Google Nexus Mobile Devices: How They Shape Up Against Apple Products

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-11-01

Google Nexus Mobile Devices: How They Shape Up Against Apple Products

Google is ready for a fight with Apple. The company recently announced two new devices in its Nexus line—a smartphone called the Nexus 4 and a larger tablet that will be known as the Nexus 10. As one might expect, given recent naming conventions in the mobile space, the 4 and 10 represent the products' respective screen sizes.

The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 complement Google's previously announced Nexus 7, a tablet that comes with a 7-inch display and is designed to compete against the likes of Amazon's Kindle Fire and Apple's iPad Mini.

It's that battle for preeminence that is perhaps the most interesting aspect of Google's Nexus line. For years, Google has been content to partner with device makers and offer a so-called "Nexus" product for the main purpose of promoting its Android operating system. Now, though, Google has partnered with companies to deliver its own branded devices to take on other hardware makers. Like Microsoft with its Surface tablet, Google's Nexus line is an attempt on the search giant's part to achieve new (and perhaps greater) things in the mobile device market.

Here is what Google is trying to achieve with its Nexus product line.

1. There's something for everyone

One of the nice things about Google's Nexus line now is that there's a mobile product for just about any customer. Looking for a smartphone? The Nexus 4 is for you. Need a lightweight, cheap tablet? The Nexus 7 is your winner. Even the Nexus 10 will satisfy customers looking for a more high-end experience.

2. Price is on Google's side

When comparing Google's mobile products to those from companies like Apple, it's hard to find fault in the Nexus devices. The Nexus 7 starts at $199, making it much cheaper than the $329 iPad Mini. And at just $399 for the Nexus 10, Apple's iPad, which kicks off at $499, looks awfully expensive in comparison. If nothing else, price is on Google's side.

3. Design is not a strong suit for the Nexus Devices

Google's Nexus line isn't going to win many points for the aesthetic design of the devices. They come with a basic smartphone or tablet design with rounded edges and a black finish. Compared to Apple's iPhones and iPads, the Nexus devices are rather ugly.

4. Screen quality is on Google's mind

Google has made it abundantly clear to all who will listen that screen quality matters. That's probably why the Nexus 10 comes with a display that has 300 pixels per inch, beating out Apple's Retina display with 264 pixels per inch. Those looking for a high-definition viewing experience might find a lot to like in the Nexus 10.

Google Nexus Mobile Devices: How They Shape Up Against Apple Products

5. There's Google integration everywhere

Google has integrated its many services into its mobile products. From Google Earth to Gmail, each of the Nexus devices comes with the company's top services. Whether that's a good thing or bad thing is up to the individual customer.

6. 4G LTE connectivity is missing

Oddly, Google has decided against bundling 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in any of its Nexus products. The Nexus 4, for example, only supports 3G and Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+). The company's Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 offer Web connectivity via WiFi. Google made a curious decision to leave LTE service out of its Nexus line and one that flies in the face of today's mobile trend of faster data.

7. There's a real victory on screen size

Google has claimed victory on the screen size war with Apple. And there might be good reason for that. The company's Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch display, easily dwarfing the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen. And with a 10-inch Nexus 10, Google is besting the iPad's 9.7-inch display. The only place Google falls short is on the Nexus 7, where Apple's 7.9-inch screen is larger. But overall, Google is delivering more screen real estate to customers.

8. Fragmentation? What fragmentation?

One of the nice things about the Nexus line is that it doesn't worry customers with fragmentation. When buying an Android device from third-party vendors, consumers need to be aware of which version of the software comes with the product. If it's an older version, it'll be obsolete out of the box. Unfortunately, it happens quite a bit. Google, though, is bundling the latest Android versions in its Nexus line; this ensures fragmentation doesn't bite its customers.

9. Google Play is strong

The Nexus line supports the Google Play store. For those who haven't been there, Google Play is home to everything from apps to movies to music. And by nearly all accounts, it's on-par with competing services, like Apple's iTunes or Amazon's MP3 store.

10. It's only the beginning

Looking ahead, there's no reason to believe that Google will abandon its push into the mobile market for the long term. So far, the Nexus line has proven popular among consumers, and Google's recent decision to expand its offerings seems to indicate its desire to bring more devices to customers. If the Nexus line intrigues you now, get ready for even more updates in the coming months and years.

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