27 Comments

Summary:

The $249 Asus MeMo Android tablet shown off at January’s Consumer Electronics Show is expected to be the first Google Nexus tablet with a price target of $149 to $199. To lower the price, Asus may be dropping Nvidia’s Tegra 3 for a dual-core chip.

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The $249 Asus MeMo Android tablet, which was shown off at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, is expected to be the first Google Nexus tablet with a lower price target of $149 to $199. A supply chain employee confirmed the development with Android and Me, an enthusiast blog that previously suggested a 7-inch Google Nexus tablet would launch this year.

To bring the price down, Asus may be opting for a dual-core chip instead of the Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3. The OMAP 4 from Texas Instruments looks to be the front-runner to power the Nexus tablet. That makes sense, as Android is already primed for OMAP support, given that Google worked with TI on the Galaxy Nexus smartphone, which also uses an OMAP chip.

Why would Google even bother to build and support a Nexus tablet? The only tablets that showed any signs of life against Apple’s iPad were two low-priced, 7-inch slates: the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, which combined for 21 percent of all U.S. tablet sales last quarter. Both run on Google’s Android platform, but Google gets little benefit from these devices, which offer their own app stores and media ecosystems.

I’m still convinced that, while a Google Nexus tablet sounds appealing — especially at a sub-$200 price point — Google’s tablet issue isn’t hardware-related. There’s no lack of well-built Android tablets on the market today. But consumers either don’t find or don’t think they can find the same assortments of apps and media found on the iPad, Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet. It’s the ecosystem and consumer awareness that Google needs to work on, not a Nexus tablet.

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  1. In other words, it’s all about the apps, as always.

  2. There are plenty of quality Android tablets, but the pricing scheme is way too high for an ecosystem not yet as robust as Apple’s.

    1. Great point, especially when you consider that most of the Android tablets (except for the WiFi ones) are sold by carriers with a contract.

    2. Ecosystem not yet as robust? You mean like eclair (Android 2.1) because that was about equal to the current functionality of IOS. I show my IOS friends some of the built in features Android offers and they aw struck that Apple lags so significantly.

  3. Colin Crawford Friday, March 16, 2012

    Unless Android develops a better eco-system it won’t provide serious competition in the tablet market.

    Why I think IDC is underestimated the iPad market.

    http://www.minonline.com/news/Underestimating-the-iPad-Market_20119.html

  4. I love my Kindle Fire but am not willing to root and flash custom ROMs. I hate not having my Google Apps that I enjoy on my Galaxy phone and Google Play (market). I will swap for a $200 Google tablet in a heartbeat!

  5. For many consumers, $300 can make up for a lot of polish. Many will see it as a “ ‘his and hers’ versus ‘his’ ” opportunity. And if the volume actually takes off, developers will be incented to provide well-crafted and good-looking apps.

    Not that I especially see this happening, mind you. Because Kindle and Nook are locked into previous Android versions, tablet app developers are still challenged by juggling layout and functionality variations; the wide range of graphics and CPU performance variations mean that high-performance apps on a par with iPhoto or iMovie are extremely unlikely.

  6. College of Content Friday, March 16, 2012

    this sounds like it’s going to be huge competitions of the new Apple iPad. Is wondering what kind of apps are going to be offered with the Google Nexus, and how they will be compared to the apps of the Apple iPad. Food for thought…

    http://www.CollegeofContent.com

  7. Benjamin Skinner Friday, March 16, 2012

    I agree that Google is probably just spinning their wheels with this product. I have personal experience with a large selection of the Android Apps just seeming broken. I still own my Android Tablet but I think Google should be spending time working on making apps work better instead of trying to come up with even more tablets. IF you want to learn about some of the best, non-android options look at a few of the reviews at this website. It convinced me to pick up my Kindle Fire which I love for most lightweight applications.

    1. Certainly the negatives of googles open market is app quality. My idea would be for google to set up apis for third parties to offer curated app store front ends.

  8. The TouchPad craze shows that people will buy good hardware if it’s cheap. Once people realize how much market share they can get buy porting to android, the apps will come.

    These will make a good computing alternative to a laptop for the lower income segment. Google is working on making “Docs” and other cheap productivity suites, and I think that this is the next logical step in their strategy. In 2 years, Google tablets will be the poor mans computer.

  9. I think its more than just the apps. Price point has definitely been a big part of the problem for Android tablets. The only way most Android tabs have been in the $$ ballpark with the iPad has been the carrier subsidies.

    But the performance that consumers will experience by Asus using lower performance components and lower overall build quality will not create a winner for Android. All it will do is reinforce the perception that Apple provides a better experience and choice (especially in combination with better tablet apps).

    That Google is banking on a low-quality, low cost manufacturer to be the first Nexus tablet — the flagship brand of Android experiences — should be viewed with concern.

    1. My relatively ancient Xoom runs ICS well. If they can meet that performance level that would be tremendous for 2 hundred bux. There are and will be plenty of more expensive high performers. Mid range tablet (with good looks) at low range price seems to be a good idea to me.

  10. What is Google looking for? Eyeballs. Which they might get with the right price.

    But experience, updates, apps, that’s for another fight. The upgrade cycle. They will worry about that then. If this old Microsoft trick will work this time around has to be seen, with price equality it doesn’t. Microsoft had first Lotus 123, then Office for the initial push with crappy experience and good enough SW. Google seems to have price only.

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