I bought a Nexus 7 and like most reviewers, I’m very impressed – the Nexus has replaced my iPad. In a few years, most tablets will be this size. If you own a Kindle, you understand how thin, light and portable a 7 inch device can be. It’s easy to carry everywhere.
Despite the fact that Google Android tablets own less than 5% market share (excluding Amazon Android), the Nexus offers quite a bit of content. I use Flipboard, Path, Instagram, Google Reader, LinkedIn and Facebook for social feed data and I read the WSJ, the NYTimes and the New Yorker. All but the New Yorker have at least an application for the Nexus. The Instagram application and the WSJ application stand out as exceptional. Both seemed to be designed for this screen size. I’m waiting for NextIssue to release JellyBean support so I can access the New Yorker, but given the 1 star rating for the app, I’m expecting a terrible experience. Just like the New Yorker iPad app.
In a very short time, there will be a sizable audience with this size screen. Already, the Nexus is selling quickly and is out of stock at most stores. And the iPad 7 inch will be released in a few months. Does this mean developers will contend with 3 major screen sizes: 4, 7 and 10? Perhaps.
Much has been written about how developers should support 7 inch devices. Most of the iPad analyses point to scaling down a 10 inch applications for a 7 inch screen. For a technical explanation, read this. For the Nexus, the reverse is true: most applications are designed for a 4 inch screen for a Galaxy III or Galaxy Nexus.
I suspect Apple and Google will release features into the operating systems to handle app scaling more effectively to abstract out major screen size differences as best they can. Ultimately, the best application developers will build custom applications for the screen sizes and platforms with the most users. I venture the predominant tablet screen size within 18 months is 7 inches.