Google has launched a seven-inch tablet device to rival Amazon’s Kindle Fire, in a move that is set to raise the profile of Google Play, its platform for selling e-books and other digital products.
The internet company revealed its new device, the Nexus 7, made by Taiwanese company Asus, at its I/O developers' conference in San Francisco yesterday (27th June). It is available with 8GB of memory (£159) or 16GB (£199) and will feature a 1.2 megapixel camera with Google’s latest Jelly Bean Android software.
The Nexus will launch in mid-July and first countries to get the product are the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
Last year, Amazon’s Kindle Fire launched in the US, also with a seven-inch screen, costing £127.
The launch pitches Google directly against competitors such as Apple, with the iPad, and Amazon with Kindle Fire, as well as against Microsoft, which announced last week it would launch its own tablet Surface, containing Windows 8, which will come pre-loaded with a Barnes & Noble Nook application. It will also be in competition to those companies with its content offering.
Richard Broughton, senior principal analyst at IHS Screen Digest, told The Bookseller: “For selling e-books, is makes fantastic sense because the tablet is a far better platform for reading e-books than a mobile. If the launch goes well it will be great for raising the profile of Google Play and for selling e-books. In the longer term I think there is a question of whether tablets will completely replace e-readers. Tablets are starting to become more popular, there will be no more need for e-readers.”
The tablet is vying for a slice of the 118.9 million unit-market predicted for this year.
Apple's iPad had a 68% share of the market in January-March, according to data from IDC, with Amazon having just over 4%.