Among the speculation of who will be making the next Google Nexus phone (LG is looking good right now) in the lead up to the release of Android: Jellybean, some talk of an ASUS manufactured Nexus tablet has started to surface.
It’d certainly be an interesting and understandable move for Google to get behind a flagship tablet in the hopes to show the market what its OS updates can do from the outset, much like with the Nexus smartphones, rather than waiting for manufacturers to distribute the updates themselves.
Unlike with the Google Nexus S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus, however, this ASUS Nexus Tablet is said to be aimed at the lower end of the market, coming in at around $199. This, once again, makes sense when we think about it. Google is having more trouble competing with Apple in the tablet market than it is with its smartphones.
The only real area that Android tablets have seemed to be making Apple sweat is in the budget and mid-range departments with products like the Amazon Kindle Fire. Google would also have to consider the possibility that a Nexus Tablet may very well be blocked by Apple upon its release, much like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was in multiple countries. So it’s understandable that Google would be aiming to establish itself more firmly in the more open fields of the budget market.
There’s also a rumour buzzing around that the tablet will not be called the Google Nexus Tablet or ASUS Nexus Tablet. This is fair enough, considering the low-end nature of the device and the fact that the Nexus line has come to denote flagship status. However, the moniker that we are hearing on the grapevine is the Google Play. Considering that the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and the BlackBerry Playbook are already in existence we’re a bit dubious on this point so we’re not going to put too much stock in it just yet.
Right now availability is expected sometime around June or July. With Google’s I/O conference set for June 27th we’re putting our money on an announcement around then, with units going up for sale in early to mid-July.