On October 15th, Google introduced the world to several new devices. The stars of the products shown were the Nexus 6, a 6” phablet (that will be carried by most major US carriers), and the $399 Nexus 9, a new 9” tablet developed by HTC.
Absent in that product lineup was an updated Nexus 7, a 7” tablet loved by many consumers as a solid alternative to Apple’s iPad, and a device featured heavily in Google Play for Education.
Bigger Nexus—Bigger Price Tag
Could Google be changing their strategy to compete on a platform of superior products and services instead of price?Although Google’s Nexus lineup has consistently delivered top-notch hardware and software, it was better known for its low cost. This recent shift may signal the end of low-cost Nexus products, but it could very well propel Google into the ranks of hardware elites like Apple.
The Nexus 7 was the cheapest tablet available in the Google Play for Education program, clocking in at a manageable $259, with the other tablets in the lineup rising up to $399 (Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Education).
If Google discontinues the Nexus 7 and replaces it with the Nexus 9 in Google Play For Education, just as they did in consumer facing product lineups, Google could change the very nature of the ecosystem struggle between themselves and Apple.
An Exclusive Future for Android Tablets?
By comparison, with Apple’s recent iPad announcements on the 18th, the original iPad Mini now costs $249, the iPad Mini 2 costs $299, and the new iPad Mini 3 costs $399. Apple also unveiled the iPad Air 2 which costs $499, knocking the price of the original iPad Air to $399.
That’s the same price as the Nexus 9!
The iPad Air 2, iPad Air, and Nexus 9 all feature 64-bit processors, 2048×1536 pixel displays, comparable sizes, comparable weights, and comparable battery life.
What’s the take-a-way about the Nexus 9?
The real question from this change is which platform technology directors will favor now that both are so similar in price, and what differentiators will drive the change. Apple has a huge amount of brand recognition and familiarity for legions of previous iPhone and iPad users; while Google Play For Education tends to have easier deployment and management features, along with a dedicated app ecosystem for education.
Although Google Play For Education seems to be the best choice for utility, Apple’s iPads in Education tend to draw more publicity and support through their incredible brand reputation. A reputation Google, it would seem, is craving as well.
Which would you prefer, the Nexus 9, an iPad mini 3 or an iPad air? Do the upgraded specs justify a price hike in the Nexus 9?