Less than 10 days after Microsoft (MSFT) released its Surface tablet, Google (GOOG) unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet Wednesday at its I/O developers' conference, delving into the hardware business for the first time.
Google has partnered with Taiwan-based company Asus to produce its new 7-inch device, which fits in the palm of your hand. It features a 1280 x 800 HD display, Wi-fi and Bluetooth capabilities and Google's new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. The tablet will sell for $199 and will ship starting mid-July.
A tablet war may be bewing. There is Apple's (AAPL) $499 iPad 3 and the iPad 2, which sells for $399. Then there is Amazon's (AMZN) $199 Fire Kindle and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was just temporarily banned in the U.S. at the request of Apple over patent infringement.
Apple created the tablet market with the launch of its first iPad in August 2010. Since then, Apple has shipped 67 million tablets through the second quarter of 2012. In the first quarter of this year the company held 68 percent of the market share for tablets, according to IDC.
With the wave of new tablet devices hitting the market, it is obvious that every hardware (and now software) company wants to get in on the tablet craze and take a piece of the market away from Apple.
But Apple has nothing to worry about, according to Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets who follows hardware and networking technology. He does not believe anyone can touch the iPad. He calls it the "Rolls Royce" of the tablet world due to the "superior materials" Apple uses, such as the iPad 3's new retina display. Apple currently has 650,000 apps available in the Apple Store, with 250,000 of those tailored for the iPad. Google on the other hand has 600,000 apps available for its devices, but not many are available on tablet devices.
According to White's latest research note, IDC estimates the iPad will increase its overall market share in 2012. The iPad controlled 58 percent of the market in 2011. The technology research firm also predicts Android tablets will become less popular, with market share falling from 38.7 percent last year to 36.5 percent in 2012.
While Google's Nexus 7 may be new competition for Amazon's Fire, White calls it "just another Android device" and tells The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task in the accompanying video, "I don't think it is a big deal" for Apple.
White currently has a $1111 twelve-month price target on Apple, making him the most bullish Apple analyst on the Street.
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