Google Intends To Release $199 Nexus Tablet?

The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets are two low cost Android tablets that are arguably the first Android tablets to be very successful, especially as gifts during this past holiday season. The $ 500+ iPads are nice, but not everyone is willing to pay that much money for a secondary computing device (the PC isn’t dead yet!). There is also the form factor issue in that many consumers prefer the smaller and more portable 7″ tablets that Apple has yet to provide.

It seems as though Google has taken notice of the success of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet and is ready to throw it’s weight around and show manufacturers how to replicate that success with a reference 7″ tablet of their very own. Much akin to the Google Nexus smart phones that Google released to act as a base / vanilla platform for manufacturers to base their designs on; Google is planning to release a Google Nexus Tablet. Recent rumors suggest that such an Android tablet is a “done deal” according to sources within Google’s supply chain. Further, the Nexus tablet will allegedly feature a 7″ form factor and will be powered by a TI OMAP 4 processor to keep costs low (versus using NVIDIA’s Tegra 3). In addition, the Nexus Tablet would run an updated version of Android, specifically Android 4.1.

Speaking of costs, the Verge has stated that the new Nexus Tablet will retail for $ 199 USD, though there may be other varied SKUs that come in at lower/higher price points depending on the amount of RAM and storage.

The Google Nexus smart phones never really caught on with the majority of consumers, but many tech savvy people appreciated the vanilla Android experience that did not involve waiting months for OS updates (I’m looking at you, Samsung). If anyone can create a low cost tablet to replicate the success of the Kindle Fire, it’s Google. What are your thoughts on these recent rumors?

Though it would never admit it, there’s reason to believe Google has a bone to pick with the Fire: it’s the device that effectively picked Android’s lock with a well-orchestrated roll-out of a legitimate Android Market replacement, the Amazon Appstore, in time for the tablet’s launch. The Market (now the Google Play Store) is the crown jewel in Google’s ecosystem lock-in for Android, and Amazon successfully strategized a way around that lock-in. In other words, Amazon owns the sub-iPad tablet market using Google’s software, and Google has nothing to show for it.

And as we said, the rumor isn’t new. Google chairman Eric Schmidt said as early as last December that the company would have a “competitive” tablet on the market this year. DigiTimes reported last week that it was hearing about an Asus-sourced tablet around $ 199-249 for a possible May delivery, and now Android & Me claims to have some additional details from a staffer at a US supply chain company that peg the 7-inch device as low as $ 149. The story goes that Asus agreed to scrap its Eee MeMO Pad 370T when Google reached out to collaborate on a Nexus-branded tablet, which suggests the resultant model will take its cues from the canceled one — though A&M says the 370T’s Tegra 3 processor has been scrapped, possibly to get the price point low enough. That seems odd considering how Nvidia proudly trotted the 370T on stage during its CES press conference just two months ago, but things move fast in this industry.

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