Only 7-inches, but these tablets created a big buzz in 2012

Tablets are the future of smart computing and in the year 2012 while the smartphones got bigger, the tablets got smaller this year. Here's a look at three 7-inch tablets that were the talk of 2012.

Tablets are the future of smart computing and in the year 2012 while the smartphones got bigger, the tablets got smaller. Thanks to a slew of releases, the 10-inch iPad has some serious competitors and while their screen size might be only 7-inches, we feel these three tablets have managed to create a buzz globally.

So why are these devices on the list? We've taken these three devices because they were definitely the most talked about online in 2012, and consumers were keen to know everything about them. From features and prices to reviews, these three 7-inch tablets were the talk of 2012 for good reasons and bad.

The Nexus 7: This Google tablet co-manufactured with Asus has a seven-inch screen, but don't let the size fool you. The tablet which was announced at Google's i/o conference in June, was the first 7-incher to house a 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, which includes a 12-core GPU. Not only did it have speed, the device had price on its side as well. It costs only $200, though in India it was launched for Rs 19,999, which is a tad pricey but hey, it's still cheaper than the iPad mini.

The tablet also comes with the pure Google OS, Android Jelly Bean 4.1 ( at the time of the release) and this was upgraded to Jelly Bean 4.2 in November when Google launched the Nexus 10. So yes for Android fans who want the pure Google OS, this is the tablet to go for.

Only 7-inches, but these tablets created a big buzz in 2012

The Nexus 7 and the iPad mini in this combo photo. AFP

In terms of sales, the Nexus 7 did very well, despite the fact that only the 32GB version has cellular connectivity. According to Asus, Nexus 7 sales were close to 1 million a month. And according to IDC data, AsusTek saw its tablet shipments more than triple to 2.4 million and at the end of Q3 2012 it had a market share of 8.6 percent, up from 3.8 percent.

And yes, for the tech reviewers, this was an amazingly fast tablet. As this CNET review highlights:

the Nexus 7 feels lighter than the Kindle Fire and the soft, textured back makes the tablet comfortable to hold. Apps loaded quickly... The screen looks great, feels responsive, and the tablet already does a good job of demonstrating its power in games and movie performance.

Not only was it a fast tablet with a decent screen resolution (1280x800 pixels), and thus it set the bar for all the other tiny tablets.

The iPad mini:The big question with the iPad mini was always if Apple would launch a $200 device. Apple and cheap don't always feature in the same sentence and perhaps the biggest disappointment with the iPad mini was its price. The 16GB version with just Wi-Fi starts at a whopping $329 while 16GB version with Wi-Fi plus cellular connectivity starts at $429. In India the device launched at Rs 21,900 which is still cheap considering the new iPod Touch starts Rs 23,900.

But yes, the iPad mini does come withcellular connectivity and for those who want to stay connected at all times, this would have been the perfect choice. The iPad mini has ahas a dual-core A5 processor clocked at 1 GHZ, with a 7.9 inch screen (diagonally) and a screen resolution of 1024768 pixels, making it around 163 pixels per inch.

Remember it also comes witha 5 megapixel rear camera and a 1.2 megapixel front FaceTime Camera unlike the Nexus 7 which doesn't have a rear camera. So for those who can't get through a day without clicking a picture, the iPad mini holds the edge.

Fortech reviewers, the screen was a big let down as far as the iPad mini was concerned. Admittedly it is a powerful device that runs smoothly without any lag, but for Apple fans who are used to 'Retina Display' the screen just didn't cut it.

But that didn't mean the device didn't do well. According to this report, Apple iPad mini sales exceeded expectations. Apple expects to ship nearly 8 million of thesedevices, which is still pretty high considering that a lot of people believe that the tablet is over-priced.

The rumour is that in 2013 Apple will launch the iPad mini 2 with Retina Display. Should Google be worried?

The Kindle Fire HD:After the launch of the Nexus 7 with its superior screen and processor, the question was whether Amazon could reply to Google's challenge. And it did. The Kindle Fire HD was launched in September. Amazon's new version of the 7-inch tablet now has an HD screen but the processor is still the dual-core one. So yes, images and videos were sharper, but in terms of speed and OS, Amazon's Kindle has a long way to go.

The Kindle Fire HD still does not support cellular connectivity and while it does run Android 4.0, it's still a watered-down version of the OS. Kindle Fire HD is being sold at $199, so in terms of price it is Nexus 7's biggest competitor.

For those who order a lot of content from Amazon such as books, movies, etc, the Kindle Fire HD is definitely a better option. However for tech critics, the Kindle Fire HD was a major disappointment.

Amazon is still the number 3 supplier for tablets worldwide and has a market share of 9 percent. The question is whether the next version of the Kindle Fire will offer something drastic to hold on to its position in this highly competitive segment.

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