It’s finally happening. Common sense and practicality is clearing the fog caused by the introduction of a ground breaking device by Apple in April 2010. The iPad came in only one screen size; 9.7 inches. The device became the mould in which all other tablets began to be made. Then in November 2010, Samsung came along and released the 7″ Galaxy Tab. The device underwhelmed me. It was choppy and under-powered and Android 2.2 was clearly not meant for tablets.
But that 7″ size really excited me in spite of the fact that a lot of people were not happy with the smaller screen. I genuinely felt that their problem wasn’t with the screen size, but with the fact the the Tab wasn’t an iPad. That size was the perfect fit for a lot of things. But there was no device close to the fit and polish of the iPad and since the iPad was cheaper than the Galaxy Tab at the time, I bought the iPad as well.
Last year Amazon released the Kindle Fire. A 7″ tablet with their highly customized version of Android. Apparently it’s done well. Then in July this year Google released the Nexus 7, their flagship 7″ tablet. This too has done well. Mind you, when I say done well doesn’t mean that they have come anywhere close to the numbers that the iPad has sold. However, for devices that a lot of people said would never work, because people would rather buy an iPad, they have done well.
For me, the 7″ still remains the ideal size for a tablet, and now since Apple is finally admitting that they think the same, it’s all good. It’s a given that Apple always planned to have a smaller size of iPad. It would be silly to think that they are releasing a 7″ iPad just because of the Fire and the Nexus 7, but it would also be silly to think that this isn’t one of their data points. The success / lack of apparent failure of the Fire and the Nexus 7 means that the market is ready for a well made 7″ tablet.
People speculate as to the timing of the release and the effect that it might have on the sales original iPad. I believe that the 7″ will sell a lot more than the original iPad ever did. This will in turn give a boost to other manufacturers to make and release high quality 7″ tablets. Maybe even a 7″ Microsoft Surface.
I think that the time of the 7″ tablets is definitely here and I for one am extremely glad. Reading, carrying and all other issues related to tablets just got easier to deal with.