Google unveiled an update to their cost-friendly Nexus 7 tablet at an event in San Francisco today. The new slate retails for $229 and features a 1080p display. How much longer will Apple wait to introduce a Retina-powered iPad Mini?
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Does Google’s 1080p Nexus 7 make Retina iPad Mini more important than ever?

Google has just wrapped up the announcement of a refreshed version of the Nexus 7, their 7-inch, budget-minded Android tablet. For $229 (for a 16GB model), the slate delivers a pretty tempting spec list that includes a quad-core processor, 5MP rear camera, and 1920×1200 resolution display in a slim, portable package. But let’s rewind to that 7-inch, 1920×1200 display.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 9.17.11 AM

In contrast, the current generation iPad Mini, which starts at $329 for 16GB, sports a 1024×768 resolution display measuring in at just a hair under 8 inches. The math equates to 163 pixels per inch. For the new Nexus 7? 323 pixels per inch, which falls well within Steve Jobs’ definition of a “retina display.”

Apple never claimed the iPad Mini was a “budget” device, but it’s hard to ignore the differential in pricing versus specs, even if we only focus on the display. This is at a point where rumors claim Apple hasn’t quite settled on whether or not to include a Retina Display in their next-gen iPad Mini, or when such an update would launch.

While Apple will always demand a premium for build quality and design — something the ASUS-built Nexus 7 to this point hasn’t touched — display resolution is a key marketing factor for smartphones and tablets. It’s feasible to believe some cost conscious consumers would run with the cheaper slate that offers seemingly better specs. My point is, if Apple is still waffling on the inclusion of a Retina Display in the next iPad Mini, Google and their Nexus 7 pretty much just made the decision for them.

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  • Norman

    I have the first Nexus 7, my sister has the iPad Mini.
    The screen of the iPad mini is better, no doubt about it ….
    So alltough the resolution is high of this screen, that doesn’t make it a good screen.

    • OptimusKLP

      Why isn’t it a good screen?

  • James Rogers

    I would agree with this, The iPad’s screen is brighter and much better color reproduction. I was pretty disappointed with the Nexus 7’s screen.

    As for a Retina Mini, I don’t think it is a big concern. The original Nexus 7 sold descent numbers, but didn’t even put a dent in the iPad’s sales. This one won’t either. Apple needs to make sure the battery life, size, and weight are right before that release a new model.

    • Walkop

      The New Nexus 7, though, has a 30% increase in its color reproduction over the original. It’s also brighter, much higher resolution, and has dual stereo speakers. Plus wireless charging, which is actually a very nice feature. You don’t realize it until you use it (like the MagSafe on the MBs).

      As sales; the Nexus 7 made up approximately 10% of all Android tablet sales according to Google. Since Android has approximately ~50% tablet market share, that’s about 5% of all sales. I’m betting that the iPad Mini made up ~20% of all tablet sales? So still, quite a large margin. (iPad Mini sales are estimated by me from general memory, though).

      If it’s anything better than the Nexus 10, it’ll be great. The Nexus 10 is an awesome display, although the colors are apparently not fantastic (Android 4.3 seems to improve colour reproduction, though). If the Nexus 7 is better, it is a solid display. You simply cannot discount a high resolution display like this one: it’s like jumping from the original iPad to the retina iPad. It’s an insane improvement. Then again, personal preference does tie in and I cannot ignore the near-perfect colour representation on the iPad and iPad Mini. But this big of a jump in resolution is just so much better than better colors, at least for me.

      Not that the iPad Mini isn’t a solid tablet, but it’s still a first-generation product. The Nexus 7 is simply more mature. The build on the Mini is absolutely fantastic, one of the best out there, but again —all reports for the new Nexus 7 say that it’s build quality is much better than its predecessor. Plus, the SoC is multiple times more powerful, and the storage is faster, to boot!

      I look forward to what Apple puts forward next, but even CNET agrees that the Nexus 7 is the best small tablet out there. Until the new Mini!

      (side-note: I don’t plan on getting the new Nexus 7. I already have other devices, and my 10″ tablet suits my needs fine at the moment.).

    • shonangreg

      Of course the Nexus 7 put a dent in iPad sales. In Japan, for instance, the iPad dominated the tablet market, to something like 90%, if memory serves. When the Nexus 7 came out, though, it alone jumped up to over 40% of the tablet market.

      It is OK to mix iOS and android devices. I’ve thought about replacing my carrier encumbered Galaxy Note with an iPhone. As long as it could do WiFi tethering better than what I have now, I could continue using my Nexus 7 and ThinkPad Tablet (1) as usual, er, better than usual. I’d probably go light on apps for the iPhone, but still, variety is nice. Don’t cheat yourself by not tasting what the competition has to offer.

      You can also get a ruggedized, waterproof, used android phone for GPS tracking and bluetooth audio playing (using a micro-SD for local music storage). You can’t do this with an old iPhone. And you don’t have to buy any apps to make it work.