Manufacturers seem to find Android tablets a finicky market. The first mobile operating system tablets included the Apple iPad and the Motorola Xoom. The original iPad had a 9.7-inch screen and many of us will remember how Apple claimed nobody would buy smaller tablets (or large smartphones, but, let’s not get distracted here!). Google took Apple’s small tablet snobbery and beat it with the most sensible branch in the tree and out popped the Google Nexus 7 in the summer of 2012. The ‘7 offered the reasonable specification of a Nvidia Tegra 3 clocked at up to 1.2 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, 8 or 16 GB of storage (later the 8 GB model was dropped and a 32 GB version added) and a 7.0-inch 720p screen at an outstanding price. The original Nexus 7 sold well and was replaced a year later by an updated 7.0-inch Nexus tablet.
Apple released a smaller tablet, called the iPad Mini, with a screen a couple of inches smaller than the full size model. Google released a 10.1-inch tablet, the Nexus 10. Phones have been getting bigger over the last few years and now. Google have just released the Nexus 9, with an 8.9-inch screen. Smaller than the Nexus 10, bigger than the Nexus 7: are manufacturers still looking for the perfect size tablet? Good luck with that as surely this is an individual thing, but now we’re seeing rumors that various manufacturers are planning to release supersized versions of their tablets. Sony and Samsung have been linked with 12-inch or bigger tablets, perhaps following Microsoft’s 12-inch Surface Pro 3. Samsung already sell the 12.2-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro tablet and have been linked with an even larger tablet.
It’s perhaps inevitable given that consumers are buying larger and larger ‘phones. The new Nexus 6 is right between the previous generation Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 5, and the previous small Nexus tablet, the Nexus 7. Could the Nexus 6 replace both a Nexus 5 and a Nexus 7? Would the Nexus 9 be feeling a little bit small in this crowd, so would customers prefer a larger screen model? Bezels are getting smaller, which means we are seeing larger screen devices that fit inside the same chassis size. But there’s only so thin a bezel we can see before tablets start to lose their structural strength.
For me, I’m not convinced. One of the strengths of the Nexus 7 models is that they were inexpensive but combined power with portability. My bag isn’t going to get any bigger; I can fit a 10-inch tablet in there and my Chromebook, but not a 13-inch tablet. I don’t expect a 13-inch Samsung tablet to be cheap (especially given as tablets tend to cost more than Chromebooks). I don’t think any manufacturer will take Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 sales figure gains all too seriously given the earlier generation devices were not commercially successful. Strong gains in sales from a low base is a way of saying they didn’t disappoint as much! However, I’d like to be proven wrong. Maybe the larger tablets are just what we’ve been waiting for: let us know in the comments below.