Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July? - InformationWeek
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Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?

Google's first branded Android tablet may become available as soon as July, sporting a 7-inch display and a pricetag designed to woo buyers away from Kindle Fire and iPad.

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Google is making preparations to bring about 600,000 Android-based tablets to market by July, say sources cited by DigiTimes. The tablet will feature a seven-inch display and is expected to be made by Asus. Google has placed orders for about 2 million of the tablets for the remainder of 2012.

The device will probably be sold directly to consumers via the new hardware section in the Google Play Store, where Google already offers the Galaxy Nexus for $399. Google launched this new hardware sales portal last week, where it will sell other Nexus-class devices starting later this year.

Whether or not the DigiTimes sources are right about the timing of this device launch, the information meshes with what has already been reported about this Google-branded Android tablet. April reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Verge have provided a bit of detail.

The original target price of Google's first co-branded tablet was $249--half the cost of the entry-level Apple iPad, and competitive with products such as the Amazon Kindle Fire. The new tablet, which is being built by Asustek, will reportedly have an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and Wi-Fi (only) for internet connectivity.

[ Google prevailed Wednesday in the second part of its copyright courtroom battle with Oracle. See Google Beats Oracle Patent Claim. ]

Google changed its mind about the pricing, however. It wants to drop the price from $249 to $199 or less. Some had expected the tablet to debut before summer, but the change in price lends a bit of credence to Thursday's DigiTimes report suggesting a July launch.

Google wants to win tablet market share from Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle, and to do that it will sell devices that are co-branded with its hardware manufacturer partners. Rather than sell just one Google-branded tablet from a single OEM, the search giant will offer several devices from a variety of manufacturers.

Asus will likely have an exclusive spot as the lone device available for a short time.

Looking at the leaked specs and features, Google could get things right with this phantom Android tablet. The smaller display size has several advantages. It would require less power, allow the device to be smaller and more portable, and work well with scaled-up Android smartphone applications. The key component, however, is the Tegra 3 quad-core processor. I've used the HTC One X with the Tegra 3 and can attest to this chip's computing prowess. It delivers incredible performance and manages to sip power at the same time.

Sticking to Wi-Fi as the sole means of connecting to the Internet is also essential to keeping the device cost low. This approach should be just fine for most users, as very few people use wireless broadband networks to browse on tablets. The vast majority of tablet users browse via Wi-Fi.

As long as the display of this unnamed, unannounced device isn't garbage and battery life is good, it could be just what Google needs to gain traction in the tablet market.

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2012 | 8:39:36 PM
re: Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?
I think the one thing that I'm most excited about when it comes to this is to see how the device looks. The physical design of these devices will make or break them.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/27/2012 | 2:40:52 AM
re: Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?
As long as the display of this unnamed, unannounced device isn't garbage and battery life is good
At $599.00 Android Tables displays are garbage and the battery life suck. At $199.00 this crap will be a Droid Tard dream machine and a Mass Market FAIL
User Rank: Apprentice
5/25/2012 | 2:20:12 PM
re: Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?
If Google wants this to succeed, they better not put any of their Chromebook people on this project. Was it one or two thousand free Chromebooks that they gave out and did little with the feedback they got back from the public.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 8:54:11 PM
re: Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?
What's keeping Google tablets out of the enterprise and out of the hands of some power users is the fragmentation of the OS. Having a single vendor and branding the machine themselves so that there are no proprietary front end layers to deal with should enable Google to push Android updates on a timely basis same as Apple does.

The anti-Apple contingent and those for whom cost is an obstacle are looking for an Apple/iPad aternative. Both the Fire and the Nook have limitations; in particular some are resistant to getting locked into Amazon's maws. Windows 8 is devices are vaporware for now.

So even if Google doesnn't hit a home run with the first device, if they can promise a unified OS with a proven upgrade path, it could be the ticket. . . Stay tuned.
User Rank: Guru
5/24/2012 | 7:53:43 PM
re: Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?
If it's any good, why buy any other android tablet?
Seems like the ball game will be Apple with their iOS and Google with their Android.
Is it time the other hardware vendors close down shop, or jump heavily on the Microsoft Windows 8 bandwagon (until Microsoft decides to sell hardware too).

Most of my issues with Android tablets have been due to just too much 'spread out' non-compatible problems between the OS (and it's far too numerous variations) and the hardware. Throw-in other issues with apps not totally compatible with all the OS variations and you have a recipe for headaches... I had far too many in the year and a half I gave the system a try.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/24/2012 | 5:38:23 PM
re: Google's 7-Inch Tablet: $199, Coming In July?

I plan to be the first in line.
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