Google surprised by Nexus 7 16GB demand? Why?

Apparently Google is surprised by the demand for the 16GB Nexus 7. I'm not sure why.

First, the apparent $50 difference in prices really isn't $50. The 8GB model is only available through the Play Store and Google charges $15 US or $20 CDN shipping. The 16GB model can be purchased from several retail stores so that price difference between the models is reduced to $30 to $35. Had I known this before I pre-ordered, I too definitely would have waited for the 16GB model (which would have meant waiting less than I did for the 8GB).

Second, without expandable storage, there is definitely a perception that the 8GB model will run out of space far too quickly. Although there are solutions, most people just aren't aware of them or just want something simpler.

Finally, Google really should have known that the market for a $250 tablet was very strong. It is still well below the $400 mark of most 10-inch tablets.

It is unfortunate Google was so desperate to get "below" the $200 mark. They could have simplified by having a single model at the $250 price point, added in a couple of other missing features that were referenced in various reviews (like expandable storage, HDMI, and a rear camera), and still actually made a slight profit from the sale of every unit.

Why Google shouldn't sell hardware

Don't be evil. That's the informal motto of Google. Unfortunately, they can't seem to keep themselves from doing wrong, even if it's not intentional.

The Nexus 7 tablet is one of the most anticipated gadgets of the year. Google has been tight-lipped about how many were pre-ordered when the tablet was officially announced on June 27, but I was among those who decided to bite.

A couple of weeks passed and rumours of shipping dates started to pop up. Then pictures started popping up of retail stores with boxes of the tablets that apparently couldn't be sold until some unknown date.

"Surely Google won't let those get sold unless they've already shipped my pre-order, right?"

The first rumblings began as those who pre-ordered did not get any update on their order, even as it became more and more clear that retail stores really did have stock ready to sell.

Then, last Friday, the retail stores were clearly given the green light by Google, and anyone was able to walk into several retail chains (including GameStop!) and just buy a Nexus 7 right off the shelf. Those who had pre-ordered still hadn't been given any update on their order. No credit card charge. No tracking number. Nothing. To add insult to injury, Google levied a hefty shipping charge for those that pre-ordered ($20 CDN, $15 US, and £10 in the UK). Essentially, if you pre-ordered through Google Play, you were paying extra to wait until others already had the device.

Some contacted Google to cancel their order and were told their only recourse was to refuse the delivery, and after a few weeks would get their money refunded (no word on if that includes getting the shipping charge refunded).

Needless to say, Google screwed up. Throughout this entire process they have not said a word, outside of the not-so-cute tweet/post, "Locked and loaded, ready to play: we’ve started shipping +Nexus 7 pre-orders today!" I think it's safe to say that many, myself included, will not be pre-ordering anything from Google until they have demonstrated that they know how to handle it properly.

As for my own order, I do have a tracking number now. Sadly, I won't have it until a week after I could have just walked into a GameStop and bought one.

Why No Expandable Storage in the Nexus 7 Doesn't Matter

While not shipping just yet, there are plenty of reviews of Google's new Nexus 7 tablet. Most of the reviews I have read complain about the lack of expandable storage options. The Nexus 7 does not have a MicroSD slot, nor does its USB port support mass storage devices.

At first I was definitely agreeing with the reviewers. If you install a few of the bigger games onto the tablet, there really won't be much room left for high quality videos to take with me on the road. I travel in the US a lot, so it's not really feasible to depend on cloud services when using a very limited data plan shared from my phone....

Shared from my phone?

That was it. I always have my phone with me (except for when I drop and break it). My phone has a 32GB MicroSD card, and I already have the ability to share my phone's content using Twonky. All that is necessary is to enable the WiFi hotspot (whether I'm connected to cellular data or not), and my phone becomes a portable media server with expandable storage.

Granted, there are some limitations. I'm not sure this is the best solution if flying. I know that some airlines now have on-board WiFi, but I do not know what the policy is with respect to firing up your own hotspot.