The Hills Are Greener: Why Smaller Tablets Aren’t Just Physically Smaller

The Hills Are Greener: Why Smaller Tablets Aren’t Just Physically Smaller

Jan 21, 2013

A reminder that the Android market is not the same as the iOS market has been served by Super Hexagon. The Nexus 7 version of the game suffers from a latency issue on touch release that appears to be a hardware-level issue thanks to a cheap touchscreen on the Nexus 7, according to developer Terry Cavanagh; initially the game was going to skip the Nexus 7 but as players manually installed the game and reported that the issues were minor, he decided to go ahead and enabled Nexus 7 support on Google Play. Crisis averted.

Now, while eventually it was sorted out, the point is this: the Android tablet market is largely defined by cheap devices. The Nexus 7 got its start, after all, as a low-cost 7" tablet from Asus that was highly-powered, but concessions had to be made to get it down to the $200 level. There’s a general feel that it is less sturdy than say an iPad, though its rubbery grip could be the cause of that. Still, it’s something that pales in comparison to Apple’s hardware design – one may not enjoy Apple products, but their craftsmanship is very high, even on their relatively low cost ones.

It’s not just Google that’s doing it: Amazon and Nook are pushing low costs on their tablets too. And that’s not to speak of the many nameless manufacturers trying to cut below even them. The market has spoken, and in the 7“ range at least, people want cheap tablets. And there’s a chance that in getting them, quality is going to suffer at least a little bit. And while the 10” market is a bigger unknown – the smaller 7–8" range is the hot market now with the iPad jumping in, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 is certainly well-advertised, but finding out just how many units its sold is not an easy endeavor, while Samsung touts the sales of the entire Galaxy Note line. The Nexus 10 is sold out on Google Play, but who knows how accurate that is. Maybe only 10 Nexus 10s were made. The fact that the Nexus 4 is still out of stock is still suspicious as compared to how fast they should be produced. Who knows.

The point is this: the 7“ market is the clear winner for Android, but people should not expect to be getting the absolute latest and greatest because of the demand for low prices. And a similar phone market is unlikely to develop long-term because phone subsidies on 2-year contracts bring prices into the range of 7” tablets. Heck, even Apple is underpowering the iPad Mini compared to the full-size line. That says a lot about what this market really is.

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
Connect with Carter Dotson // email // www