Similar reports, often based on bits of information passed along by nameless sources from unspecified Asian component suppliers, have resurfaced every four to six weeks for the better part of a year. Should we believe them this time around?
No. Why not? They're fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) aimed at the Google Nexus 7, that's why.
Google announced the Nexus 7 June 27 during its Google I/O keynote address. The device is a 7-inch Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet that aims to be a media consumption device. Sales of the device commence in the coming weeks. It will cost a competitive $199 for the 8-GB version and be ordered directly from the Google Play Store. That puts it up against the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook in terms of market positioning.
[ It seems like no tech gadget launch is complete without a patent suit. See Nokia: Nexus 7 Tablet Infringes Patents. ]
Though the Nexus 7 isn't really meant to serve as a full competitor to Apple's larger iPad tablet, its presence in the market could impact sales of Apple's much-more-expensive device. The new iPad starts at $499 for the 16-GB Wi-Fi variant. As long as Google can sell consumers on its content store and the usability of the Nexus 7, its $199 price point could tempt enough consumers to skip the iPad and choose Google instead.
It's no surprise, then, that less than a week later, reports of a smaller iPad Mini, which "could compete with the Nexus 7" pop up in the media.
Is it possible that Apple is working on a smaller iPad? Sure. Do we know anything about said iPad Mini with certainty? Absolutely not. In the meantime, real products that actually exist are out there waiting for consumer dollars.
If you're a fan of Android and think the Nexus 7 might be the right sort of tablet for you, I'd highly recommend you ignore the FUD and check out the Nexus 7. It's the best Android tablet available at the moment.