Rise of the Nexus 7 competitors & why you shouldn't purchase them
This CES we saw the rise of Nexus 7 competitors. Unlike the cheap $99 Android tablets of old, looking at you Augen, these tablets are running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a version of Android that is better suited for tablets, and have rather good hardware to back it up. Things have definitely changed since the days of Augen and Android is getting more and more tablet version of apps. For example, Flipboard, a marquee iPad app, finally released an Android tablet version.
Both Vizio and Acer have released tablets that have similar specifications to the Nexus 7. The Vizio one in particular is running nearly identically specifications (same IPS screen, processor (Tegra 3), memory, etc.) They even came up with their own design that mirrors that of a Kindle in size. Basically, a Nexus 7 without the thick bezels. Vizio's commitment to put stock Android on all its devices is a great one and will certainly help in terms of getting software updates. Price is unknown, but one can assume it will be around the $200 price range and maybe even lower if Vizio wants to really with the Nexus 7.
The Acer Iconia B1-A71 has lower specifications, as well as a lower price. At $50 cheaper than the Nexus 7, you get a 7-inch 1024 x 600 screen (instead of 1200 x 800, 169 ppi vs. 216ppi.) You also get a worse and obscure MediaTek processor (1.2 GHz) and half the amount of memory. The assumption can be made that Acer will be putting some sort of skin on Android 4.1, giving any future updates a delay.
The sale of these two tablets to consumers will obviously be the price point, but in my opinion and as sorts of a PSA, consumers should not be buying these tablets.
I believe people should stick with the Nexus line of devices if they want to purchase a tablet. Though they having similarly specifications and are slightly cheaper, the allure of guaranteed and continuous software updates should be much more important. It's smarter to pay $50 more and get steady and quick software updates. True, the Vizio tablet is running stock Android, but arguably there will always be a chance of delay. Who knows what the update situation on the Acer will be, with skin and all.
Consumers maybe don't care about getting the latest and greatest software, but to make a safer purchase and investment go with the Nexus 7.