Love it or hate it, we’re living in a tablet world dominated by Apple’s iPad.
The Motorola Xoom? Hailed as the first credible iPad competitor. It was bought less than a million times in 2011.
The Droid-branded tablets, the Droid Xyboard? I’m willing to bet that less than 50,000 have sold.
The BlackBerry PlayBook? Took a year after its launch to become a blip on the radar.
HP TouchPad? DOA.
The Samsung Galaxy Tabs? Samsung itself has admitted that they’re not selling well.
Kindle Fire? A small dent. Maybe.
Nook Tablet. Moving on.
Oh, Apple only sold 15.3 million of those.
In Q4 2011.
Clearly, the iPad is sitting large at the top of the mountain while its competitors bumble about trying to figure out the best route to the top.
Mobile World Congress just came and went and there are really no true competitors, at least that I saw, to the device that Apple is presumably going to be announcing at an event on March 7th in San Francisco.
The 4G LTE, Retina Display, power processor, better camera toting iPad 3.
Granted, some of the devices look like they could be good, devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. Key word there is could. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is going to be coming with a $499.99 price tag on a two-year contract.
Another key word: flop.
The iPad 3 will launch. It will sell a ton of units. Heck, even I’m planning on buying one. And as of right now, I can think of only one competitor that might just be able to pose a real threat to the iPad’s reign at the top.
The rumored Nexus tablet from Google that we heard about last year and which recently re-emerged. According to DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, Google will be putting a tablet into production in April, a tablet that is said to feature a 7-inch display with 1280×800 resolution. Better than the resolution found on the Kindle Fire.
Shim also thinks that Google is gearing up to launch the tablet for $199, the same price as Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Those features alone are not going to dethrone the iPad. If not then, what will?
I’ve been thinking about that, as an iPad owner, as a technology lover, as a consumer, as a writer, as a fan of all operating systems. Well, maybe besides Symbian.
No Contract with Cellular Data
I think the Nexus tablet, if it plans to be a success and not a flash in the pan, needs to arrive with more than just a decent display and an inexpensive price tag.
The key thing that needs to come along with the Google Nexus tablet, maybe more important the hardware itself, is cellular data that doesn’t require a contract. We have already laid out an extensive argument as to why contracts hurt Android tablets as a whole but the main point is this.
Many consumers will lock themselves into a monthly data plan and not use up their allotted data. Or if they do, end up paying overage charges.
Apple’s 3G connected iPad allows owners to pay as they go.
Please do this, Google.
You’ll probably want to offer a Wi-Fi only option as well.
A Killer Feature or Two
Instead of trying to out-processor the processor on the iPad or out resolution the resolution found on the iPad’s display, why not come up with some absolutely killer features that will lure fans in.
And make them exclusive to the Nexus.
Easier said then done, but the reason many of these tablets are failing is because they are indistinguishable from one another to the average consumer. Why would someone want to buy the Acer Iconia A500 over the Lenovo IdeaPad A1?
I know why, but does a normal person?
Not a chance.
I have touched on this time and time again. One of the driving forces behind the success of the original Droid, the phone that brought the Android OS into the minds of the masses, was its advertising campaign.
Remember, at its core, Google is an advertising company which is why it’s so puzzling as to why it handles advertising so poorly.
Its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Nexus, has, count them, zero memorable ads.
Advertising works if you do it right.
Robust App Selection
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the current iteration of Google’s software, was supposed to merge the OS’ of phones and tablets and get them on the same page. Problem is, not every app out there supports the new operating system.
One of the most likeable features of the iPad?
The shear amount of apps available for it.
Apps make up a large part of the spirit of the iPad and tablets in general. If the Nexus tablet launches without a wide selection of applications, applications that are optimized for the tablet itself, I can’t see people buying into it.
To me, those four things make up the core of what the Nexus tablet should be about, if and when Google decides to launch it.
When it comes down to it, consumers don’t care about features like the Tegra 3 processor. They want a device that has great battery life, has a host of apps, and makes sense from a monetary standpoint.
If Google can convince customers that the Nexus tablet has all of those ingredients, through a great ad campaign and a great product, then maybe, just maybe we could see a true competitor to the iPad emerge.
What do you think the Nexus tablet needs to have in order to compete with the iPad?