Will Nexus 7 beat iPad Mini by out-cooling it?

To coincide with the launch of the new Nexus 7, Google releases one very touching ad. And that seems to be it for now. Is that enough to beat the ad onslaught that will come with a new iPad Mini?

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
Cool? Google/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I want to take you to a world that some might never be able to imagine.

It's a world in which Google is cooler than Apple.

I know, I know. In this world, the devil must be ice-skating.

Still, you'll find quite a few sentient humans who'll tell you that the Nexus 7 is better than the iPad Mini.

They're talking about the new Nexus 7. I'm talking about the old one.

I chose a Nexus 7 over the iPad Mini for the simple reason that it felt better. No, this might not be the way you buy things. But I can live with that if you can.

I use it mostly to watch TV shows and movies, as I wander about the house searching for inspiration, last night's party guests, and my orange sneakers.

Yes, I put up with the user interface, which looks like it was designed by the same man who designed hieroglyphics -- except that the work he performed for Google was done late at night, with ouzo oozing from his pores.

Still, the product works for me.

So when the new one came along with its shiny screen and glorious reviews, I was fascinated to see how Google would market it.

The answer, at least so far, is one charming ad featuring a boy trying to get a girl by trying to conquer his fear of public speaking.

I fancy many won't have seen this ad.

It certainly hasn't adorned my sports watching over the last few days, and I'm wondering if that's deliberate.

You know that when Apple comes out with its next iPad Mini, it will offer advertising in so many breaks that it'll seem like a break only when you don't see an Apple ad.

Yet, in Nexus 7, Google has a product that even a human (as opposed to techie) consensus is impressed with and yet is being released more through the positive feelings it's engendered, rather than a vast marketing push.

This might be because more ads are coming, but, in the rush of these things, they just aren't ready.

It might also be that Google is trying to let Apple flood the market more and more with ads that aren't being well-received, while itself standing back and looking, can one even conceive it, cool.

That would be an interesting strategy. Over the last couple of years, Google hasn't been afraid of public speaking.

Its advertising has been far more cleverly focused on real humans and has often delivered a warm, modern glow. Even the latest ad for Chromecast shows a company that's actually interested in you, for a change.

Google has never seemed entirely sure how to advertise its hardware products. Originally, the company thought it could sell Nexus phones without any real advertising at all.

And yet with the Nexus 7, it clearly has an excellent product on its hands.

Of course Apple isn't (entirely) panicking.

Because it's built a vast emotional well of commitment (as well as a severe emotional dependence on its ecosystem) from its customers over many years, those customers forgive more easily when a product isn't quite there -- or is even very late in coming.

Yet its ever-increasing global ambitions force upon it certain compromises that might cut into its public perception.

The Nexus 7 is a cool little thing. How might Google capitalize on that?