Following the announcement from Microsoft last week that it is to bring out its own tablet computer ‘Surface’, Google has really ensured that the tablet wars are about to hot up with the introduction of its new ‘Nexus’ tablet, announced at the I/O developer conference yesterday in San Francisco.
The Nexus 7 is Google’s first entry into what is becoming an ultra-competitive tablet market (or soon will be), although there are a number of Android-based tablets available which have been produced by various manufacturers. Nexus is made by Asus and will run the new ‘Jelly Bean’ version of Android; however, the most interesting aspect to Google’s entry into the tablet market is the ‘Project Glass’ specs which can eventually be used with the device.
Project Glass is an on-going project for the search giants and it’s thought that the first models of the augmented reality glasses will launch some time in 2013. Augmented reality is becoming more commercially apparent as apps are beginning to flood the app marketplace which has augmented reality capabilities.
The technology can be somewhat explained as being the opposite of virtual reality; whilst VR is based completely in a virtual world, augmented reality enhances the real world.
The announcement, along with that of Microsoft’s, might just have Apple twitching about their current tablet domination, of which at the moment they have about a 68% share of the market. The last suggested threat, the Kindle Fire, fizzled out to prove to be none at all, as buyers soon dropped off after an initial rush.
Nexus has a 7 inch screen, a quad-core processor and is said to be of a similar size to the Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. It will run Google’s Chrome browser (no surprise there) and won’t present any competition to Apple on screen size and quality.
However, on price it wins out at around £159 for the 8GB model and £199 for the 16GB, making it more of a threat to Fire in the short term. The accompanying glasses won’t be available to the public initially and will become available to developers early in 2013.
Frank Gillett of Forrester Research told the BBC that the success of the new tablet isn’t guaranteed though, "Google's real tablet problem is the lack of compelling tablet-optimised apps and Google has yet to address how to motivate developers to fill the gap," he said.Whilst the Nexus is a cheap entry into the tablet market, this will not be the case when the glasses are eventually made available to consumers, as the "Glass explorer edition” will bump the price up to around £1000.