Nexus 7: Finally, validation for the smaller tablet

Nexus 7: Finally, validation for the smaller tablet

Summary: The Nexus 7 by Google is not the first small tablet, but so many are seeing it for the first time that you'd think there had never been such a beast. For those of us who have been enjoying small tablets for a while, the Nexus 7 may finally validate the smaller form factor.

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When the original Galaxy Tab was released by Samsung a couple of years ago I immediately headed to the Sprint store to check it out. It only took a few minutes with the Tab in hand to convince me to buy one, and that was largely due to the small form. That Galaxy Tab is still the tablet I grab when I want to read an ebook or spend some leisure time online.

The 7-inch tablet is very comfortable to hold in the hand for extended periods, making it ideal for reading ebooks. It's no accident that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble chose that size for the Kindle Fire and Nook, respectively.

After the release of the Galaxy Tab many interested in tablets claimed it was too small. Even Steve Jobs made the famous comment that a 7-inch tablet was too little to do much of anything useful. Those of us happily using the Galaxy Tab at that time just smiled as we knew he was wrong.

Even Samsung seemed unsure of the 7-inch tablet, producing the 10-inch model shortly after the Tab. Naming the bigger tablet the Galaxy Tab 10.1 confused the market as the original smaller model was simply the Galaxy Tab. Then Samsung starting shooting out tablets sized between the original and the 10.1, producing the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 in rapid succession.

Meanwhile those of us familiar with how useful the 7-inch form could be for most things continued to happily use the Galaxy Tab. Owners of the 9.7-inch iPad looked down on the lowly Galaxy Tab, but couldn't knock it out of owners' hands.

The Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble hit the scene and more folks experienced how good the 7-inch form factor was for doing lots of things. They weren't the best tablets technically, but they were more advanced than the aging Galaxy Tab and they were the right size so many pulled out their wallets and snapped them up.

See related: Why I ordered a Nexus 7

Now the Nexus 7 is appearing in the wild and lots of folk not previously interested in the 7-inch tablet are giving it a serious look. Google has put great hardware components inside and is selling it at a very competitive price to get noticed. Finally the 7-inch tablet is getting the validation it should as more people are giving the size a spin.

The rumors of an iPad Mini won't go away, and while I'm not convinced Apple will produce one if it does the smaller tablet will be validated on all fronts. I predict a smaller iPad may outsell the original big tablet, and we would start seeing little tablets all over the place.

I can't wait for my Nexus 7 to arrive. It's the only thing that can get the Galaxy Tab out of my hand.

Related posts:

Topics: Tablets, Amazon, Android, Google, iPad, Samsung

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83 comments
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  • Nexus 7 is re-defining what a tablet is.

    I predict that in a few years tablets larger than 7 inches will be uncommon, and tablet apps will be optimized for 7 to 8 inch screens that can be held in one hand.
    AnalogJoystick
    • 7 in. screens

      Obviously you do not have eyes of someone 50 or above. I have not gone to the iPad because the screen is too small.
      hayneiii@...
      • Well over 50 sweet pea.

        But people over 50 are a tiny, insignificant fragment of the tablet buying populace. Also, I don't have any problems at all with a 7 inch display. Maybe your eyesight isn't so good even for a 50 year old.
        AnalogJoystick
        • We are not so insignificant as all that

          In fact, the number of >50 yr old Internet users just went over the 50% mark according to Pew. http://pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/March/Pew-Internet-Social-Networking-full-detail.aspx

          That group (known as "baby boomers") will flood the market of email, social media and online purchasing over the next few years. Probably with tablets they can see without squinting.
          Olderdan
        • MORON ALERT

          People over 50 make up the largest segment of the population....and have the most money.

          Try again when you turn 18.
          JeveSobs
        • Insignificant fragment?

          Are you that so completely clueless in the world outside of your little universe that you actually believe your post? The over 50 crowd is very significant and if you take to the over 40 crowd which is when most start having eyesight issues then you have a majority of the buying power.
          non-biased
      • My thought exactly

        The picture featured in the article illustrated more than anything the worst thing about a 7" tablet. The larger one has a readable web page displayed, the smaller one does not. A smaller tablet would subject me to the same zoom in/zoom out exercises I currently have to do on my phone, which is why I don't read many web pages on my phone.

        Aside from being a color ebook reader, I've yet to see anyone make a compelling case for a 7" tablet. Then again, there's nothing in a 10" tablet that justifies the expense either; but since I already have a Kindle (eInk); at least I could read digital magazines in close to normal size.
        jvitous
        • Ever thought about holding it the other way?

          Er, you do realize that they invented this thing called "landscape mode" right?
          Nathan A Smith
          • Landscape mode

            I find that the best way to read anything (even my phone SGS2) is in the landscape mode.
            abledoc@...
      • Ever hear of glasses?

        I know many in the "over 50" crowd who have a Fire, including my wife. Yes, vision goes down hill in the later years, but we have a modern invention called glasses that correct that minor failing. I myself fought wearing glasses for years after I really needed them, but finally gave in and now wear them full time. No more straining to read print or computer screens, and the 7" screen of a tablet is not an issue.
        itpro_z
        • Glasse, yes I've heard of glasses!

          Been wearing them since I was 7 and now at 50 I've also got the old age issue.
          If a 7" tablet suits you then "so be it" but for me I bought a 11.6" tablet and it's great. I read e books, watch films use office 2010 (it runs Windows 7) doubt I ever get a small one and ever get another laptop.
          I can't see 7" ever replacing the bigger screen ones, more like selling side by side.
          martin_js
        • To each their own

          Here is a thought, rather than making a condescending remark like "Ever hear of glasses" and pushing that a 7" tablet would be fine how about letting other people decide what they want to use. I know people over and under 50 with Fire's and they enjoy them. Half of those people also have iPads and switch between the two depending on what they are doing but most time is spent on the iPad. I can see where a 7" tablet could be a plus in some situations for me or how overall it might be a better fit for some but I have no issue being able to hold the iPad in one hand and very rarely have the need to wear a jacket (no bonus of fitting in pocket) so I think I will stick with my iPad.
          non-biased
      • I'm 50+

        And I love a 7" tablet. Everyone's eyes are not the same.
        cuulblu
      • Yes I do...

        I am 58 and own a Kindle Fire - and I love it! The 10 inch is just too big to hold comfortably and read (and I do a lot of reading). And it also makes a good comic reader (using ComiCat).
        KNPepper
      • Go get an eye exam!!!

        I have a relative who is 79. She surfs the web on a 10.1 inch display at 1366x768 comfortably, and does so without any vision aids or fatigue.
        lgpOnTheMove
    • agreed

      I have always felt the iPad was sort of an anomaly - whose success could have only been possible by a company in apple's position, with many factors aligning just right for this to success story to occur. Its a nice device, but totally impractical, expensive and unnecessary for the average joe when other options exist. The fact that other 10 inchers have struggled so hard only helps to reinforce this opinion. Look at phones - the early androids weren't so great - but took off like a rocket anyway. That's because phones are so essential to people, much like the automobile. The 7" still is not a necessity, but the low price and hi quality, lots of apps ensure it will be a success. I may never pick up my transformer again once my nexus arrives.
      deathjazz68
      • It's not just 10" tablets that have struggled...

        Short of the Fire, there haven't been many tablets not named iPad that have really made a dent, and even the Fire tapered off a few months after it's initial launch. Don't mistake that for a knock on quality, it's simply a reflection of marketshare.
        TroyMcClure
        • Fire isn't truly a tablet

          The OS is so crippled on the Kindle Fire I don't consider it a true tablet. It's more of an extension of Amazon.com than a tablet.
          cuulblu
          • I guess

            Its true we cant all be tech gurus, but I owned a Fire, rooted the Sumb*itch and it was a great tablet.
            EVHGameOvR
          • Using that logic

            Why did other 7 inch tablets with a better OS NOT take off?
            JeveSobs