The Google Nexus 7 is right now one of the most popular 7-inch tablets out there, and considering it’s a Nexus-branded device ready to offer buyers a pure Android experience, it will probably become one of the best sold tablets of the year.

Google is yet to mention sales numbers for the device that started shipping last week and which is currently sold out with certain third-party retailers, but Digitimes reports that according to “industry sources” the Search giant may ship as many as 2.5-3 million units this year.

That may not seem like an impressive number, as the tablet is only available in a limited number of markets right now, but will Google hurt its partners when it comes to overall tablet sales and profits? The Nexus 7 doesn’t, and can’t, target the iPad – Apple is expected to sell tens of millions of iPads each quarter – but instead it’s meant to compete against the Kindle Fire, a product Google can’t afford to ignore.

Amazon’s tablet became popular with the crowds because it’s an affordable device, ready to offer a good enough experience for that price, not to mention access to the company’s digital content stores.

Google has adopted the same model, selling the device at cost, hoping to prevent users from jumping ship to Amazon and have them immersed in an improved Google Play environment instead. But while Google can sell the Nexus 7 without making any profits because users would then spend more money in its digital stores, other Android makers won’t be able to enjoy the same perks.

And they won’t be able to come up with similarly priced devices ready to offer a similar experience. Google did say that’s plenty of room left for innovation in the tablet environment, implying that its product will not hurt tablet sales from its Android partners, but the fact is that each Nexus 7 buyer is a customer that may have chosen an Android tablet from a different OEM. At the same time, that customer may have chosen the iPad too, so having him or her purchase a Nexus 7 instead is a better alternative for Google.

But, and I’ll say this again, Apple may sell as many as 30 million iPads by the end of the year (that’s a guesstimate from my part), that’s not counting what it has already sold in the first two quarters. And Apple did not cut the price of its tablets once the Nexus 7 launched. And Apple also has its digital stores in place that can be accessed almost in full in more markets that Google Play is available in, which means Apple too can make plenty of money off of its digital offerings.

Meanwhile, other Android device makers will have to suck it up, and fight even harder for a piece of the (Android) tablet ecosystem. The same Digitimes reports that various OEMs including Samsung, Asus and Acer, have started to cut the prices of their tablet offerings in order to better adapt to the new competition from Google’s tablet:

Samsung, which enjoys a high level of brand recognition, cut slightly the prices of its tablets in order to cope with increasing competition and to pave the way for the launch of its own new models.

But for Acer and Asustek Computer, they seem to have adopted the same strategy of lowering the prices of their 10.1-inch models to the levels close to those quoted for 7-inch models by Google or other rivals in order to attract consumers.

So is the Nexus 7 a wolf in sheep’s clothing for the Android tablet ecosystem? We’ll be able to better asses that in the following months when we’ll find out more details about tablet sales from the most important players in the business.

Finally, there’s also one more negative effect of the Nexus 7 that we can’t overlook – the iPad mini. Apple was rumored since last year to be working on a 7.85-inch iOS tablet, but the company didn’t make it public. Then the Kindle Fire appeared and the Google Nexus 7 rolled out seven months later revealing that there’s a certain share of the population that’s interested in purchasing cheaper tablets – but not the very cheapest, as there are various cheap Android tablets from unrecognized brands that don’t enjoy the popularity of the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7. And that could be a good enough reason for Apple to launch its smaller iPad this fall/winter. Android tablet makers will then have to fight against the smaller tablet as well.

What tablet are you buying this year?

  • Robhimself79

    Hoping for either a nexus 10 or a Google version of the Asus transformer with a better price.

    • Joe Blow

      I agree. I want a Nexus 10 with HDMI out, 2 full full USB slots, optional docking keyboard, 2+ GB RAM, Super-HD-OMG-whatever resolution, 20+ hours battery life and weigh less than an iPad. All of this for $199 and I’d buy one.

      • Robhimself79

        I think 400 is reasonable. 600 is way too much for a tablet. Its just too much for something that does less than a laptop for less money. 200 is a great price for a 7″ tablet. A slightly larger screen shouldn’t be much more.

  • Keith0606

    bought the nexus 7 16gb, i must say i’m more impressed with it by the minute. Only complaints, colors are not as vibrant as some panels and I wish there was HDMI out (frankly might use that a handful of times though). Other than that so far it’s awesome, project butter really worked.

    • EddieT

      wait awhile for someone to come out with a HDMI adapter

  • Marty Ballard

    I just got my Nexus 7 last night. It is an amazing device!!!

  • Paradise

    I’ve already bought Asus Transformer TF300. Great device, I’m completely satisfied.

  • Hrw

    I do have Archos G9 80 and do not want tablet without external storage, usb port and hdmi output.

    • EddieT

      it has a micro usb port

  • I really don’t see the use of a tablet… it’s more of an expensive toy (albeit maybe not as expensive now that the nexus 7 is out).

    • EddieT

      since, Google condensed Google Maps onto the device, i’m going to use it in my car as my audio/video source.. the 7 inch screen is perfect for that application.. and when i’m on the go.. i can just slip it in my front pocket of my slacks or khaki pants front pocket.. which by the way it fits nicely

      • will Google maps work without an Internet connection or will you be tethering?

        • praks

          There will be support for Google maps to go offline :)

    • ozlanthos

      I was in your shoes a year or two ago. The fact is that now that I have a Nexus 7, I feel like I have deleted a lot of my access limitations. The way I see it, if your job simply involves a computer and a phone line, this device makes it to where you can work ANYWHERE! If you had a PUTTY app, you could sign into your machine at home or work from it, retrieve that document you forgot to email to yourself, edit it, and still get it turned into your boss on the second day of your vacation! Then you could make a video call to your boss to let him know it’s done. The future is here, and the Nexus 7 is but a small window into it! Honestly though I really wish it did have an HDMI out, and a micro-SD card slot, but who knows, maybe they will come out with a docking keyboard with such additions!


  • always feel a slant towards apple with android authority posts… not hurting the ipad? yah right.. i know a lot of gen 1 ipad owners who are switching to android now with the nexus 7.. bet this also drives sales for the next nexus phone too and even current nexus phone.. more people are going to start demanding a pure google experience and updates right when they are released from google.. the nexus tablet is setting the software bar and everyone else is going to have to fall in line or fail.

  • Nic Gillespie

    Sold my iPad for one, don’t see a need for it anymore with apples nonstop lawsuits my apps wont be supporting iOS anymore. Its only 26% of the market anyways who needs them.

  • Perry Ahern

    Received my Nexus 7 16gb yesterday and I’m loving it. My only complaints are external to the device: the way the ball was dropped on pre-order shipping and the case from the Play store (I’m not liking it for multiple reasons, already looking for another case).

    Is it a threat to other Android tablet manufacturers? Yes. It’s an amazing device at a low price that they probably can’t afford to match.

  • viaimages

    I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a Google Nexus 7 tablet. Don’t plan on getting rid of either.

  • Well, got mine yesterday and this thing is sick. Just sick, wow.

  • I just bought a Transformer Pad Infinity and tossed and turned deciding whether I should get a Nexus 7 or a Transformer Pad Infinity. The pros and cons that I saw of the Nexus 7 over the Infinity (at least for me) were as follows:

    Lower cost
    Immediate updates to latest Android OS
    Easier to handle while in bed due to its size

    Too limited memory (The Nexus 7 16 gb of memory is even half of the memory I have on my phone and that is already cramped)
    No possibility of keyboard dock, which would make my intended use of it as a laptop alternative while traveling hard
    No expansion ports (SD, etc)

    In the end, at least for me, the cons outweighed the pros and ended swaying me to the Infinity. I can definitively see many users going to either side of the fence comparing the Nexus 7 to other tablets, so I think if tablet manufacturers are smart enough about the features they add to their own tablets they should be able to still obtain decent enough market share ….now, if Google makes a more complete line of Nexus tablets , that may become a lot harder for tablet manufacturers. …For example, for my use case, if they had a 10 inch tablet with more memory that may have swayed me the nexus way even without a keyboard dock.

  • Droindfan

    This is a gateway product. Already been reports of nexus devices coming from 5 oems in last half 2012. There is plenty of room for variations on the Nexus 7…to fit wants of consumers. Extra storage, 3/4g, hdmi out….on and on and on. And those variations will make room for profit of the oems. Oh and Nexus 10.1 anyone?

  • Neel Gupta

    It’s a Nexus device, the brand other Android OEMs try to imitate or upgrade upon. It has pure Android, the OS and UI that other Android OEMs try to imitate or customize.