Blog Post

Report: Google Nexus Tablet “a done deal”

The $249 Asus MeMo Android(s goog) 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(s nvda) quad-core Tegra 3. The OMAP 4 from Texas Instruments(s txn) 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(s aapl) were two low-priced, 7-inch slates: the Kindle Fire(s amzn) and Nook Tablet(s bks), 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.

27 Responses to “Report: Google Nexus Tablet “a done deal””

  1. teharchitect

    I think your off base with this one. At $199 or less everyone in the family will have one under the tree in December. That’s an amazing price point.

    The ecosystem is improving and Google will have no problems with a hype machine to build awareness. At such a price I’m going to surely get one as an addition to my Xoom.

    This will put further pressure on Apple for a small ipad form factor. Apple would be stupid not to put 1 out in any case. A Major advantage of the android platform is all these manufacturers experimenting with various form factors.

    It’s amazing to me how apple is making (or more likely has already made) the exact same mistake they made in the 80s with mac os. They were first to market with a superior product years ahead of the competition but lost out because they can’t or won’t open the ecosystem. Remember at first they even fought third party apps on iOS!

    Between the original provider only being at&t (leading to verizon succesfully investing millions to promote the droid brand which i see as the greatest factor in androids overall success) and their heavy handed attempt to control their software from front to back they have thrown away their opportunity to outright dominate the mobile field in the ways that microsoft dominated on pc’s for the last 20 years.

    There is no question that they have a fantastic and compelling product that is superior to the competition in various ways (quality being the biggest) packaged in a way that makes a new apple product purchase a fun experience for the consumer. However they are unable to compete at the expected price point of the upcoming nexus tablet. They need to broaden their product line with more form factors and more price sensitive products IMHO. They should consult with the woz…he seems to get it.

    • You could be right: We should know in a few weeks. ;) I don’t think there will be one under every tree this holiday even if the price is $199 though, assuming Google only sells these directly. The general public isn’t likely to take a chance on web-only distribution without some hands on. One of the smartest things Amazon did IMO with the Kindle Fire was to get retail distribution with working demo models, for example.

      • teharchitect

        Right on. I guess my question would be why can’t Google then also sell nexus devices at retail? Like best buy or why not Walmart at that low price point? Maybe margins are too slim for physical retail.

        I don’t know exactly how the plan with kindles and nooks sold at a loss is working but I totally think its the right idea. When android and mobile first caught my attention I wrote a windows medical records package. The slate form factor was beautiful for that and I predicted with an open ecosystem android tablets would eventually become dirt cheap. I imagined our marketing would include handing out free tablets at trade shows (as a means to hopefully run our expensive software of course)

  2. Those 21% that the Kindle Fire + Nook have, is enough reason for a low priced Google tablet. I don’t see the apps ecosystem very well developed on the previous mentioned devices, so I think Google tablet has a chance of grabbing some market share, even if in time it will fade away as many vendors will jump in this low priced tablet market.

  3. Marcus Phillips

    “Pure Google” products are a joke. I have a Nexus S phone which is supposed to be “Pure Google” and it still has not been updated with ice cream sandwich. I won’t fall for the hype anymore. Google does not have a clear pathway for OS support and updates on hardware. Until Google begins to make its own devices I won’t get excited about their Nexus bullshit

  4. Lukas Piper

    I think that price of tablets is high for most of customers and secondly they know that its still good to wait few months for new models – markets is going to change.

  5. Derwin Emmanuel

    It is about price. The other manufactures don’t realize that they don’t have the branding or start power that apple has to go head to head on price. I have seen people with kindle fires who are buy it just cause its affordable to give to their kids. Mainline consumers don’t care about 100k apps or the details of the OS. This will be a winner.

  6. It’s interesting to see such a profound misunderstanding of what the Nexus devices are supposed to be. By design Nexus devices and intended for developers (please ignore the Verizon version of the Galaxy Nexus, the GSM version is legitimate though). If you had any knowledge of the development community then you’d know there’s been some call for a truly developer focused tablet instead of the mess that was the XOOM. I’m a bit disappointed to see such a low price point because it means there will be lower-powered components, however it does make sense strategically because it makes it much easier for a solo developer or small team to fit it into the budget. Just because it’s logical doesn’t mean I’m happy to see them go mid-range instead of high end…I’d rather foot the bill for something that I expect to remain usable and run more powerful apps going forward.

    @ggruber66, You’re way off about Asus, they aren’t building low-quality tablets at all. Their tablets have outperformed every other Android tablet on the market for quality, function and flexibility. Sales numbers obviously haven’t been as high, but Asus is also not sold through a massive supply chain like the Kindle Fire or Nook. Consider that for almost 3 months Amazon sold out of the Asus Transformer Prime within minutes of getting any inventory.

  7. 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.

  8. ggruber66

    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.

    • teharchitect

      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.

  9. 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.

  10. Benjamin Skinner

    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.

    • teharchitect

      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.

  11. Walt French

    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.

  12. Rich Butler

    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!

    • Droid Bricker

      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.