Oct 292012
 

The family of Google Nexus devices alongside each other.

Google is now launching a full assault on Apple in all the three key areas of modern mobile connectivity – smartphones, mini tablets, and full-sized tablets.

Until now, Apple has been perceived as dominating in all three areas, even though the underlying market shares tend to contradict that perception.

In reality, there have been Android powered phones out there for years and Android phones have been consistently and substantially outselling iPhones for several years.

There are Android powered mini and full tablets, too, although they have yet to reach the same level of market success as have Android powered phones.  But at their present rate of catchup, that may happen very soon.  In the last quarter, Apple’s market share of tablet devices dropped to ‘only’ 57% while Android’s increased to 41%.

The impact of the iPad mini is of course as yet unclear, but some commentators believe that the biggest impact of the iPad mini will be to shift people who would have purchased a full size and more expensive iPad to now buy the smaller less expensive one – making it in large part an ‘own goal’ for Apple.

Although in theory the new Apple iPad mini finally gives Apple a device to offer against the plethora of budget priced high quality 7″ tablets now already available, and clearly it will win some of that business, its much higher price (compared to other 7″ tablets) may harm its broad acceptance, and the new price reductions for Google’s 7″ tablet make the pricing gap between Apple and the rest of the market even more pronounced.  The iPad mini is only a ‘good value’ when compared against full size iPads, but not when compared against other similarly sized Android tablets.

The lower visibility of Android mobile devices is due to the market being fragmented with a number of different hardware manufacturers and no iconic branding and unified simple easily understood product range such as Apple has enjoyed.  While it could be argued that the huge number of Android phones available (50+) has helped Android phones outsell the iPhone, it has also blunted the clear image of exactly what an Android phone is, and what its specific strengths and appeal comprises.

With Google’s product announcements today, it has created a very similar situation to Apple.  A single supplier is now offering a consistent family of devices – phones, mini and full-sized tablets, under one brand and with a reasonable consistently in terms of look and feel.  A person can now make a choice to either have a completely Apple branded iOS based set of mobile devices, or a completely Google branded Android set of mobile devices.  If you already have two devices from the one supplier, you’ll probably seek to stay with that ‘family’ for any additional devices.

Perhaps the most significant part of Google’s new product range is its full-sized tablet.  Apple’s near monopoly of larger sized tablet devices is now under direct attack by Google’s phenomenal new Nexus 10 – a device which not only confronts Apple’s historic screen superiority head-on but roundly beats it, and at a $100 lower price point too.

Is 29 October 2012 the turning point in Apple’s fortunes, for a second time?  Is Apple’s share price now terminally ending its rocketing ride upwards?  Is Apple going to return back to its roots, as a niche producer of overpriced hardware?  Here’s an interesting chart of Apple’s share price for the previous three months, showing it under-performing both Google and the major market indices.

We can’t and aren’t predicting the future, but it does seem that Apple’s head start on the market has now been lost, and it is having to compete on a much more level playing field, and with devices that are appreciably more expensive, while not really any better, than its new competitors.

As for the software side of these devices, all the new Google devices use the latest version of their Android OS, also announced today – version 4.2.  There is one profound change in this new version OS which will make it a ‘must have’ product for many corporate users, plus also families and couples – the ability of the OS to have multiple users (an ability which the latest iOS from Apple lacks).

Now you can log onto your tablet with your account, and access your apps and email and everything, and then have your spouse or child or colleague log on with their own account and not access any of your personal information and details.

This feature is not really necessary on a cell phone for the simple reason that cell phones are essentially ‘one on one’ personal devices.  Each person has their own phone and rarely if ever shares it.  But tablets are more likely to be shared among family members, and so having different accounts for each member of the family can be a powerful plus.

Google is spreading its favors around.  The Nexus 4 is manufactured by LG, the Nexus 7 by Asus and the Nexus 10 by Samsung.  This is a clever way of balancing out its relationships with major companies who also make their own competing Android powered units, and quite a different approach to that adopted by Microsoft, who is not using any of its hardware partners to make its own Surface devices.  By doing so Google clearly hopes to maintain favorable relationships with its supporting manufacturers, who get to share in Google’s own hardware sales success; whereas Microsoft risks alienating its hardware partners with its much more ‘selfish’ approach to hardware manufacturing.

In quick summary, the new Google full-sized (10″) tablet seems to be superior to the Apple iPad in every respect, and also to be $100 cheaper.  The Google 7″ tablet and the new iPad mini are closely comparable units, with the Google Nexus 7 being again the much better value ($199 compared to $329 for comparable entry-level units).

The phone choice is a little more complicated, with the iPhone having sort of better 4G capabilities, but the Nexus 4 having a much better and bigger screen.  There are other excellent Android phones also available such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 (and expected to be updated to the S4 early next year), so our final conclusion is that Google’s two tablets are definitely better than the competing Apple tablets, while the Nexus 4 phone is comparable to the iPhone 5, and there are other Android phones also available too.

So Google beats Apple on two of the three products and probably scores a draw on the third.

The next three articles will compare the Apple and Google alternatives for phones (ie about 4″ screen size), mini tablets (ie about 7″ screen size) and full tablets (ie about 10″ screen size).

Please either follow the links at the very bottom of this page by clicking on the left hand arrow or title (on this page it says ‘Google Nexus 4 Phone vs Apple iPhone 5’) or simply choose from the three direct links here :

Google Nexus 4 Phone vs Apple iPhone 5

Google Nexus 7 vs Apple iPad mini

Google Nexus 10 vs Apple iPad 4 

 

  2 Responses to “Google Now Has a Full Apple Beating Product Range – Phone, mini Tablet, full Tablet”

  1. You are misguided: No LTE on the nexus phone, no cellular data on the Nexus 7 or Nexus 10, and few apps for either tablet. You hype that the tablets can be shared among families, yet tout the fact that they are cheaper. The whole point of a tablet is that it is yours – not something that is shared by other people. While the Nexus tablets indicate progress, as the Wired reviewer stated “There simply aren’t enough tablet-specific apps available on Android, and no matter how swift or shiny or sexy your hardware is, that really stings. It’s the apps that make the tablet. There are dozens of examples of why this is a problem, but just take a look at Twitter. On the iPad, it’s beautiful. A series of sliding panels display tweets, user profiles and trending topics. On the Nexus 10 (and any Android tablet for that matter), you get a stretched-out phone app with tons of wasted white space. Text is small and tough to read, and the overall user experience can generously be described as unimpressive.” Your question “Is Apple going to return back to its roots, as a niche producer of overpriced hardware?” reveal that this is not a serious review but rather a statement of your prejudices and lack of appreciation of the user experience

    • Hi, Paul

      Phew – that’s a fairly thick slug of invective you send my way. Let’s see if I can carefully reply to the points you raise, one by one.

      No LTE on the Nexus 4 : Yes, I agree. There is none, and I say so too. I also discuss the relevance of this in my review of the Nexus 4 vs the iPhone 5. What exactly is your point?

      No cellular data on either the Nexus 7 or 10 : Wrong. It is an option on the Nexus 7.(for only $50 more, unlike the $130 upcharge with iPads). But, more to the point, who cares?

      From memory, only about one in four iPads is sold with the over–priced cellular data option, and in many cases, the cellular data plan is not activated. That is certainly true in my case. I unhappily spent the extra $130 not for the wireless data feature, but to get the GPS inclusion.

      People who truly need data on their tablet can use their phone as a portable hotspot and share their phone’s data plan with their tablet and all their other devices too. This is a much better solution than doubling up on data service costs.

      Few apps for either tablet : I disagree. Put your money where your mouth is. Tell me which mainstream apps are uniquely available only on the iOS devices and not on Android too.

      Tablets are not for sharing : I’m going to guess that you’re not married with children. Alternatively, if you are, I’m going to guess that you don’t have one tablet for each member of your household.

      Most of us, in the real world, have fewer tablets than we have users.

      Furthermore, many of us would like to be able to share a tablet with friends, visitors, whatever, but don’t want them to get access to all our accounts, logins/passwords, etc.

      I will agree that at the great value prices Google is selling its tablets for, it is easier to buy a tablet for everyone in the house/office, and a few more for spares, but I’m not sure that just because it is easier, it is also the best use of one’s money.

      Dozens of examples : I’d like to see a definitive list of the dozens of mainstream apps that you say look awful on Android and really wonderful on Apple.

      Okay, you talk about Twitter, but I just went and looked, and I see there are over 1,000 different Twitter apps in the Android store : https://play.google.com/store/search?q=twitter+for+android&c=apps

      Are you trying to tell me that you have personal knowledge of all 1,000+ of these apps and they are all awful? You’d have a hard time convincing me of that! All you’ve done is choose one extreme example to fit your view of things, an example which is totally ridiculous. Of course, on either platform, people choose the app they like best. There are 1000+ choices of app for Android, and I’ll wager that many of those apps aren’t even available on iOS, or, if they are, that they look awful. But, so what, and who cares. We have app choices.

      So, unlike you, I’m not saying any such thing. As far as I’m concerned, app availability is close to a wash these days, and what little difference may remain is rapidly being closed.

      Your argument here reminds me of what die-hard Mac users used to say about Mac computers. ‘We have better apps than PCs’. You know, its a very long time since I last heard that said…..

      Lastly, your gratuitous ad hominem attack on me. Even though you are Australian, that is uncalled for, and simply shows that you have to replace a failed attempt at logical discussion with a bad tempered slanging match.

      I approved your post this time because your earlier points are arguably worthy of response, but if you try posting attacks on me, you can be sure that such posts will not be released.

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