Nexus 7 continually selling out in Australia


news Google’s popular Nexus 7 tablet has been selling out repeatedly since it launched in Australia in late July, according to the tablet’s manufacturer ASUS, in what may mark the first commercially successful launch of a tablet computer in Australia apart from Apple’s market-dominating iPad.

The Nexus 7 is the first tablet to run the new ‘Jelly Bean’ version of Google’s Android operating system, as well as being one of the first Android tablets to depart from the 10″ form factor popularised by Apple’s iPad and go for a smaller, 7″ form factor. The device also features a number of other headline specifications — a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, a 1280×800 backlit IPS HD display and a 4325mAh battery, although it does lack mobile broadband access through 3G or 4G networks.

The Nexus 7 was available at launch to Australian customers, who could order in the device from overseas, but it also went on sale, according to several reports (PCWorld Australia, Gizmodo) through a large variety of Australian retailers — Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi, Dick Smith, Bing Lee, The Good Guys, Retravision, Radio Rentals, Officeworks, EB Games, Costco, BSR and other authorised ASUS resellers.

In response to a question from an Australian Twitter user on how many Nexus 7 units had been sold in Australia so far, the Twitter account of ASUS Australia wrote yesterday: “No official figures for [Australia], but we’ve sold out of every shipment that has come in and have done so in around 1 or 2 weeks each.” This response was first reported by AusDroid.

The device is relatively unique in the tablet marketplace in that it is a full-powered device with the latest specifications, but is selling at quite a modest price — just $319 for the 16GB model in retail stores, or $249 online through Google’s store direct. This means the tablet compares favourably with Apple’s market-leading iPad, which starts at $429 for the older iPad 2 generation, or from $539 for the newer model.

If the Nexus 7 is selling out repeatedly in Australia — as it also appears to be doing in the US and UK — it could indicate a changing dynamic in terms of the tablet market share locally.

Research published by analyst house Telsyte in February revealed that Apple sold about one million iPads in Australia in 2011, representing around 76 percent of the total local market for the new burgeoning tablet category. Other estimates have placed Apple’s market share as high as 80 or even 90 percent, with other players using the such as Samsung, Acer, Toshiba, Motorola and others failing to make much of a dint in Apple’s local market share despite launching around a dozen new tablets in Australia over the past several years. Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has been similarly unpopular. Earlier research published in December 2011 by IDC also showed Android tablet growth slowing.

Perhaps the largest rival to Apple’s iPad over that period in Australia has been Amazon’s Kindle line of eBook readers, which has some models — such as the Kindle Fire — which mimick some of the functionality found on the iPad. The Kindle Fire didn’t launch in Australia, but saw strong interest from Australians when it was launched internationally. The company’s e-ink Kindles have been very strongly popular in Australia and are the dominant eBook readers locally.

I have seen very strong interest in the Nexus 7 from Delimiter readers and others. Based on this, the sheer breadth of the distribution agreements which ASUS has in place in Australia and ASUS’ new statements about its local stock selling out, I would say that the Nexus 7 is already the leading alternative to the iPad in Australia right now. If Google can keep up the stock and not run out, I anticipate we will see a lot of Nexus 7 tablets selling in Australia.

Why is this? Well, to some extent commentators have been calling this all along. The Nexus 7 offers two advantages over the iPad. Firstly, it comes in the 7″ form factor which many people prefer over Apple’s large 10″ size. And secondly, it’s simply cheaper than the iPad — and the price is not too far off that magic “impulse buy” figure of a couple of hundred dollars. When you start to go above $300, many Australians will hesitate a lot. But when the price is closer to $200, many people will jump.

Then, too, Android has been getting pretty solid recently, and the chance to pick up Jelly Bean on a tablet before it gradually arrives on smartphones over the next six months or so makes the Nexus 7 very appealing to those of us who follow such things. I’m getting a Nexus 7 review unit in this week, so I’ll be able to test it out in detail shortly.

I should also note that the speed at which Google and ASUS have been able to get the Nexus 7 to market in Australia surprised me. I wrote back in June that I expected the Nexus 7 to hit local retailers much later in 2012. As it is, by getting the Nexus 7 to market so quickly, the tablet is falling in between Apple’s iPad release cycle, meaning it is likely winning over quite a few customers who would otherwise be looking forward to the next iPad.

Image credit: Google


  1. Good to see. Maybe this will motivate Google to expand its full Google Play catalogue to Australia.

    I very nearly bought a Nexus7, but thought I’d fence sit for a bit and see how well developers take to producing some good quality tablet optimised apps for the 7″ 1280×800 form factor (even though most phone apps do scale pretty well to 7″ its not the same). I just wish it had an SD card slot too, but I realise Google had to leave at least one selling point for other cheap Android tablets.

    A question to Nexus owners/experts here: How well does Google Now do in Australia? Is it crippled in a similar fashion to Apple’s Siri? (great in the US, but heavily limited in Aus by lack of local map integration). Or does Google Now perform just as well in Australia as it does in the US?

    • My experience of Google Now might be tainted, as I have my phone set up with as a US device, but for the most part it is only as limited as the sum of its parts. Allow me to explain what I mean.

      Google Now is, essentially, a voice command system for controlling your phone so when I run into a brick wall it is usually because of the limitation of an application, not the Now service itself. For example Google Maps, walking directions are in beta (I’m unsure if this is limited to Australia but it was something I noticed), so when it suggests directions to frequently visited place and realises you walk it defaults to public transport instead.

      Basically since the knowledge graph has been implemented in Australia nothing from the Now service has been missing. I haven’t found it crippled like some of there other services have been in the past, like Maps Navigation, or the lack of Google Wallet, Phone, Magazines, Music etc.

      • Thanks Ian. That’s the info I was after. Good to know Google Now’s functionality isn’t restricted, and of course its capabilities to hook into local data and apps are only going to get better each update (nice that you have vanilla Android, and therefore get those updates directly from Google too).

    • Google Now? It can tell me the weather…

      …not much else, despite it presumably having Google+ and my Google Calendar to draw from.

    • For me Google Now works locally for few features that is relevant to my daily processes ( Which are:

      i) provide navigation and suggested time to leave based on current traffic for upcoming Calendar appointments (i go by car but it also has public transport)

      ii) Tell me how long it’ll take to get to work and home (need to have location tracking on i believe, and also for you to have set where work and home is). Its scarily good at knowing when you head to work and home…

      Im not a sport fan, frequent flyer, or local business searcher, so I cant comment on related Google Now functionality.

      Overall – at the moment I find its functionality marginally helping me (perhaps im not used to relying on it yet), but am looking forward to when they expand the functionality and relevance of Google Now.

      • Interesting. Thanks for the info. A couple of things I’ve picked up from vids of Google Now in action that I prefer over Apple’s Siri:

        1. The voice sounds much more natural and-human-like.
        2. Its speaks back at you less, which is good. I don’t want witty quips from my phone. I just want it to do what I want as fast as possible. Siri’s answers can be helpful, but overblown and even downright unnecessary “here, I found this for you” – yeah no shit Siri, given you’re displaying it on screen! ;-)

        That being said Siri is getting a ton of upgrades in iOS6 (even simple things like finally being able to open 3rd party apps) and potentially an API for 3rd party developers to hook into, which will expand its usefulness greatly. I presume Google Now has or will have an API for devs?

        • Simon Reidy – I actually havent given Google Now’s voice support a workout, something for me to get try out :-)

          I’m not sure about Google Now and APIs yet, but I’d assume Google would open it up either when its more mature or if there’s a driver to open it up to 3rd party asap.

          I believe they still see it as in ‘beta’ in that its more for enthusiasts than mainstream. They mention that it will keep improving as time goes on (im assuming they’ll add new features based on current beta usage for more refined features).

          • Thanks Nogz. I have hacked Siri on my iPhone4 just for fun, but I prefer the way Google Now functions (just going by videos) with it’s more natural voice and cards based system. I’d rather just get the info I’m after straight away which Google Now is good at, where as Siri tends to reply via voice to every enquiry, and/or read everything back to you and asks for confirmation for actions, so it can be quite a bit slower.

            Siri’s natural language processing is still very impressive though, so at this stage it seems fairly neck and neck with Google Now, features wise. Apple is also expected to open up Siri’s API to 3rd party developers sometime this year, which should make it much more useful. It’s also getting a significant boost in functionality with iOS6.

            Both systems are in their infancy so it will be interesting to watch their capabilities grow over the coming years.

  2. I believe the $249 price is for the 8GB version, online. For Australians, at least. $299 plus shipping (for the 16GB version) brings it to around $319, which is what retailers are offering it at (although JB were down to $314 during the week when I checked).

    I love it, and that it can fit into my jeans and work-pants pockets so easily. Only real issues I’ve noticed so far are lack of support for the 7″ screen in some apps (eg Commbank), and low wifi signal causing screen flickering.

    I set up bluetooth tethering on my iphone 3GS, as awfully slow as that is, just to avoid using my iphone for anything other than calls/imessage/hero academy/taking photos. Because screw iOS when you have Jelly Bean. Also, not really finding myself reaching for my ipad3.

  3. I saw it in Office Works today. Given that I recently bought an ASUS TF300T (32G) including docing station for < $500.00, at $314.00 the Nexus 16G seems a little expensive.

    Bring on the Pad Wars. Can't be long now….

    • If there was a keyboard attachment at exactly the same price as the Transformer Dock is priced (135-150 dollars) the nexus (which has broadly the same insides as your tf300) would come out to 450 dollars.

      I see the pricing as broadly in-line there.

      • The TF300T is a 10″ device and has better connectivity. However, connectivity is probably not an issue as long as the device has wifi.

    • There’s not much chance of it being false now, given its been confirmed by so many independent sources (including John Gruber who always gets the accurate inside goss). Its just a matter of when. My guess is given we havent seen any production leaks yet, that they won’t launch it until the end of the year, or maybe even hold off to launch it with the “new new iPad” early next year.

  4. Ordered an RMA on mine yesterday, got a faulty one unfortunately, google ship one out to you with a parcel to return it in, all shipping free, they do put a holding amount of $299 on your card until your other device is returned however.

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