There is a rumour circulating around the Android community which suggests that Google will release a 7-inch “Nexus tablet” in the first half of 2012. However, like we’ve seen with the Nexus smartphones, Google will not be the company manufacturing the hardware of the device but will support it with AOSP builds of Android. The rumour states that the device could be manufactured by ASUS and is likely to include the Tegra 3 chipset. Several people have rightfully pointed out that Google traditionally partners with an OEM on these “Google Experience Devices”, just like they did with Motorola on the Xoom tablet.
The root of the rumour
This rumour comes from two different industry sources who AndroidAndMe talked to at Mobile World Congress. As they have provided reliable information in the past, AndroidAndMe believes the sources are trustworthy. However, the sources rightfully want to remain anonymous.
The logical take on the rumour
There have already been multiple reports that Google would release a $199 tablet that features a 7-inch 1280×800 resolution display which would ship around June.
Selling a full-featured Android tablet with all of Google’s mobile services and a quad-core Tegra 3 processor for only $199 would definitely bring some sales for Google and ASUS. It wouldn’t surprise us if there a 10 inch model was released and priced at $299 at the minimum.
If you look at the statistics for certain devices like the Kindle Fire, it is easy to understand Google and ASUS’s plan of action. It is no surprise that consumers want cheap tablets and the $199 Kindle Fire has proven this. Amazon shipped an estimated five million units in Q4 of last year and it quickly became the best-selling Android tablet of 2011. The problem with the Kindle Fire is that despite being a great product, it lacks all of Google’s mobile services including the Android Market. Amazon replaced Google’s ecosystem with its own, so Amazon earns all the long-tail profits from content and services, while Google gets nothing.
If ASUS is Google’s OEM of choice then the device is definitely in good hands. Take a look at the Transformer Prime; the Prime is an amazing tablet with a full Android experience and was the first tablet with the Tegra 3 chipset. If the device is priced as the sources state, then there really isn’t a reason why this tablet will not sell equal, if not more units than the Kindle Fire.
How does spending $199 on a 7-inch tablet with a pure and unrestricted Google experience sound to you readers? Let us know your thoughts.