain View, the move was met with both applause and scepticism. Google has carved out a niche for itself with the Nexus and is taking the market slowly yet steadily. With the arrival of the Nexus 7 and reports of it already selling out at many key retailers, Google is happy for sure but not complacent.

The Nexus One that Google brought out in a tie-up with HTC wasn’t the success that Google had hoped for. According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, Nexus One sold 0.135 million units in the first 10 weeks, while Motorola Droid sold 1.05 million in as much time. This ended with Google closing its Nexus One web store and later totally discontinuing the Nexus One. Google made a lot of mistakes with the Nexus One and couldn’t manage selling it well through their web store, as their service channels and customer service weren't good enough.

Google then moved on to tie-up with Samsung and brought out the Nexus S, which was received well. Although official figures aren’t available, the device did much better than its predecessor in terms of sales and also gained some good traction with developers. In fact, it almost became essential for developers to buy a Nexus device as it is always the first to receive an OS upgrade. The bar was raised for Google forcing it to come up with something better the next time around and it did so in the form of the Galaxy Nexus. Touted as the best smartphone available at that time with rave reviews from tech circles, this was the only device with Ice Cream Sandwich at that point and the only smartphone (unlocked version) officially updated with Jelly Bean. Now that comes with serious brag rights and is more than enough for many consumers to take that plunge into the Nexus world.

The Google Nexus Family

At Google I/O 2012, it was evident that Google wasn't going to limit the Nexus range to smartphones. They were moving onto something bigger and that came in the form of the Nexus 7 and the Nexus Q. Undoubtedly, Nexus 7 is a game changer, though, I am not sure that can be said about Nexus Q. Until the Nexus 7 came into play, the only worthy competitor in the 7-inch range was the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has one serious problem. Apps can only be downloaded only from the Amazon AppStore and not from Google Play, which can make any buyer think twice because Amazon’s AppStore doesn’t have the wide range of apps that Google Play does.

In fact, one of the biggest impacts of the Nexus 7 and the main reason for me to call the Nexus 7 a game changer, is the effect it has had on Apple.

Steve Jobs had slammed 7-inch tablets saying “7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad”. From then on, nobody had anticipated the arrival of a 7-inch iPad. After the launch of Kindle Fire, Apple was a little queasy with their decision but it stuck to Steve Jobs' words. As rumours ramped up and Apple realized that Google was planning Nexus 7, they had no option but to venture into the 7-inch arena. Rumours are rife now that Apple is launching the iPad Mini. It is estimated that manufacturing the 8 GB model of the Nexus 7 costs around $159.25 and the 16 GB model costs around $166.75. Taking into consideration other overhead costs, Google is working on very thin profits over here. It shows how badly Google wants a really large chunk of the tablet market, which Android tablets in general have failed to generate, and how stiff the competition is right now.

With increasing speculation that Google is going to release a 10-inch tablet, said to be named Nexus 10, the future of the Nexus devices looks bright. Hopefully, someday the Nexus will mean to Google what the iDevices mean to Apple.