Perhaps in a nod to the Google(s goog) partnership on the Nexus 7 tablet, Asus is reportedly getting the chance to also make a new Nexus 10 slate. Sources tell Geek.com that’s the plan for a refresh of Google’s larger Nexus tablet, currently built by Samsung. A new Nexus 10 is expected by this year’s holiday season, says the enthusiast site.
If this deal pans out, I wonder if it has to do with two particular aspects: Costs and power.
The forerunner to the original Nexus 7 was shown on stage by Asus at Nvidia’s(s nvda) 2012 Consumer Electronics Show press event. Aside from touting the performance of the Tegra 3 chip, Asus said it could offer the tablet for under $299; a good price point back then, which drew applause. “Wait… what if we could offer it for $249?” was the next line to which the applause increased. That $249 tablet became the basis for the Nexus 7.
Clearly, Asus is capable of making a solid device at a relatively low price point, which is important for Nexus devices. The current Nexus 10 from Samsung starts at $399 for a 16 GB model. Samsung has a great supply chain management, but may look for higher profit margins than Asus, meaning a refreshed model could be priced lower than the current model or have more advanced hardware for the same, or not much more price. The new Nexus 7, costing $30 more than the prior model — but with much better components — is a good example.
Samsung has also gained much from adopting Android. Perhaps too much. It currently takes the most profit from the Android market and doesn’t even market its products as running the Android platform. Instead, these are all Samsung Galaxy devices running TouchWiz. That can’t sit well with Google, although it still reaps benefits from Galaxy owners by gathering data from them.
I think Geek’s sources are correct on this one, although I’m not sure how much better a new Nexus 10 can be. I have the current model and it’s certainly not long in the tooth.
The 2560 x 1600 resolution display is outstanding and Samsung’s dual-core Exynos chip paired with 2 GB of memory keeps performance at a reasonably fast level. If I had to guess on what improvements Asus could make, I’d say a chip upgrade to the Snapdragon(s qcom) 800, a better camera sensor, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi support and the addition of wireless charging. And if any company can do that for $349 to $379, Asus would be it.