* Google offers movies, books for sale along with Nexus 7
* Online sales start on Tuesday, in retail stores on Oct. 2
* Google looks for low-cost tablet to drive content sales
TOKYO, Sept 25 Google Inc launched its
Nexus 7 tablet in Japan, as well as local language movies and
books, in what has rapidly become one of its biggest global
markets for digital downloads.
Japan is the first country in Asia outside Australia to sell
the 16-gigabyte device, which went on sale online Tuesday for
19,800 yen ($250) and will be available in retail stores on Oct.
2. The device is already available in France, Germany, Spain,
Canada, the UK and the United States, according to Google.
Japan has rapidly embraced the smartphone, with devices
running Google's Android operating system tripling in the past
year, according to Google. Google said that Japan now ranks
third in terms of downloaded applications from its Play store.
Google makes most of its money from advertising and with the
rise of mobile users, is seeing increasing traffic to its
YouTube video website. In Japan and South Korea, more than half
of YouTube downloads are from mobile devices, some of the
highest ratios in the world.
Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, attended the
launch and later told a briefing that growth in the smartphone
market would lead to a boom in new startup companies in Japan
focused on shopping.
"It is the defining platform and the defining battle in our
industry," he said.
While Google has long lagged Yahoo Japan in the domestic
search market, in launching the tablet and downloadable content,
it has stolen a march on Amazon.com Inc, which has yet
to launch its own Kindle in Japan. Local player Rakuten Inc
launched its own e-reader device, the Kobo, in July.
The primary challenge has been persuading local content
providers to share content. Google said that in addition to the
movies for rent it has offered Japanese consumers, it would for
the first time sell movies from Sony Corp and
In addition, Google will begin providing Japanese-language
book titles on Google Play. The Android system allows users to
read the same titles and pick up where they lift off on another
The global tablet market is dominated by Apple Inc
and its iPad, which represented about 70 percent of global sales
in the second quarter, and also includes Barnes & Noble Inc's
Nook and Samsung Electronic's Galaxy Tab.