Steve Jobs Was Wrong: Google’s New Nexus 7 Proves Smaller Tablets Aren’t Completely Worthless

Innovation, the Internet, gadgets, and more.
June 29 2012 6:24 PM

Steve Jobs Was Wrong

Google’s new Nexus 7 proves smaller tablets aren’t completely worthless.

(Continued from Page 1)

But Google, unlike Amazon, doesn’t sell physical stuff, so it can’t justify the low price of the Nexus 7 on the expectation of huge e-commerce sales. Sure, the search company does sell media—you can buy books, music, and subscribe to magazines from the Nexus, but the selection is thin compared with what’s available in Amazon or Apple’s media stores. If you get a Nexus 7, you’re better off relying on other sources for media. For books, install the Kindle app and buy from Amazon. For movies, use the Netflix app. For music, use Spotify.

Well, what about advertising? Google makes most of its money from ads, and boosting advertising revenue is the central goal behind Android. The more Android devices Google sells, the more people use its services, and thus, the more people see its ads. So if Google sells a lot of Nexus 7s, couldn’t it make a lot more money from ads?

Not really. Google makes only about $4 per year in ad revenue from every Android device, according to an analysis by Asymco’s Horace Dediu. So if Google sells 10 million Nexus 7s—far more than anyone expects—it would make $40 million a year from the device. For a company that made nearly $12 billion in profits last year, that’s nothing to crow about. (What’s more, two-thirds of Google’s mobile advertising revenue comes through Apple devices. If people choose the Nexus 7 over the iPad, Google might not be making any more money than it would have anyway.)

Advertisement

Google’s real goal with the Nexus 7 can’t be to make money. Instead, the tablet is a marketing device. Google wants to hop on the tablet train before it’s too late. It’s been two years since the iPad was released, and so far no one has managed to create a plausible alternative. The Nexus 7 is an effort to get people to believe that Android tablets aren’t terrible. It’s good enough to be usable for most people, and just cheap enough to get a lot of folks to give it a try. And if you get the Nexus 7 and find that it isn’t so bad, maybe one day you’ll be willing to give other, not-so-cheap Android tablets a try.

It’s a circuitous plan, and it could well fail. In the meantime, though, you might as well enjoy Google’s pretty good, cheap tablet.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?