Is the iPad 3 Hearing Nexus 7 Footsteps?

By | Jul 24, 2012

In the very short term the news was a bit embarrassing for Google: The Nexus 7 was out of stock at the Google Play store. But this also suggests that Apple and the iPad 3 may no longer have the tablet market locked up. And for the IT community at midsize firms it means that the mobility revolution is about to become more complicated, but also more textured and flexible.

Flying Off the Shelves

As Dan Farber reports at CNET, the immediate problem for Google seems to be that it guessed wrong about which Nexus 7 model would draw the strongest consumer demand. The 8GB version of the Android tablet, which sells for $199, was expected to be the biggest seller. Instead, the 16GB model, pricier at $249, has been the one flying off the shelves. Google apparently thought online buyers would be more willing to keep their content in the cloud, but consumers are paying more to keep their content on their device. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retailers are also having trouble keeping it in stock.

Other tablet makers, of course, would give their eyeteeth to have Google's problem. The idea that there is no real tablet market, only an iPad market, currently ruled by the iPad 3, has become widely accepted. But reviews and early sales suggest that the iPad may at last be facing real competition.

Most immediately under the gun may be Microsoft. As Brook Crothers notes, also at CNET, it may need to bring out its Surface tablet or be left in the dust behind the Nexus as well as the iPad.

Reshaping BYOD

In the era of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in IT, the sudden growth of tablet competition is no longer just a consumer story. As employees insist on using their smartphones and other personal mobile devices in the workplace, IT managers at midsize firms must wrestle with security and technical issues relating to mobile operating systems.

But until now, the secret of BYOD is that it was mainly about iGadgets, the iOS operating system, and the Apple App Store.

Now, suddenly, the playing field is expanding to include Android in a much more serious way. And Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system may muscle its way into the picture as well, especially if Surface debuts well.

From an IT perspective, each comes with its own potential advantages. Google-sponsored Nexus provides more consistency than the welter of earlier Android devices. This may encourage IT shops to take advantage of Android's flexibility and configurability. Meanwhile, a strong mobile version of Windows offers the familiarity of Windows.

For IT managers at midsize firms, the BYOD picture is suddenly getting more complex. This will pose problems, but in time it may also offer advantages. Either way, it can no longer be ignored.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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