Coffee Talk #490: Google Nexus 7 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire

At the Google I/O 2012 conference, Google unveiled the Nexus 7 tablet. A “pure” Android device built by Asus, the Nexus 7 will cost $199 or $249, depending on whether you opt for 8GB or 16GB of storage. Notable specs include a 1,280 x 800 seven-inch screen, quad-core Tegra 3 processor, and Android 4.1…

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Lamar Odom to the Los Angeles Clippers, scar tissue, or Tony Parker’s eyeball being injured in the Drake vs. Chris Brown showdown, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

At the Google I/O 2012 conference, Google unveiled the Nexus 7 tablet. A “pure” Android device built by Asus, the Nexus 7 will cost $199 or $249, depending on whether you opt for 8GB or 16GB of storage. Notable specs include a 1,280 x 800 seven-inch screen, a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). While the specs are nice, the remarkable thing about this product is its price point. It offers a lot of tablet-computing power for a very low price.

In some ways, the Nexus 7 will compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire. This $199 tablet runs a highly customized version of Android that’s built around Amazon’s digital services. While many pundits and Asus execs have said that the Nexus 7 is going after the Kindle Fire, there are huge differences in the types of customers each product appeals. Certainly there’s some overlap, but for the most part I don’t believe that the Nexus 7 will disrupt Kindle Fire sales (much). Let’s break it down.

The Kindle Fire is a general consumer device.  Amazon is marvelous at marketing to and serving general consumers. These buyers won’t or don’t care about the superior specs of the Nexus 7. They’re comfortable with Amazon and content to live in the company’s somewhat limited (though very polished) digital ecosystem.

The Nexus 7 is an enthusiast device. As amazing a company as Google is, it has a poor track record as a consumer electronics company. Nerds love Google Nexus products, but “real” people buy Samsung Galaxy devices. Recently, Google started selling the Galaxy Nexus phone directly to consumers through its Google Play store. It will be interesting to see how a new device, like the Nexus 7, fares on Google Play. At best, it still won’t get the kind of exposure and marketing push that the Kindle Fire enjoys.

The Kindle Fire has a limited reach. The Fire started off as a U.S.-only device. I don’t expect it to be available in more than a handful of countries by the end of the year. This is by design, of course. Amazon will only sell the Kindle Fire in regions where it has the rights to digital content and can adequately support consumers. By contrast, the Nexus 7 will be available in many more territories than the Kindle Fire by the end of the year.

The Dad Test. I bought a Kindle Fire for my Dad last Christmas. He’s an Amazon customer. He’s familiar with the company’s buying experience. The customized UI was easy for him to learn and understand. For people like my Dad, the Kindle Fire is an excellent device.

The Nerd Test. For people like you and me, the Nexus 7 is a much better choice. I’m familiar with the quirks of Android and Google Play. I will play games that take advantage of the power of Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 processor (can’t wait for Eden to GREEEEN!). I appreciate that fact that Nexus devices get Android updates sooner than other phones and tablets. The Nexus 7 is totally in my wheelhouse.

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you guys think about the Nexus 7 and how it will fare against the Amazon Kindle Fire. Sound off in the comments section (please)!

Author: RPadTV

11 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #490: Google Nexus 7 vs. Amazon Kindle Fire”

  1. I think Amazon can outlast Asus at the $199 price point. At $199 Amazon sells the Fire for a loss. I don't see how Asus can compete long term with that.

    1. A few sources have told me that Asus has a mother of a sweetheart deal on Tegra 3 chips. The company also manufacturers a lot of its own parts, whereas the Kindle Fire is totally sourced.

      1. We'll see. Right now it's just another Android tablet at what I think is too small of a screen.Sent from a device with horrible AT&T service.

      1. There are days that this is true…..

        My wife is saving up for a Kindle Fire. She reads a lot, and buys a lot of content from Amazon. Frankly, I'd rather have a traditional keyboard, or a controller for gaming, and an actual book in my hands.

    1. Seems like a tough sell. The design and size are nice, but that price is…tough. It does have an amplifier, but I'm not sure what the point is. Some people are saying that it's made in the USA, so that would certainly make it more expensive. However, I'm still looking for confirmation that it's made in America.

    2. So the Q is made in the USA. That just seems so weird to me and helps explain the price. Even though I don't really want one, I think more of it now that I know it's manufactured in the USA.

      1. Ugh. Nice that it's made here but I'll stick with the Foxconn hockey puck.Sent from a device with horrible AT&T service.

Comments are closed.