Eric Schmidt, Google’s oft-quoted chairman, had the Android world buzzing with excitement with his interview to an Italian newspaper where he mentioned that Google was working on a tablet to be released before Q3 2012. His exact statement though, was anything but precise.
In fact, you can interpret that statement either as Google’s intent to develop its very own Nexus tablet or also as another association of Mountain View with a hardware partner, ala with Motorola for its DROID and Xoom products.
Digitimes, a Taiwanese publication, has now come up with news that puts this speculated tablet in the 7” category and not the originally thought 10” one. This will put it in direct competition with cheaper, smaller and popular devices like the Kindle Fire and the Nook tablet.
This actually makes sense when you consider that the majority of Android’s growth comes from cheaper tablets in the market. It’s also not hard to imagine Google competing with Amazon, which has so far used Android as an end-run on its Kindle Fire around the direct sales of apps, music, movies and books by Google.
In such a scenario, releasing a Google-backed Android tablet below the $200 price-point will lure more buyers to an untouched Android experience and help build a faithful user base. This will surely dent Apple in more ways than one. However, rumors of a smaller (7”) iPad 3 are doing the rounds and Digitimes claims the launch to be around March/April.
Being positive here is tough. Firstly, nowhere has Schmidt confirmed in absolute terms the development of a Nexus tablet. This could very well be wishful thinking by Android investors and fanboys. Secondly, until now Google has only paired up with top manufacturers for its developer devices.
Examples include the Nexus One, DROID, Xoom, Nexus S and even the forthcoming Galaxy Nexus whose prices were around the higher range among smartphones.
All said and done, Google’s main objective is to get more people hooked-on to Android than anything else.
This is more apparent as the tablet market is exploding now, which means they have to compete with Apple quickly and effectively. Our ears are always on the look-out for associated rumors or in this case, some concrete facts.