Summary:

The Nexus 7 costs less than you think to make but will Google earn money from it? Maybe not, but it should pressure the future price of small slates. Motorola’s Atrix HD gets a first look video while the Galaxy Note may soon hit T-Mobile.

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In advance of the first Nexus 7 pre-order shipments, Google’s new tablet was torn down and examined for a cost estimate. The $199 model with 8 GB costs $151.75 in parts while the $249 version that doubles up on the storage capacity is comprised of parts worth $159.25 according to IHS iSuppli. When adding in the price of manufacturing and other costs, it’s likely that Google will make money on the higher end model.

Regardless of whether the hardware is sold at or below costs, it should put pressure on future 7-inch tablets to be sold for less, or sold at the current prices — generally $199 to $249 — with improved performance. Helping to keep costs down and performance up is the use of Nvidia’s Kai platform: A quad-core Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip aimed at tablets selling for $199 or less. Provided that tablet makers stick with Wi-Fi-only tablets, I suspect the Nexus 7 will be the first of many small slates using Kai over the next 6 to 12 months. And finding a solid Android tablet for $149 by year end could be a reality.

Google’s Nexus 7 is a showcase device for the new Android 4.1 software, also known as Jelly Bean. We previously covered some of the more prominent features, but Google this week outlined all of the many new functions and improved features of Jelly Bean. Some that jumped out at me include support for USB audio docks — which Google says will ship later this year — support for CPU boosts when needed and touching the device display and a more intelligent learning keyboard.

AT&T’s newest Android phone, the Atrix HD, doesn’t come with Android 4.1 but it does have the prior version of software, which still provides a solid experience. The phone itself appears to be a good value at $99 with contract: My first look video of the Atrix HD shows a slim device with bright, crisp high-definition display. Even at 4.5-inches, the screen doesn’t make the phone too big in the hand, mainly due to the slim design; in the video, you can see the Atrix HD is roughly the same size as Samsung’s new Galaxy S III.

I’ll be putting together a full review of the Atrix HD in the coming days and I may need to hurry. The release of Samsung’s Galaxy Note for T-Mobile appears imminent now that support documentation for the device was found on T-Mobile’s official site. I’m anticipating that a T-Mobile version of the Note will already come with Android 4.0, given that AT&T’s Galaxy Note now has the Ice Cream Sandwich software available in a downloadable upgrade.

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