Google recently unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet at its I/O developers conference at the end of June, and critics, analysts, and tech enthusiasts have wondered how it will stack up to the competition. Now professionals have torn the new device apart to see just what makes the Nexus 7 stand out from its rivals.
Analysts from IHS iSuppli performed a full teardown on the Google tablet, which revealed that the gadget's interior is awfully similar to Amazon's Kindle Fire. After gutting the Nexus 7 and examining its components, the researchers found that the low-end gigabyte model of the tablet, priced at $199, costs $151.75 to manufacture, according to AllThingsD. The higher-end model containing 16GB, selling for $249, costs $159.25 to build, with the memory chips differentiating the two.
Leader of the teardown team at IHS iSuppli Andrew Rassweiler said he believes that Google will break even on its 8GB of the model, and will profit more from the 16GB edition.
Like Apple, Google realizes it can boost its profit margin by offering more memory at a stair-step price point, he said to AllThingsD. It's getting $50 more at retail for only $7.50 more in hardware cost, which sends $42.50 per unit straight to the bottom line.
Based on its hardware, the Nexus 7 can be described as a more enhanced version of the Amazon Kindle Fire. The Google-branded tablet features the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor as its primary computing engine. The Tegra 3 is a four-core chip, which means that it has four main processing brains powering the device. Contrastingly, the Kindle Fire has a two-core OMAP 4430 processor from Texas Instruments, who also supplied two chips for the Nexus 7. One is a power management chip and the other is a low-voltage transmitter.
In addition to the quad-core processor, the Asus-manufactured tablet has visuals superior to the Amazon device, featuring a 1,280 pixels high by 800 pixels wide display. The Kindle Fire sports 1,024 by 600 for its display. The Nexus 7 also incorporates in-plane switching technology, which is the same feature thought to be behind the image ghosting issue with Apple's new line of Retina display MacBook Pros. This bumps up the hardware cost of the Nexus 7 to $38, while that of the Kindle Fire is at $35, Rassweiler said to AllThingsD.
Google's new gadget also contains up-to-date features such as Near Field Communication (NFC) compatibility and a camera that Amazon's Kindle Fire lacks. The camera added an extra $2.50 to the manufacturing costs behind the Nexus 7, which puts overall figures at about $18 more than the Kindle Fire.
One noteworthy tech spec that Rassweiler pointed out to AllThingsD is the InvenSense gyroscope and accelerometer. These gyroscopes are common to see in devices, but it's rare to see it combined with the same accelerometer chip. Both of these parts are used to determine the position and movement of the tablet, and the only other gadget to feature this combination is Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone.
Reviews of Google's Nexus 7 have referred to the slate as the best tablet users can purchase for $200, but PCWorld does write that Google Play doesn't compare to Amazon's content selection available for the Kindle Fire. Critics have also bought into Google's Project Butter, which will be integrated into Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The idea behind this notion is to make the new operating system more responsive and fluid than previous versions of the software.
This little guy actually performs better than its bigger brothers, writes Tim Stevens of Engadget when referring to the Nexus 7 performance compared to other Asus-made tabs.
Check out CNet's hands-on experience with the newest competitor to enter the tablet industry in the video below.