The promised date has came to pass. Hurricane Sandy may have caused Google to postpone the Android event in New York but it did not stop Google from releasing its slew of new Nexus devices. And we do not have 1 new Nexus device but 2 wholly new ones, a refresh of the Nexus 7 with 32GB and 3G mobile data connectivity and even Android 4.2 thrown into the mix for good measure. After the break, we will go into some details to see what the new devices bring to the game.
First thing off the bat. Google is streamlining how the Nexus branding is being presented. Gone were the days where Nexus devices had inconsistent naming. There used to be the Nexus One, Nexus S then the Galaxy Nexus. Starting with Nexus 7, Google’s new naming scheme simplifies the name to include only the (rough) screen size. Nexus 7 means a 7 inch screen. Nexus 4 is a 4.7 incher while the Nexus 10 is a 10.1 incher. Looking ahead, Google will probably stick to these naming conventions and the next Nexus devices next year will be the new Nexus 4 (or Nexus 5), the new Nexus 10 and so forth. May sound a little confusing but it worked for Apple’s iPod series and it may just work for Google.
In Google’s Nexus page, the Galaxy Nexus is no longer to be found. In its place, now we have the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. The Nexus 4 has been widely leaked and not little is left unknown. This 4.7″ phone is manufactured by LG based off their LG Optimus G design and hence shares many of the same features including the 2GB RAM, 1.5GHz Quad Core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, Adreno 320 GPU and 768×1280 display resolution. Following true Nexus design conventions, there will be no microSD card support however. Still, there will initially be a 8GB and 16GB variant priced at $299 and $349 respectively. This price isn’t bad at all especially when you consider that most super phones cost much higher. As a reference, an unlocked Galaxy S3 16GB in US will set you back around $599 while an unlocked iPhone 4S 16GB costs $549. This means that the Nexus 4 16GB is roughly 26% cheaper than the last generation iPhone 4S.
Note: Apple’s online store does not list unlocked iPhone 5 prices therefore I had to use iPhone 4S for comparison.
I am so hoping that Google or LG brings this phone to Malaysia while keeping the price at about an equivalent price, $349 is about RM1067. If priced at a very attractive RM1100-ish, I would definitely get this phone. Maybe even a couple of them. I am willing to live with 16GB and 8MP camera for that kind of price. In Malaysia, the cheapest Galaxy S3 (new) available is around RM1500+ and that only gets you a store (AP) only warranty. Official warranty Galaxy S3 costs about RM1699 while its recommended retail price (RRP) is RM1999. If DiGi wants to bring this onto their network and subsidize it (considering they gave S3 a RM900 subsidy at max), the Nexus 4 may only cost RM200-RM300! But, I would probably still buy it outright since my contract with DiGi still has over a year to go.
Next up is the refreshed Nexus 7. The 7 inch tablet from Asus used to come in 8GB and 16GB variants. Right now, the 8GB variant has been discontinued and in its place is the price reduced 16GB variant. A 32GB variant has been added to take the lead in the Nexus 7 lineup. Currently, the 16GB WiFi only variant costs $199 while the 32GB WiFi only is $249. For an additional $50, you can get the 32GB 3G enabled model at $299. Compare this to the newly announced iPad mini which costs $329 for the 16GB WiFi only variant, $429 for the 32GB WiFi only, $459 for the 16GB 3G enabled and a hefty $559 for the 32GB 3G enabled models. In other words, the Nexus 7 costs only around 54% of the iPad mini (comparing both 32GB 3G enabled models), that is a huge 46% cheaper!
Not content with having just 2 Nexus devices, Google also teamed up again with Samsung. This time however, they went for the high end tablet market segment. A Nexus 10 was born. This 10.1″ tablet comes with a couple of Cortex A15 cores and a quad core Mali T604 GPU in the heart of the Exynos 5250 chipset. This is the very first Cortex A15 tablet in the market and possibly even the earliest Cortex A15 based device (alongside the recently announced ARM-based Chromebook). The Nexus 10 inevitably will go head to head with Apple’s very popular iPad range which had just undergone a refresh, bringing it to the fourth iteration (unofficially dubbed iPad 4). In terms of pricing, the Nexus 10 starts at $399 for a 16GB variant and $499 will get you a 32GB variant. The iPad will cost you $499 for a 16GB version and $599 for a 32GB version. I feel that in this segment, the Nexus device is not so attractively priced compared to the iPad as the difference is only $100 or about 17% for the 32GB variant. Android lovers will still appreciate the lower price of the Nexus 10 but for the neutrals, the iPad may still be a better option.
I feel that its in the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 refreshed models that Google will win the most customers as the devices are very attractively priced with prices about 30-50% cheaper than the Apple counterparts. I am looking forward to having the new Nexus devices brought into Malaysia and I do see myself getting at least the Nexus 4 (as long as the prices does not get inflated too much). If Google made their Nexus devices available through the Play Store for Malaysia, I would definitely get one from there. As it is, I’m going to have to keep bugging my local phone retailers and keep watching the online stores for news of availability and pricing (and hoping they do not inflate the prices too much).
Will there be more Nexus devices to be announced before the end of the year? I think it is not likely. With Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, Google has covered the 3 main segments of phone, portable (and affordable) tablet and the high end tablet. These go head to head with the iPhone, iPad mini and iPad series from Apple. With spanking new devices from Microsoft and Windows 8 RT/Windows Phone 8 thrown into the mix, it is shaping up to be one heck of a holiday season this year. So, how do you like the new Nexus devices?
Note: I will cover the Android 4.2 in a separate blog post