Amazon made a bold move when they entered the tablet game with the Kindle Fire. The device was just $200 to start, and since then it’s gotten even cheaper in the second generation. It quickly shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list, and now it looks like Google’s enjoying some similar success with a little tablet of its own.
Carphone Warehouse has stated that the Nexus 7 has become its highest selling Android tablet of all time. Before we get too excited we have to put things into perspective a bit — when the best Android tablets, such as the lines from ASUS and Samsung, aren’t making huge dents in Apple’s market share you have to imagine the mountain, or hill, to climb is small.
But the line Google decided to draw between those OEMs and themselves is price. The Amazon route makes perfect sense for them because getting more devices with Google services into people’s hands is more important than margins on the device itself. It’s all about content, search, and ads, and thanks to Google’s classic strategy of free or low cost the Nexus has benefited tremendously.
Unfortunately for them, however, the iPad line still exists. And not only does it exist, it’s about to try and challenge the very same market Google and Amazon have discovered.
Think about this: if the iPad line, which currently starts at $500 for current generation hardware and can get as pricey as $800, can sell the way it does now, imagine what’ll happen if they get closer to that $200-$300 mark Google and Amazon like?
That’s exactly what the iPad Mini looks set to do. At a smaller screen size and a cheaper price (currently rumored to be starting at about €249 or $320, and pricing is subject to be different from region to region so it could be under $300 in North America) Apple is about to apply one mean death grip to the market that not even Darth Vader himself can contend with.
Apple makes its premium on device sales so taking a loss is not particularly attractive. It looks like the Cupertino company will be more content with decreased margins if it meant selling more devices at a more rapid rate.
So, unlike Google and Amazon which both have reason to enter this market at such daring price points because of the need to drive content and searches, Apple’s motivation is driven almost entirely by the desire to gain and control more market share.
Perhaps Apple wants to be more diligent in making sure what has transpired in the smartphone world doesn’t repeat with tablets, but whatever the case may be I’d say Google, Amazon and any other tablet manufacturer has reason to worry as an already tough market is about to get even more difficult to compete in.
We’re sure Google will be celebrating this success for now, though, and we certainly don’t want to be the ones to rain on the extravagant parade for too long. Lift a glass to the “don’t be evil” company and wish for the best going into the most important season the Nexus 7 has faced yet.