NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This is a 7-inch tablet made by Asus that is running the pure Google (GOOG - Get Report) "Nexus" version of Android, and it will be shipping within the next couple of weeks. You can buy it directly from Google for a bargain $199 by going to play.google.com and order it already.
The first thing on the investor's mind is of course: Is this a threat to
(AAPL - Get Report) and
(AMZN - Get Report)? The answer is yes, but with some caveats with respect to Apple. This little tablet powerhouse offers most of the iPad's performance at the price of the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is a powerful proposition -- for those who have a chance to try it.
But for many reasons, in its current format it will not knock Apple off its market-leading position. Let's just start with marketing. A tablet is something most people buy only after having touched it and played with it. The place to do that is the Apple store. Game over.
Google doesn't have stores, and physical retailers who may carry this tablet in the future are, in the consumer's minds, relatively seedy places such as Fry's and Best Buy (BBY) -- simply not in the same league as the Apple stores. The only competitor to those are the Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) stores, but there are only 20 or so of those, and obviously they won't be carrying this Google-based product.I will be discussing the actual product metrics below, but until Google opens 500 or so stores world-wide, in premium locations, just like Apple, it can offer a superior product all day long, at lower prices, and Apple will remain the market leader. Google has tens of billions of dollars in cash, and this is the best way invest it, capische? All right, so what about the actual product? The answer is that it is excellent. Class-leading. Second to none. Let's start by outlining the positives:
Yeah, except the device you just handed out to those 6,000 people. According to Google: "Good for me, but not for thee."