Is the Nexus 7 a Viable Business Tool?

By | Jul 24, 2012

Everyone has been getting excited about Google's budget tablet, the Nexus 7, but could this low-cost 7-inch tablet be a useful tool for midsize businesses?

There's no denying that this tablet has a lot to offer. For a start, it ships with the latest version of Google's Android operating system, Jelly Bean, offering major improvements for users of Gingerbread or Honeycomb on other tablets or their smartphones. Jelly Bean improvements include improved voice recognition, updates to some Google applications such as Maps, and the addition of Google Now, which offers location and person specific enhancements. The tablet comes in both 8GB and 16GB versions, with the latter now sold out, according to a PCMag article.

Prices for these tablets are at rock bottom, with the 8GB model at $199 and the 16GB at $249. Most users will enjoy the speed of the Nvidia quad-core Tegra 3 chip and the sharpness of the 1200 x 800 display. However, to bring it in at this affordable price, which makes it attractive from the perspective of managing the IT budget, there have been some omissions that might cause midsize IT admins to question its utility.

What's Missing?

Chief among these is the omission of built-in wireless connectivity--users can only use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet. While this might not be a problem within a home or office setting, there are still plenty of places with patchy Wi-Fi connectivity. Sure, there are Wi-Fi hot spots almost everywhere, but if you're in one of the gaps, almost doesn't count--and your spanking new tablet won't be much use. That means that the Nexus 7 is not always the best option for people looking to connect to their office networks when on the road. They may have to stick to their smartphones so they can use 3G, 4G, and, where available, 4G LTE speeds.

Another significant omission, and one which also affects the Nexus smartphone, is the inability to add memory via an SD card slot. It seems that Google is counting on users using the cloud to store data. Again, this is likely to happen more and more, but it would have been nice to have the option of sticking a file on a card and handing it to someone, especially in an area without Wi-Fi. This may be another sticking point for IT admins.

The Big Decision

Of course, if your midsize business is already a heavy user of Google Apps for Enterprise and has Wi-Fi connectivity in all your major areas of operation, the Nexus 7 will make it easy for employees to have tablets at an affordable price. An added bonus will be quick operating software updates, using Google's own brand. If not, then it may be worth waiting for other options in the 7-inch tablet space, like the rumored 7-inch iPad (see The Next Web for more on this), before making this technology decision.

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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