NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This is a 7-inch tablet made by Asus that is running the pure Google (GOOG) "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 threatto Apple ( AAPL) and Amazon ( AMZN)? 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.
Yeah, except the device you just handed out to those 6,000 people.According to Google: "Good for me, but not for thee."
The lack of embedded cellular data modem is a serious drawback forthose of us who primarily use our tablets when we are on the go -- butalmost never at home. At home, we have this wonderful thing called alaptop -- and in particular the Google Chromebook made by Samsung,which boots up instantly, as opposed to Windows and Mac laptops. Sono need to use a tablet in the house.
But when we're walking down the street and making very quick stops,but we don't want to carry a 3-pound-or-so laptop, and we don't want totake up that much space at the cafe table, or just want more privacyin our computing experience, a tablet is ideal. However, we alsodon't want to carry a separate portable WiFi hotspot or connect topublic WiFi. That's why embedded cellular data is so critical for atleast some customers.
AT&T's Glenn Lurie has pointed out that tablet consumers who haveembedded cellular connectivity are much more satisfied than WiFi-onlycustomers. I suspect that this is in turn a function of the fact thatthey use their devices more -- like me, when you're walking down thestreet.