Google’s Nexus 7 2 vs. Apple’s iPad mini 2 vs. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD 2

In 2012, we saw a very intense competition between three major companies (namely Apple, Google and Amazon) on the 7 inch tablet market. Each of these three companies launched a 7 inch tablet last year: Apple launched the iPad mini, Google launched the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon launched the Kindle Fire HD. All of them are amazing tablets and were received extremely well by critics and consumers alike. Now, after a year, Apple, Google and Amazon are getting ready to release the second series of products in the iPad mini, Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD lines.

In June 2012, at the Google I/O annual developer conference, Google unveiled the Nexus 7. The tablet was launched a month later, in July. The Google Nexus 7 was produced by ASUS and sold on the Google Play Store. It came with high end specs for 2012: a 7 inch display, a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core CPU, 1 GB of memory, Wi-Fi and NFC (near field communication). Besides being the first tablet from Google, the Nexus 7 was also the first device to come with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (in the mean time it was replaced by version 4.2 also named Jelly Bean). It was also a very cheap 7 inch tablet, having a starting price of just $199 (and going up to $250).

You probably know that the Google Nexus 7 was a critical and commercial success, selling approx 4.5 – 4.6 million units in 2012 alone, and gaining many “Tablet of the Year” and “Gadget of the Year” awards. When it was released, the Google Nexus 7 went head to head with 9.7 inch tablets from Apple and Amazon; however, not long after its release, competition started to appear: Apple released its 7.9 inch iPad tablet, the iPad mini (Apple’s first attempt to make a smaller tablet) and Amazon released the Kindle Fire HD, the first in its line to come with a HD resolution.

Both the iPad mini and the Kindle Fire HD were successful and they also joined Google’s Nexus 7 as the first tablets in the 7 inch range. Given the success enjoyed by all three companies with their respective 7 inch tablets, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are getting ready to release successors to these tablets, that are rumored to be released by the end of 2013. Apple is rumored to be making the iPad mini 2, Google is rumored to launch the Nexus 7 2 (which once again will be developed by ASUS) and Amazon is also rumored to be preparing the Kindle Fire HD 2 with a supposed 2013 launch. As we were excited about the previous models in each of these lines of tablets, we are for these three rumored tablet and now that we are closing to their unveiling (and eventual release), we take the time to analyze what we know about each of them and compare them with each other.

The Google Nexus 7 2 to be released first

While all of the three upcoming 7 inch tablets are the subject of many rumors, one of the most probable rumor is that the Google Nexus 7 2 will be the first to be released. Some of these rumors point to a release this month, though there are other rumors that give a larger period – the Summer. The tablet is said to come with Android 4.3 installed and since we are very close to Android 4.3′s release, it does seem that the rumors are right and the Google Nexus 7 2 is just around the corner. On the other side of the spectrum are the iPad mini 2′s and the Kindle Fire HD 2′s rumored release dates, as both are rumored to be released much later, at the end of this year. That shouldn’t come as a surprise though.

The second generation iPad mini is rumored to make its appearance this fall, but not earlier. The current iPad mini was released before the holidays in 2012, and it still is a very good option if you are thinking about getting a 7 inch tablet. The fact that it is doing relatively ok when it comes to sell, might be one of the reasons why Apple is in no hurry to release the second generation iPad mini. Of course, eventually they will be forced to replace the current model, but as it is now, we don’t see the iPad mini 2 being released earlier than late September.

kindle fire vs fire hd design 300x124 Googles Nexus 7 2 vs. Apples iPad mini 2 vs. Amazons Kindle Fire HD 2

Regarding the Kindle Fire HD 2, there was a recent leak that revealed Amazon’s plans for the tablet; while the leak did not mention a concrete release date, it did mentioned that Amazon will launch its 7 inch tablet later this year. The current Amazon Kindle Fire HD was not released until September  so we will assume that Amazon will keep the release pattern; so there is absolutely no reason to expect the Kindle Fire HD 2 being released earlier than September. This means that the Google Nexus 7 2 has the biggest chance to be released first out of the three tablets; the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2 might be released second by the look of things, and the Apple iPad mini 2 will probably be the last of the three to be released.

Improved hardware

The Google Nexus 7 2, the Apple iPad mini 2 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2 will succeeded high end tablets so it’s only natural that they would upgrade their predecessor’s hardware (display, CPU, camera, etc). We are certain that Google, Apple and Amazon will bring hardware improvements to their respective tablets.

What we can expect to be better in all three tablets is display resolution – which will almost certainly be increased. As rumors have it, the iPad mini 2 will come with a much needed Retina display, a very big improvement over the current iPad mini’s display. When it comes to the next Google Nexus 7, you can expect a 7 inch display featuring an increased resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, an upgrade over the current Nexus 7′s display resolution of 1280 × 800 pixels. Last but not least, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2 is rumored to feature a display resolution of 1,900 x 1,200, quite an upgrade from the current Kindle Fire HD’s resolution.

A similar upgrade will probably be the CPU of all three tablets, as they are expected to be powered by faster up to date processors. Google’s next generation Nexus 7 is said to be powered by a very powerful quad core CPU, the Snapdragon 600. Of course, Apple and Amazon are probably going to include similarly powerful CPUs in their respective tablets. One other hardware upgrade that you should expect to see in all three tablets is built in 4G LTE, including in the next generation Google Nexus 7, whose predecessor supported 3G only. So as you can see, it’s a certainty that all three upcoming tablets will feature better, improved hardware; that is very good news for those of you that play games on your tablet.

The same screen size

In the ‘certainties’ category, you can also include the screen size; it is very unlikely that any of these upcoming tablets will change its screen’s size. According to rumors, the tablets will keep their predecessor’s screen size: the next generation Nexus 7 will feature a 7 inch display just like the current Nexus 7, the second generation iPad mini will have the same 7.9 inch display as the current iPad mini and the Kindle Fire HD will most likely keep the current 7 inch display size.

If thing won’t be different in this front, then the iPad mini 2 will have the biggest display (just like the iPad mini currently has the biggest display in the 7 inch tablet category) which means a lot in terms of space when playing game or reading ebooks.

Different software

As you would expect all three tablets, the next generation Google Nexus 7, the iPad mini 2 and the Kindle Fire HD 2 will have very different software. If the rumors are true and the iPad mini 2 will be released last, later this year, it will most certainly come with iOS 7, the latest mobile Operating System from Apple. We have covered iOS 7 on our site since its unveiling at this year’s WWDC, but if you don’t know anything about it it’s safe to say that it is quite different from iOS 6, the OS that you can find in the current iPad mini.

Regarding the other two upcoming tablets, the Nexus 7 2 and the Kindle Fire HD 2, they will of course come with Android as their respective OS. The second generation Nexus 7 will probably come with Android 4.3 JellyBean, while the Kindle Fire HD 2 might feature an earlier Android version. As the Nexus 7 is a Google device, its Operating System is very important as it is a pure Android tablet, exactly as Google intends people to experience Android – no manufacturer software or anything else, just a pure Android experience.

As we mentioned in the above paragraph, Amazon’s next generation Kindle Fire HD will also come with the Android OS, but it will be a different experience than on the Google Nexus 7 2 due to a customized appearance. Amazon has already done this before: put a skin over Android so that it won’t look like Android. That is actually one of the reasons why Amazon’s tablets don’t get big Android updates. The next gen Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2 will probably have new Amazon services that would be exclusive to Amazon’s tablet. It will also feature Amazon Appstore access (a Store similar to the Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store).

Price points won’t be modified

While we don’t have any official information on pricing, we don’t expect the price of the upcoming Nexus 7 2, second gen iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD 2 to be vastly different than their predecessors’ price. All three companies would want to remain competitive and that means setting a price in the $200 – $350 range, exactly as was the case with the current Nexus 7, iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD when they were released last year. Google’s and Amazon’s tablets started form $199 and we figure this price point will be kept for the Nexus 7 2 and the Kindle Fire HD 2, even though there have been a few rumors about the Nexus 7 2 coming with an increased price.

As for Apple’s next generation iPad mini, everybody knows that carries its product’s price points over the entire generation, so it is fair to expect a similar price point to that of the current iPad mini ($330), even though the second generation will have upgraded hardware. Of course, nothing is set in stone and until we get official word on pricing, everything is subject to change. However, even if the prices do fluctuate, don’t expect steep discounts or increases in starting price points.