Google’s new tablet a worthy competitor
NEW YORK — In the 1982 sci-fi movie “Blade Runner,” there are hints that the hero, played by Harrison Ford, is an artificial human — an “android” or “replicant.” His job is to go out and kill other, rogue androids.
If he’s an android, he’s of the latest model, Nexus 7. That’s also the name Google Inc. has picked for the first tablet to bear the Google brand. Clearly, its mission is to go out and kill rogue tablets running Google’s Android software.
Specifically, the Nexus 7 seems to have been designed to give anyone who bought a Kindle Fire from Amazon.com Inc. or a Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble Inc. a lethal case of buyer’s remorse.
The Nexus 7 costs $199, the same that Amazon and Barnes & Noble charge for their tablets. But it’s better than theirs in significant ways, as it became clear to me after a couple of days of use. Google announced the tablet last week and is taking pre-orders for delivery in mid-July.
Why is Google targeting the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet? Because they’ve been relatively successful competitors to Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet, yet Google is getting no benefit from their success.
Google makes its Android operating software available for any device manufacturer to use. Amazon and Barnes & Noble took Android and modified it heavily. Namely, they took out the applications that point to Google’s services and the advertising it sells. Instead, the apps point to the companies’ own stores.
In other words, these tablets are rogue Androids.
Other tablets, such as Samsung’s Galaxy, use the “proper,” Googlish version of Android, but they’ve been more expensive than the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. Apparently, Google thought it was time to make a really good, proper Android tablet for $199.
It’s succeeded. As far as I can tell from my few days of use so far, the Nexus 7 is a really good value. It’s made by AsusTek Computer, a Taiwanese company that was originally planning to sell a similar tablet for $249.
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