Rumor: $99 Nexus 7 successor due by year's end

The price war between bite-sized tablets may be about to heat up. Amazon has already brought its vanilla Kindle Fire tablet from $199 down to $159, and now, word has it Google is prepping a new version of its Nexus 7 slate that will cost only $99.

That's what the guys at DigiTimes are saying, anyway. They quote nebulous "industry sources" who also claim the $99 Nexus 7 tablet will be joined by a higher-priced variant bearing the same $199 price tag as the existing Nexus 7. Both of these replacements will reportedly be thinner than the current model—but by how much, DigiTimes doesn't say.

The site does, however, give us a rough timetable for the launch: "by the end of 2012." Google could be bracing for the arrival of Apple's iPad Mini, which news sources are expecting in October. If it weren't for the almighty Apple, I doubt Google would consider refreshing the Nexus 7 less than six months into its lifetime. (But then again, this is still only a rumor—one that Asus, the maker of the current Nexus 7, has reportedly denied.)

A $99 Jelly Bean tablet with a 7-inch screen would no doubt find its way under many Christmas trees this holiday season, though—and maybe that's what Google is banking on.

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