Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was in Tokyo earlier today to show off the company’s flagship tablet, the Nexus 7, to a Japanese audience for the first time. The tablet is now available from the Play store at ¥19,800 (about $254) for the 16GB model. This coincides with the new launch of Google Play Books in Japan with a fairly solid selection of local content.
Schmidt was eager to express his enthusiasm for Google finally offering its Nexus tablet for the Japanese market. Schmidt was quoted as saying that Japan has the third highest number of Google Play installs worldwide and, at 75 percent, customers in Japan proportionally make more purchases on their devices than anywhere else. Starting October 2nd, the Nexus 7 will also be available at brick and mortar Japanese retailers such as Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, and Joshin — likely an essential move for any success in the country.
This is part of Google’s continued focus to expand its brand and vision beyond the shores of the United States. Most recently, the Nexus 7 had a release in Europe which has had its own success. Google certainly has quite the challenge however as this is an area where Apple thrives and Amazon consistently stumbles. Japan though is a potentially huge market for Google with the ability for them to crack an area Apple has failed to do so – with eReaders.
The true challenge becomes with Google’s lack of branding strength in the land of the rising sun. Android phones are popular in Japan, but as a brand Google isn’t as able to rely on its tech elite status as it is elsewhere. Japan is one of the few countries in the world where Google isn’t the number one search engine, with Yahoo Japan having held the top spot for several years.