What seems like so long ago, there were rumors of a Google phone. While vehemently denied by Google for the better part of 2009, in January 2010, Google unveiled the Nexus. With hardware from a partnership with HTC, the Nexus was typically the first device to receive Android operating system upgrades. The Nexus S followed in December 2010 before Google partnered with Samsung for last year’s Galaxy Nexus.
Recently, Google announced we could expect a 7-inch Android tablet coming this year. While Google is as tight as ever to release any information, the Wall Street Journal cited unnamed Google sources suggesting the 7-inch tablet is being designed with Samsung and Asus. The only statement officially from Google is that there are, indeed, plans to unveil a Google-branded tablet this year. The tablet will be sold through a new, online tablet store that will be introduced with the release of the tablet.
As with any Google launch, speculation abounds. The current reporting from DigiTimes and the UK’s V3 suggest that Google will be pricing their tablet in the $199 range to compete against Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Other sources cite that a deal between Asus and Android is complete and that we could see the tablet as soon as May or June with price points between $149-199.
Earlier this year, Asus showed off the Asus MeMo 370T at the Consumer Electronics Show, stating the device would retail in the $199-249 price range. This device can no longer be found on Asus’ website, further feeding the Google-Asus $199 tablet rumor mill. As of last week, The Verge reported the tablet is official and Google will be launching in July, pending some design tweaks to make sure it can retail under $249.
It appears Google is trying to enter the affordable tablet market to gain ground on a tablet market that Apple dominates with over 60% share. Other reports suggest Apple is planning a smaller, 7” version of the iPad and Google is trying to stay ahead of any news Apple may or may not have planned.
Also remember that Google always makes a big splash of major announcements as its fourth quarter winds down in June. From the Google I/O developer’s conference at the end of June, Google has always made large announcements and product features. In previous years, these announcements have included the Droid Bionic and lapdock, partnerships with Adobe and Verizon, and their social endeavor: Google+.
With the iPad2 recently re-priced at $399, Apple still won’t compete on price. But do they have to? Would you be inclined to “Go Google” on a tablet device if the price was right? Or do you need the sleek, coolness that is the iPad? Leave a comment and let us know!