Is The Nexus 9 Tablet a Contender?

Nexus 9 (Sand)

Today I’m going to test this theory: Google went high-stakes in the premium tablet game and lost.

I’m definitely bringing my own bias to this equation; I’ve been a big fan of the cheap and cheerful Nexus 7 tablet, and posted yesterday about Google jumping the shark with premium pricing for the Nexus 6.

When I first wrote about Volantis I wondered if it could be a credible alternative to Apple’s iPad. I think it was a bold move for Google to reveal it a day before Apple refreshed their iPad line. But now that the dust has settled I’m not sure if their gambit paid off.

So, with its 8.9 inch screen the Nexus 9 fits in nicely between the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2:

iPad mini 3

Screen
7.9 inch IPS @ 2048 x 1536 pixels / 326 ppi

Notable Features
Touch ID / Apple Pay

Available Colours
Silver / Gold / Space Grey

Sample Price
64 GB WiFi only: $499 USD

Nexus 9

Screen
8.9 inch IPS @ 2048 x 1536 pixels / 287 ppi

Notable Features
Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound™
Available first-party keyboard stand (sold separately)

Available Colours
Indigo Black / Lunar White / Sand

Sample Price
32 GB WiFi only: $499 USD

iPad Air 2

Screen
9.7 inch IPS @ 2048 x 1536 pixels / 264 ppi

Notable Features
“Impossibly Thin”
Touch ID / Apple Pay

Available Colours
Silver / Gold / Space Grey

Sample Price
64 GB WiFi only: $599 USD

Here’s my issue: Why is there no 64 GB option for the Nexus 9? There’s going to be a 64 GB Nexus 6, and a tablet is arguably much more of a media consumption device than a phone is. There’s a 16 GB Nexus 9 which doesn’t make sense at all; I’ve got 16 GB on my 2013 Nexus 7, and  every time I go to download a new game I’m reminded that I should have paid more for the 32 GB model.

Granted, part of this argument is silly. I don’t expect any iPad user to be wooed by a Nexus 9 at any price; nor is an Android enthusiast like myself likely to even consider an iPad anytime soon. But for the first-time tablet buyer, presented with the choice of a 64 GB iPad mini and 32 GB Nexus 9 at the same price, isn’t the iPad the better value?

I never thought I be saying that about an Apple product, but here we are. Competing on price seems to have served Google pretty well with their last two phones and tablets; going after the high end of the market and trying to beat Apple at their own game smacks of hubris more than anything else.

At any rate, I think Google just blew it in the tablet market. What do you think?