Here's an interesting rumor I haven't seen a lot of coverage on, but given Apple's event tomorrow there probably won't be room to talk Android for a few days. So let's go with this one even though I've only seen a single source.
The rumor comes from Android & Me and the story is that ASUS will be manufacturing a Nexus Tablet for Google. That alone is kind of interesting since Samsung has always been Google's go-to manufacturer for Android "reference devices," but what's really interesting to me are the specs. Android & Me's sources say it's going to be a Tegra 3 quad-core device with a 7" 1280×800 screen running pure Android 4. The price? $199. In other words, the same price as the dual-core Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet.
That sounds like a pretty aggressive price to me, but before you dismiss it as unlikely consider that ASUS was showing off a similarly spec'd device – the MeMo 370T – at CES that it said was going to sell for $249. The Nexus Tablet sounds like it could be the same hardware, so perhaps Google is subsidizing the tablet to get that price down.
As for a release date, no one knows for sure but typically Google gives out Nexus hardware at it's I/O conference, which is in June. Assuming their pattern holds, that means Android developers will got a Nexus Tablet at the conference (June 27-29) and then it'll be available to the public a month or so later.
So the big question is, can a Nexus Tablet compete with the Kindle Fire? Can it compete with the next iPad? Regular readers know one of my biggest beefs with Android is consumer confusion around all the variety of Android hardware and software versions and another tablet certainly isn't going to help there. Does ASUS have the consumer name recognition to break away from the pack? I doubt it.
But a quality $200 tablet might attract developers, which I suppose is part of Google's long game. Get the developers on board and they build your ecosystem. Of course that's been the plan for a while now and while the number of apps in the Android Market has certainly been growing, that doesn't seem to be translating to bigger Android tablet sales yet.
I have to admit, a $200 quad-core tablet would be mighty tempting for me, but then when it comes to Android I'm an easy sell. What about you? If you were going to drop $200 on a tablet would you prefer the rich ecosystem of Amazon or the increased power of a quad-core processor?
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