Apple has finally joined the rat race of the smaller tablets. Although Apple’s late CEO was not in favour of smaller iPad, but the new dispensation at Apple was forced to introduce 7.9 inch iPad mini to take on rising popularity of its key rivals with their highly successful 7 inch tablets namely – Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7-inch), Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD.
Apple iPad mini has a 7.9″ inch IPS display with 1024×768-pixel resolution and comes in 16, 32 and 64GB variants. The tablet runs on a dual-core A5 processor, has a 5MP iSight rear camera and a 1.2MP FaceTime camera. iPad mini offers 10 hours of battery life on full charge, features the new 8-pin Lightning dock and has Bluetooth 4.0. The tablet is compatible with Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G and 4G and cellular networks. Apple is offering the Wi-Fi only iPad Mini in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities at $329, $429 and $519 respectively. For the 4G-compatible versions of the device, users will have to shell out an additional $130 for each variant.
Google Nexus 7 has a 7-inch HD display with 1280×800-pixel resolution and runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The tablet is powered by a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and is available in 8 and 16GB variants, priced at $199 and $249, respectively. Currently, Nexus 7 works only on Wi-Fi networks and does not support 2G, 3G or 4G networks. Other connectivity features of the tablet include Bluetooth, NFC and microUSB. The device has 1GB RAM, 4325mAh battery (300 hours of standby time) and a 1.2MP front camera. Google is reportedly coming out next week with a 32GB version of the Nexus 7 for $249 as well as cellular versions.
Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 with PLS TFT display technology comes in 8, 16 and 32GB variants with 1GB of RAM. It runs on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and supports microSD cards of up to 32GB capacity.
The tablet has a 3MP rear snapper (720p video capture) and VGA front-facing camera. It runs on Wi-Fi as well as 2G and 3G networks (along with 4G LTE in some markets), and supports voice calls. Other features of Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 include microUSB port, Bluetooth 3.0 and 4,000mAh battery. Its price ranges from $199 to $499, depending on the memory capacity and network compatibility.
Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s e-book reader that is available in 16 and 32GB variants at $199 and $249, respectively. The tablet sports a 7-inch IPS TFT touchscreen and works on Wi-Fi, but does not support 2G, 3G and 4G networks. It comes with a 1.3MP front camera and 4,400mAh battery, which offers battery life of approximately 10 hours.
The device is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB RAM and has Bluetooth and microUSB port. The Kindle Fire HD runs on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) but does not offer access to Google Play Store. Instead, users can download apps from Amazon’s own app store.
Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD has a screen size of 7 inches diagonally and 1440 by 900 pixels resolution. Its weight is 0.69 pound and battery life is up to 10.5 hours of reading and up to 9 hours of video. This tablet is driven by Android ICS OS and priced $199 for 8GB and $229 for 16 GB. Selection of third-party applications is small and it lacks cameras and option for cellular broadband.
Although iPad Mini is priced higher compared to other competitive tablets but still Apple has an edge as far as its vast repository of 275,000 apps for iPad, ease of operation and longer battery life and of course brand equity of iPad. According to our estimate, in the coming months, Apple will sell more Mini iPad compared to its own regular iPad because of its size, weight and price. It will not impact much as far as its competitive tablets are concerned because they have got the price advantage and may discount their prices little bit to catch on with holidays sale, if the need arises.