Last week Apple introduced the iPad Mini, a 7.9-inch screen version of the 10-inch iPad. The smaller iPad starts at $329 for the 16 GB version, $429 for the 32 GB version. People compared it to Google’s Nexus 7, introduced earlier this year, at $199, but that 7-inch tablet came with only 8 GB of memory (you could buy a 16 GB version for $249, a fairer comparison, $80 less than Apple). Amazon’s Kindle Fire is also $199, with 16 GB of memory, but the Kindle platform, based on Google’s Android, doesn’t seem as open an implementation as Google’s own device, and seems mostly to be a conduit for content from Amazon (I could be wrong on that).
Today Google struck back at Apple, introducing a 10-inch screen Nexus to compete against the full size iPad. They also upped the ante by giving their entry level Nexus 7 16 GB of memory for $199 (putting them $130 below the iPad Mini) and offering a 32 GB version for $249 ($180 below the iPad!). The Nexus 7 also has more resolution than the iPad mini even though the screen itself is smaller (7 inches instead of 7.9 inches; it’s a significant difference: the iPad has 27% more screen area). One of the things I like too is the Nexus 7 includes GPS, which the iPad does not (unless you buy one with cellular reception for more money and a monthly fee). A very cool feature, since it doesn’t have cellular data and wi-fi isn’t usually available when I’m on the go, would be if I could download all of Google maps into the Nexus 7, making it a stand-alone GPS navigator. There are other things that go Apple’s way: Apple includes a 5 megapixel camera on the iPad plus another camera for video chat while the Nexus has only a 1.2 megapixel video chat camera. And no doubt there are more apps for the iPad.
The real question is do I need either one of these? I already have the iPod Touch, which does most of what I want just on a tiny screen. I kind of like the idea of a 7-inch device since it would be easier to carry than the 10-inch one. I don’t really read that much on the iPod and that is where the 7-inch screen would be more helpful. Also the videos I watch are encoded at 320 pixels across, so I am afraid that if I blew them up they would look bad. Or I could re-record them off of my DVD’s at a higher resolution, but that would take up more room on my hard drive. Still, the 32 GB Nexus could hold my entire music collection and a big chunk of video, and maybe still leave room for maps of the entire country (world?!), and maybe even Wikipedia.