Move over, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN). You too, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS). Another tech stock is jumping into the electronic tablet pool.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) introduced the Nexus 7 – the company’s first-ever e-tablet – at its annual developers conference today. The search-engine giant’s tablet will be similar in size and price ($199) to Amazon’s popular Kindle Fire device. Like other e-tablets, the Nexus 7 will enable users to read books and view other media. However, it will also include several new features, including voice-activated typing and audio responses to verbal Internet searches.
Google’s move into the e-tablet fray comes just a week after Microsoft introduced its new Surface tablet. That came on the heels of Barnes & Noble releasing a Nook Tablet e-reader back in November, intended to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad – the dominant force in the e-tablet market.
Google shares are up 1% today on news of its expected e-tablet announcement.
However, the tech stock is still down close to 12% in 2012, and is trading near its eight-month low. Google’s sales growth has been slowing of late, and is expected to slow even further this year.
Will releasing an e-tablet turn the tide for the stagnating company? Competition will be fierce. Just ask Barnes & Noble, whose fiscal fourth-quarter earnings were way down thanks in part to an 11% quarter-over-quarter drop in its Nook sales.
Google has way more visibility and name notoriety than Barnes & Noble, however. So perhaps it is one of the few companies that has the clout to go toe to toe with Apple on its own e-tablet turf.
It will be interesting to see how Nexus 7 sales stack up against sales of Microsoft’s Surface, as both products represent the two tech giants’ first crack at entering the increasingly simmering tablet war.