Rumor: Google Nexus tablet coming in March-April with 7-inch screen and under-$199 price tag

It’s that time of the day when you need to check and make sure you have enough salt stock nearby. Just in case.

If you’re still reading, we’re assuming you understand that this is nothing more than a rumor. Originating at DigiTimes, no less, whose track record is known to be hit-and-miss. So keep that in mind.

Not long ago, ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt said a few things about a tablet coming soon. Things which have been widely interpreted to mean that a Nexus tablet is in the works. We’ve heard something like that for almost a year now, but the thing is that Mr. Schimdt didn’t say anything about a Nexus tablet per se. Just that a high-end tablet will be launched and ‘marketed’ by Google in the next six months. Since the original text was in Italian, some things could have been lost in translation.

Anyway, despite the flakyness of this interpretation, the rumor mill has revved up its engines and is now at full throttle on the matter.

Apparently the Google tablet will be launched in March or April, and it will be a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and not Apple’s iPad. Not taking the iPad head-on of course makes a lot of sense for Google (or any other Apple competitor for that matter), but dueling with Amazon at this stage doesn’t seem to, even though the Kindle Fire is probably already the most successful Android tablet, custom interface be damned.

The Google tablet is rumored to have a 7-inch touchscreen (a clear attack at the Fire’s market share), perhaps an AMOLED unit made by Samsung, speculates. In fact, the whole tablet could be made by Samsung, since the Korean company has been behind the last two Nexus smartphones. In that case, the screen will have 1024×600 resolution most likely.

The targeted price for the Google Nexus tablet is below $199, which would mean it will be even cheaper than Amazon’s tablet. That’s a bit hard to believe, even if it’s quite desirable. Even with its midrange-ish specs, the Kindle Fire still is sold by Amazon at a loss right now. So unless Google is willing to lose a lot of money selling its tablet, there are two possible outcomes here: either the Google tablet will be quite low-end (something previously unseen in a Nexus device), or the tablet will end up being more expensive.

Obviously, the Google tablet will launch running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. All of this rumored information supposedly originates at “sources from Google’s upstream supply chain”. Make of that what you wish. Do take into account though that Google Taiwan reportedly has never heard about a plan to launch an own-brand tablet.

Sure, a Nexus tablet kind of makes sense. The Nexus One showed phone makers the way in building high-end and highly-desirable handsets. A Nexus tablet could similarly achieve that. And it may well be more affordable than similar offerings (after all, asking less for their products is the main lesson that Android tablet makers should learn at this point – and some, like Acer, have thankfully started to). But a low-end Nexus tablet? That would be something else.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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