Google readies knockout blow at Apple’s iPad with $199 Nexus 7 tablet

The tablet computer wars are getting interesting with Google announcing the launch of the Nexus 7 tablet, priced in the US at the Amazon Kindle level of $199, but containing a lot more software goodies including its own version of Apple’s Siri voice ‘concierge.’

The move follows Microsoft’s attempt to segment the tablet market, dominated by Apple’s premium-priced iPad, with its own Surface contender. This armed as it is with a full Windows suite including Word and an in-built keyboard is clearly in (in part at least) at the business market.

Interestingly the Nexus 7 is made by Asus rather than Motorola which Google bought last year. But it shows once again that Goopgle is quite happy to copy its rivals’ practices, in effect adopting Apple’s vertically integrated production model rather than just suppyling cloud-based software.

The company has also unveiled a new ‘black box,’ Nexus Q, which is a move into the TV market, still waiting for Apple’s long-anticipated iTV (or whatever it’s going to be called).

Apple won’t be overly concerned about new entrants to the tablet market as long as the market keeps growing (as it surely will). The iPad may be outsold by Samsung’s Galaxy rival soon but Apple makes a lot more money from each of its products than its rivals do.

And the rush of new tablets will have ad agencies rubbing their hands with glee. Google has recently emerged as a substantial advertiser, spending nearly $2bn a year through a combination of outside agencies and its own Google Creative Lab, now headed by former Wieden+Kennedy creative Iain Tait.

Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung will all be pouring hundreds of millions into a market that didn’t exist three years ago.

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