Numerous reports say Asus is already in place as Google’s manufacturing partner for the 7-inch Android tablet. But the site Android and Me is reporting a new low target for the device that was expected to be released in the $199 to $249 range. Instead Google, according to the site's unnamed source identified as a “senior employee” at a U.S.-based supply chain, will sell the Nexus tablet for between $149 and $199.
Such a low price would put the Nexus squarely in competition with Amazon’s upstart Kindle Fire ($199) tablet that has sold millions of units to achieve a distant second place behind Apple in market share (about 15% versus 60% for Apple depending on the research firm).
Google has said little about its tablet plans so most of the reports are based on speculation and second hand sources. Chairman Eric Schmidt did tell an Italian newspaper late last year that the company planned to offer a tablet that would be competitive with the iPad.
According to the Android and Me report, Google has abandoned the quad-core Tegra 3 processor in favor of lower-priced components, possibly so it can compete more directly with the Kindle Fire. Instead, the new Google device might be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
But anything about the device’s specs and even its release date is purely speculation at this point. Android and Me says expects the Nexus to be announced at the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans that runs May8 to 10. Then the question is whether it will run the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, or be the first to run an even newer version of Android, codenamed Jelly Bean.