July 16, 2012

Nexus 7 Is Not A Portal To The Play Store, It's A Bargaining Chip

Lack of content is the biggest complaint against the Nexus 7. When compared to Amazon's and Apple's music, movie, tv show, and magazine offerings, the Google Play Store. That's why, despite overwhelmingly positive reviews, some bloggers are puzzled or put off that Google would put the Play Store front and center, when that's arguably the tablet's one weak point.*

Google doesn't make much money off the tablet itself. This is the same strategy Amazon uses with the Fire. The money will presumably come from selling apps, books, and all that good stuff. But people are skeptical that Google will make much revenue this way, due to lack of content on the Play Store. So far, Google's only got 2 of the key areas covered and not very well. Google's got millions of books available. Problem is, most of them are old publications with expired copyrights. Google's also got hundreds of thousands of apps, but only a small fraction of them are optimized for a tablet. It's not looking good for Google...

But wait. Didn't Amazon have a serious app shortage when they launched the Fire? Yes. Yes they did. The Kindle Fire didn't have access to the Play Store, so they had to create their own app store. At launch, Amazon's tablet only had a couple of thousand apps out of hundreds of thousands available on Android. How could they ever hope to succeed when most of the time spent on a tablet is spent using apps?

But succeed they did. What gives?

Turns out, despite their shortcomings in the app department, they still built a cheap, solid tablet from a trusted name. As wind caught of Kindle Fire's success, developers rushed to bring their apps on board. Amazon App Store quickly rose from a couple of thousand apps to over 30,000. Again: cheap, sturdy tablet from a trusted name.

And that's what Google just gave us with the Nexus 7. Except, the 7 is an even more solid tablet from an arguably even more trusted name.

To sum up, yes, Google Play Store doesn't have as much music and as many movies, shows, and magazines as the iPad or the Kindle Fire. But if you want that extra content, you can still use Amazon's services on the Nexus 7. You can listen to Amazon's MP3s and read their books without settling for their tablet. And at first, that's what some people are likely to do. But as the Nexus 7 gains momentum, studios, publishers, and developers will trip over themselves rushing to have stuff featured on the home screen of a tablet owned by tens of millions of people.**

*NOTE: The Nexus 7 lacks many features that other tablets have. The 7 doesn't have a rear camera, SD card slot, 3G/4G options, HDMI port, or DLNA support, and it's home screen doesn't rotate. Also, MG thinks its side bezels are too thin. But I don't judge the quality of a product by how many features it can cram in. My used RAV4 doesn't have the leather trim, advanced climate controls, and a 6-cylinder engine of a BMW, but I'd recommend my friends a Toyota before a Beemer any day of the week. That's because most of my friends aren't loaded. I judge a product for its value. The iPad lacks SD expansion, HDMI and USB ports, NFC, and a real GPS. But these omissions haven't scared away Apple's customers, because the iPad is still a good value. Plus all those features that are absent from the 7 are used by a tiny minority of tablet owners. So, if those are the biggest complaints, then the Nexus 7 will be a good value to the overwhelming majority of tablet users at a fraction of the iPad's price.

**NOTE 2: You can count that as an official prediction. Within 2 years at least 20 million people will own a Nexus tablet.