It's hard to call out a fad so early, but the trendy 7in tablet has all the earmarks of one. Google's new Nexus 7, the "gotta have it" item du jour – which has sold out of the 16GB version on the Play store – only perpetuates this forthcoming craze. Much of the excitement is because of the £159 price point (for the 8GB model). Samsung has a similar budget pitched 7in tablet on the go, which sneaks under the £200 mark.
This is leaving Apple flat-footed rather than at the head of the pack. The funny thing here is that Apple is behind the pack when it comes to making its iPhone bigger, and is now behind the pack in making the iPad smaller.
Well, as many of you know, I do not find tablets that useful. I've played with them and I'll admit that they are very cool. Some people can whip them out at meetings to show an online example of something they are explaining. Other people can sit and read books on them. They are great on airplanes for playing card games or watching movies. I get all that.
But the 7in tablet, to me, is a giant mobile phone. Just look at the Nexus 7. It is exactly the same as the Galaxy Nexus, only bigger. Is it too big to be an actual phone, though? No, it could be a phone! A giant phone! The Galaxy Note is a big phone. The Nexus 7 can be a bigger one.
Why is it called the Nexus 7 anyway? To me, Google began to roll out its mobile phone with a specific "Nexus" name to indicate "phone." There is no Nexus laptop. There is a Chromebook. So the Nexus 7 is what it looks and feels like: A huge phone.
I don’t know what happened. I suspect at some design meeting, someone came along and said, "Hey dudes, this phone you’re designing is too damn big! Are you nuts?"
The designers looked at the phone, looked at Shaquille O'Neal, the consultant, and said, "Oh my goodness, he's right! This phone is way too big. Whose idea was this? What are we going to do?"
Well, they made it a small tablet instead. That's my theory as to how this thing ever showed up at all.
The giveaway, of course, is the Nexus moniker. Nexus means "phone" to the market. It's not the Android 7 or the Chrome 7, is it? Now Google will have to use the name on all its flat-screen products. Or perhaps it hopes nobody will notice.
But what about using this device as a phone? The company made it without any radios for cell coverage, but I'm sure those can be put back.
I've held this thing to my head as if it was a cell phone and, to be honest, it could easily work. Yes, it is too big and kind of looks silly. But how silly? If certain celebrities began to use a monster cell phone, how long would it take for the gullible public to follow suit? It would be like the guys with those humongous boom boxes who walked around in the 1980s thinking it was cool.
I can assure you that if Ashton Kutcher and Lady Gaga began using a 7in phone, everyone would. The size of the phone is a function of fashion and can waver from large, to small, to large again. "Oh, you have one of those huge phones! How cool!"
And, of course, it could also be a useless tablet. Now all Google has to do is make it happen!