Google Nexus 7 – not so awesome across the seas due to lack of digital content?

July 4, 2012
5 35 1 10

Update- We have just launched the best Android tablets of 2013 series.

The Google Nexus 7 is one of the best Android tablets of the year and definitely a tough adversary for this year’s Kindle Fire versions. At the same time, the device is not an iPad-killer, it’s not even intended to be one, and, moreover, it may do a lot more harm within the Android tablet ecosystems, as other OEMs will not be able to replicate Google’s current tablet strategy.

The Nexus 7 is an affordable device that packs quite a punch under the hood and is able to offer users access to Google’s latest operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, right out of the box. At the same time, it’s ready to deliver the same tablet performance that Apple’s and Amazon’s tablets offer to consumers. We’re looking at a device whose maker – forgetting for a second that it’s Asus that actually built it – controls the hardware, software, and, equally important, the content stores.

Google’s own Andy Rubin affirmed more than once in the recent past that Android tablet sales have not met expectations but that the company has learned from its mistakes.

While working on the Nexus 7, Google rebranded the Android Market to Google Play, and turned it into a place where Android users would be able to purchase not only apps but also other content forms such as music, books, magazines, movies and TV shows. Not to mention that some Google devices, Nexus-branded ones, are also available from the same online store. That’s great news for Android fans, but not for all of them.

In fact, it appears that even though Google is interested in bringing the Google Nexus 7 to more international markets, it won’t be able to offer users the same Nexus 7 experience that U.S.-based buyers will enjoy. The Inquirer has confirmed that the UK version of the Nexus 7 will not have access to TV shows, music and magazines, and the lack of such digital content may make the device a less interesting gadget for some potential buyers, no matter how cheap it is. The publication notes:

Speaking with The Inquirer, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the Nexus 7 won’t feature these three categories, which will remain an exclusive in US for the time being. They said, “The UK version will feature all of the options currently available in the UK Play store”, which means users of the Nexus 7 will be limited in their choices movies, apps, games and books.

Adding further confirmation of this is Google’s UK pre-order page, which doesn’t mention the company’s recently launched magazine or music library features. However, in a move that will no doubt irk buyers, the pre-order page links to the official Nexus 7 homepage, which boasts that the tablet features “the world’s largest collection of eBooks, millions of songs, thousands of movies and TV shows, and a growing selection of magazines.”

Of course, on the other hand we do remember those HP TouchPad firesales, don’t we? That device sold like hot cakes even though HP wasn’t going to provide webOS updates and support.

At the same time, we’ll notice that Google is ready to boldly go where Amazon made sure it stayed away from. The Kindle Fire was a U.S. best-selling device because that’s where Amazon can offer plenty of digital content to buyers, and thus it can hope to make some cash from people that buy a cheap device – otherwise unprofitable if sold alone. The electronics retailer can’t offer the same services in other regions of the world, even though the word on the street is that Amazon is currently seeking to ink licensing deals that would help it bring future Kindle Fire devices to other regions.

So why is Google doing it? Simply put, the company is trying to steal market share – prevent customers from buying a Kindle Fire or a cheap iPad Mini – while working on similar licensing deals that would help it eventually offer the same kind of Google Play content to international users. We have no idea when that will happen, or how long it would take for Google to achieve it, but you won’t be able to blame Google for trying to sell as many Nexus 7 units as possible, in as many markets as possible, by the time other 7-inch devices come along.

However, international Nexus 7 sales may be a lose-lose-lose deal at first. First off, the customers are somewhat losing by not being able to access all the content they were hoping to get, although they’ll probably have plenty of fun with the device. More importantly, Google would be losing as well, as it wouldn’t be able to make the same amount of cash from content purchases from these consumers. And thirdly, other Android device makers, which can’t afford to lower the prices of their tablets too much, as they can’t make money from content sales – like Apple, Amazon and Google – would also be losing,

In time, when Google is ready to make all Google Play offerings available in more international markets, the situation may turn into a win-win-lose kind of deal. At the end of the day, locking customers into buying Nexus-branded tablets may turn out to be a very bad deal for other Android tablet makers.

Things get even more complex once the Kindle Fire 2 launches in international markets, should that happen later this year especially in case Amazon will come out with a strong Nexus 7 rival. Not to mention that an iPad Mini, that would have access to everything to plenty of content from the App Store, iTunes music and movie store and the iBookstore, would be a tough adversary for tablet buyers who buy such a device not just for surfing the web and using apps but also for streaming movies, listening to music, reading magazines and books and following their favorite TV shows.

Leaving speculations aside, we’ll remind you that international Android users have a workaround that will let them enjoy all the digital offerings from the U.S. Google Play store on their Nexus 7 tablets, but it’s not exactly legal and Google may soon find a way disable it – not that we encourage you to pursue such endeavors anyway.

Since the tag line of the tablet is pretty suggestive – “Nexus 7, made for Google Play” – we’re interested to know whether there are any international Android fans discouraged from buying the Nexus 7 due to lack of content. Or is the low price of the device a good enough reason to get it as soon as humanly possible?

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/physicalist09 Physicalist

    The only thing really missing for me is Play Music. Sure, you can work around the access restrictions but maybe tomorrow this workaround isn’t available anymore. Magazines would be nice, but there are many specific apps for that. TV shows, films – I want to watch them on the big screen, not on a tablet.

  • Peterson Silva

    Guys, it’s Android, for goddess’s sake. Fuck the store. It’s a good device for the price.

  • Trolleyrider

    It’s a tablet, at cost price, that can be side loaded with content. Why would I care about what will or won’t be avalible on Google Play.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marc.vlommel Marc Van Lommel

      Because not all apps are available at other sites …like nexus 7 media importer

  • iampoch

    The deal-breaker for me for Nexus devices have always been the lack of microSD card support.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marc.vlommel Marc Van Lommel

      just connect to your (smart) phone using bluetooth … i can stream video and connect to the internet, transfer any file on my phone.

  • AndroidBrian

    There’s no micro SD on a 8/16gb WiFi only tablet! Nexus phones with no SD, I can kinda understand. But on a tablet?!? You can barely put any media on the device. Isn’t that what tablets are used for most? Media & book reading?

    Google is becoming apple sadly. I say this because Google did what was best for them and not the customer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google takes away the ability to add “unknown sources”

    Don’t drink the cloud cool-aid. Its a freaking rip off! Its good to have it available as a option but nothings better than on board storage. Play, open files instantly with out using data and pay once for the SD card instead of the clouds yearly charge.

  • MDS

    Future European Nexus 7 buyer here. I don’t care about the Play Store. I want a fast and compact tablet, and the N7 is just that, for an awesome price. No SD? No problem, plenty of ways to consume media. No 3G? Tethering from my smartphone will handle that.
    I’m going to buy the 16GB version, although I seriously doubt I’ll need more than 8.

  • Benedict Tan

    I’m hoping that the disk space limitations will drive the development of OTG external SSD support for tablet devices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.vlommel Marc Van Lommel

    Yes, not being able to buy any apps in Taiwan makes me frustrated …
    Google playstore refusing sale of pro version in Taiwan
    Too bad Google is becoming a corporate monster that believes it has the right to withhold your pro version from it’s android users in Taiwan. Would buy it from playstore in a wink but can’t.
    They say it’s not compatible with my nexus 7 which is a blatant lie … they just don’t want to sell it as a they don’t agree with some consumer protection laws in Taiwan … who needs protection from a corporate monster? I always believed Google had their costumer’s best interest at heart … obviously not!

    Sincerely,

    Marc Van Lommel

    P.S: it’s not only thos app … it’s a general thing for alomst all apps … really sad we can’t use our nexus 7 to its full potential.