Google recently unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet, a device made in partnership with Asus which closely resembles Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. The biggest difference? Instead of a slow, customized version of Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," it runs the perky new Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean." And instead of being tied in to Amazon's "Appstore" and services like Cloud Drive, it uses the Google Play store and Google's proprietary (not open-source like the rest of Android) apps.
So, how are the rivals faring against each other so far?
The Nexus 7 is selling out
That's according to ZDNet's Ed Burnette, who reported on more than a half-dozen retailers' statements that the Nexus 7 tablet was out of stock or back ordered. Whether you want the $199 8 GB model or the $249 16 GB model, online and brick-and-mortar stores from Gamestop to Sam's Club simply don't have it in stock. The one place that's actually selling the Nexus 7 right now is the Google Play website, and it only has the 8 GB model in stock; the 16 GB version, with double the amount of flash memory, is listed as shipping "in 1 - 2 weeks."
The Kindle Fire isn't expected to sell as well now
Cnet's Roger Cheng reports that Cowen analyst Kevin Kopelman cut his forecast on Amazon's revenue and sales of its Kindle Fire tablet. He expects the Kindle Fire will sell 12 million units this year, 2 million less than his previous forecast of 14 million, because of the Nexus 7.
How accurate is the forecast?
The actual number of Kindle Fires shipped by Amazon is up for debate, since Amazon doesn't publish sales figures. And Cheng's article doesn't say how Kopelman came up with the 12 million Kindle Fire forecast. There are a couple of other factors to consider, though ... specifically, new tablets.
Competition both for Google and Amazon
A lot of industry watchers believe Apple's preparing a 7.85-inch "iPad Mini," which would be priced to compete with tablets such as Google's. It may simply be wishful thinking, but the reports are widespread and have even reached the New York Times, with supposed insider leaks. Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced its upcoming "Surface tablet" running the Windows 8 operating system, although it still hasn't announced a price or release date or let reporters try out the keyboard. (It also hasn't announced plans for a 7-inch version, although "JJ" of Shifted2U has published a supposed leak which describes a 7-inch "Xbox Surface" tablet.)
Barnes and Noble, meanwhile, continues to sell its 7-inch Nook Color and Nook Tablet, both online and at its in-person retail stores.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.