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.

Comments closed
    • moog
    • 7 years ago

    I think the rest of us should just stop competing and let Google have another monopoly.

    • link626
    • 7 years ago

    it’s about time.
    all these tablets are way overpriced.
    When netbooks came out, most were not over $200.

    at this price, i don’t mind if it comes with a TN screen. I am going to be looking at it head on, no cockeyed angles, and it can’t possibly be worse than my laptop TN screen.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      So you’re only going to be using it in landscape orientation, and never in portrait? (Or vice versa, if the panel is aligned the other way)

        • nico1982
        • 7 years ago

        Am I missing something? Do TN panels have an orientation? It doesn’t seems to me, even when I look at them with the head upside down…

          • UberGerbil
          • 7 years ago

          TN panels have a significantly wider viewing angle along one axis than along the other. That’s the nature of the beast, though it’s a little less harsh on more-recent / higher-quality TN panels. For desktop monitors, the panels are built so that the wider viewing angle is along the (wider) horizontal axis; you’ll notice color-shifting more quickly when you move your viewpoint up and down than when you move it left to right. This is why TN monitors almost never offer a “rotate” option to portrait mode, whereas many IPS monitors do. But of course tablets tend to be used in both orientations frequently, so….

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            I have an old TN that will surprise you- TN’s are pretty versatile when you’re mostly worried about just being able to view the information a panel displays. Have four of them next to an IPS ZR30w.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        I’m cool with that. It’s a tablet, set it for landscape and leave it alone.

          • Firestarter
          • 7 years ago

          except for when portrait is more useful, like reading a book/text/website

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            Websites are better in landscape and read a book on a tablet? Crazy talk.

        • link626
        • 7 years ago

        I can flip my laptop 90 degrees, look at it straight on, and i see no difference.

          • internetsandman
          • 7 years ago

          Then you’re either using an IPS or need to get your eyes checked

            • UberGerbil
            • 7 years ago

            IPS isn’t the only alternative to TN. The various *VA technologies offer a middle ground with better off-angle viewing than TN and lower cost than IPS; I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some tablet panels use something from that family.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    Where does a iPad Mini land in terms of price between the $149 iPod Nano, $199 iPod Touch 4th gen, $299 iPod Touch 5th gen, $399 iPad 2, and $499 iPad third gen?

    I’m just not seeing it. If they put it at $299-$379, then you’ll see the iPod Touch and iPad 2 sales tank. If they put it at $399, then I think the iPad third gen will suffer. Right now, the lack of overlap is elegant. But another product to throw in there seems… problematic.

    This could all be resolved by lowering the iPod Touch price point down to the more reasonable place where it used to start ($199) and drop the iPod Touch 4th gen entirely. Or discontinue the iPad 2.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      I plus one’d you, but you’re a bit OT. Can you bring it back?

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      My guess was $379

      • Stranger
      • 7 years ago

      maybe they’re planning on offing the ipod touch for good? or bumping the entire line down by~75$ or so.

    • Lianna
    • 7 years ago

    There is no need to make any tablet thinner, but they could just stop artificially limiting them.

    Give me 249$ Nexus 16GB, but give me SD/uSD card slot, USB On-The-Go (OTG – preferably with additional USB A port), Accessory Mode. Just the things they can give, just don’t want to. Any other features I missed?

    • jjj
    • 7 years ago

    They better not put their name on a crappy tablet with TN panel (like having no SD wasn’t bad enough).

    • eloj
    • 7 years ago

    The original Nexus 7 hasn’t even come out over here yet. There’s gray imports of course, but priced with a 25% premium.

    If this makes the news… well, let’s just say not many people will be buying the current gen when it comes out officially in october.

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    heck, if I’m looking to buy a tablet I will wait for Barns+Noble tablets as they have SD slot to go with the low price. In fact the 9 incher with HD screen looks very tempting.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, if they continue to be as easily rootable as the current Nook Tablet, there might be one in my wife’s stocking this year.

      The kids can fight over her current tablet. I’m keeping my Nexus 7. 🙂

    • Jon1984
    • 7 years ago

    I believe they will also change their 1280×800 IPS panel for some crappy and cheaper TN panel to reduce costs. Surely it won’t be Tegra 3 also… Nexus 7 is already cheap, it would be nicer if they improve this version, not cripple it…

    • paulWTAMU
    • 7 years ago

    I don’t need it cheaper, I need it better. Add in an SD slot, maybe add some storage, and right now that’d be enough for me to bite at 199. Add an inch and make me VERY happy.

      • Corrado
      • 7 years ago

      Adding an SD slot means they have to pay royalties to MS I believe.

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      I’m the other way. Give me an extremely poor tablet for $10.

    • crsh1976
    • 7 years ago

    Since we’re just speculating, how about dropping the current Nexus 7 (8 GB) to $99 (and the 16GB for $149) and intro a newer/faster/better/whatever model that will sell for $199?

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      This would be a smart move, assuming the BOM allows that at this point (Amazon seems willing to go lower on the hardware because they expect to make it up with their marketplace; we’ll see if Google is willing to play that game, though I doubt they’d be willing to go below COGS).

    • obarthelemy
    • 7 years ago

    I have no clue how “thin” got to be a defining characteristic for tablets. I blame Apple ^^

    I can understand it for a phone that has to fit in a pocket, but for a tablet that smoetimes goes into a purse, but most often by far stays at home, thinness just has no function, no value, no point.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      “Thinness” (i.e. “depth”) is a function of weight and perceived build quality, since the surface area (“length and width”) is controlled primarily by the display size. Any attribute applied for its own sake can be futile, but not all devices having that attribute do so for futile reasons.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    Can someone please help an old codger out here: how is it that Google can make a 7″ Android tablet for $99, but their 5″ Android phone is pushing $1,000 retail?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      The only phone Google “makes” is $350 direct from them. My guess is that this is going to be cut way down from the Nexus 7. Maybe Tegra 2, maybe OMAP 4430, less RAM, lower-resolution screen, an even worse camera (or none at all, which will get it shunned by many), a minimal amount of storage (8GB is already tight but let’s see how low they can go). Cutting corners is the only thing I can think of.

      Actually, my guess is that since this is a DigiTimes-related article, it won’t come to fruition at all.

        • absurdity
        • 7 years ago

        If they made those kinds of sacrifices, it’d still be good for reading in bed or in the bathroom, which is probably all a good chunk of people use them for.

          • kvndoom
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah my BB Playbook spends more time in the upstairs bathroom than anywhere else.

          …I SWEAR that’s just chocolate…

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Ew. +1

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            You bring new meaning to the term CRACKberry.

        • dpaus
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah, ooops, I was thinking of the Samsung Note (hey, I did admit to being an old codger…)

        But wouldn’t it be cool for Google to bring out a 5″ Android phone for, say $149.99 without having to sign a contract? And wouldn’t it be even cooler if Congress (or God) forced the telcos to offer people service plans at a rate that doesn’t try to hide the amortization of a $700 MSRP phone over 3 years? Or even just to require that such cost be shown separately as a line item on your monthly bill?

        EDIT: even at 0% interest, the amortized cost of a $500 phone over a 36-month contract is almost $15/month. Wouldn’t you rather just buy the phone you want – without all the carrier crapware on it – and get $15/month off your plan? Especially if sales of the phones were made through retailers that have a history of deep discounts on commodity hardware??

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          If Google brought out an exceptionally reasonably-priced phone without contract – which the G Nexus is close, but $350 is still more than I want to pay for a phone out of pocket – I’d be on it in a heartbeat.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            I think $350 is a decent price for that phone without contract. The problem is that non-contract service plans suck…so the problem isn’t Google or the phones, it’s the carriers.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Decent price, we can agree. I said exceptionally reasonably-priced. Maybe they’re already selling the Galaxy Nexus at a slim-to-no margin like they are the Nexus 7. I dunno.

          • Firestarter
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]But wouldn't it be cool for Google to bring out a 5" Android phone for, say $149.99 without having to sign a contract?[/quote<] Seeing as how there are plenty cheap Android phones out there, I don't see why they couldn't. Having Google bring out such a budget phone would be awesome if only for the idea that the Android version on it would stable, up to date and uncluttered. I'm pretty happy with my Huawei G300 which goes a long way toward this goal, but only because Huawei has an unofficial ICS ROM out that is very stable. The official ROM would be coming from Vodafone (Huawei's release partner for this phone) and they'll ship some buggy, bloated and crapware laden ROM somewhere in the far future. As for your second point, I completely agree. Having worked in the business for a while I can tell you with absolute certainty that telcos try their damnest to hide their profit margin from us. And as long as the hardware guys go with the flow, they profit from it as well!

          • entropy13
          • 7 years ago

          Does it have to be direct from Google? There are Android phones at that price already.

            • Firestarter
            • 7 years ago

            Because of OS support! You can have the shiniest tablet around, but if the software on it is outdated, buggy or otherwise a crapfest, it sucks. Google has shown that it supports the hardware that it ties its name to, and that stuff [i<]matters[/i<].

          • Thesprunk
          • 7 years ago

          The amortized cost of the phone is much less than that, it’s actually in the ~$12 range for 24months (standard length) in the states, as you rarely can get a $500 phone for 0 down up front.

          Carriers will squeeze as much money out of you as they can, but if you pick the right plan and carrier you can in fact enjoy a contract free, discounted rate as a result of buying your own phone outright. The discount usually rounds out to about $10/mo.

          High end phones cost about $180-$275 for bill of materials + manufacturing costs. Then there’s licensing, R&D/Engineering overhead, and distribution and advertising costs.

          Tablets actually have a comparable bill of materials as high end phones, but all the overhead is actually much cheaper, as a lot less sacrifices, engineering magic, and precision engineering is necessary, as there’s A LOT more space. This means the net costs of the device is much lower that a comparably specc’d phone. Just because it’s smaller, doesn’t make it cheaper. In fact, it means its more expensive. Just compare a 13″ laptop to a similarly specc’d 17″

          Amazon and Google are coming in at wholesale prices here for Bill of materials and manufacturing. But overhead? nah, they’re probably eating it. And making it cheaper? That means screen and processor and manufacturing optimizations. Those are the 3 biggest contributors to cost, and if they don’t have to do a lot of re-engineering, then that means there’s virtually no engineering overhead, thus even less cost.

          tl;dr: They’re using economies of scale and maturity of the product to drop the current tablet down to $99, and launching the revamped w/ 3G version at $199. Doing it the other way around would cost them a lot of money.

        • d2brothe
        • 7 years ago

        Storage, 8 is a good amount, I don’t feel squeezed at all. I might at 4, but my real question is who will shun a tablet because of no camera. Only those morons I see taking photos with iPads. Tablets with (rear facing) camera’s is perhaps the dumbest development I’ve seen yet.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          I guess it depends on how you use it. I’m using it as part reader (which doesn’t need much storage) and part gamer. I’ve got a handful of Android games that take up 400-600MB each after downloading extra data (Tiger Woods 12, NBA Jam, GTA III, Max Payne) and I have to swap them in and out. Plus I want to keep around 1.3GB of music on it. Not the end of the world, but I kinda wish I’d sprung for the extra space.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          A camera for things like QR codes could be useful.

          • willmore
          • 7 years ago

          It depends a lot on if the tablet is your primary device. If it is, then the camera starts to matter. If you have a smartphone with a camera and the tablet is for ‘other things’, then the camera isn’t necessary. Maybe a VGA one on the face for Skype or something and you’re fine.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      OLED screens aren’t in significant supply and aren’t cheap. Not too long ago, some of the OEMs were randomly mixing OLED and super LCD screens in the same models, because there just weren’t enough to go around.

      That’s just about all of the difference between the newest high end and midrange phones now. The other hardware is often nearly identical.

      The few tablets with OLED screens only just came out, but like phones, also cost a few hundred dollars more than otherwise similar tablets. Nobody has made even a very small laptop with one to this day. It would probably cost a fortune. Sony has dinky little “TVs” that are, in all seriousness, about $10,000 to $15,000.

      That’s not to say that the 5″ screens necessarily cost several hundred dollars to make, but they have a legitimate reason to charge an additional premium for phones that get them right now.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      It’s more like $500 for an unlocked Galaxy Note. Pretty normal for a high-end smartphone, say $500-600.

      As for the why, I was wondering that myself recently using the iPod/iPhone as an example because it’s the closest you can get to the same hardware. The iPhone costs $450 more for the same memory capacity. Of course it’s not identical, it’s gotr a different processor, but that’s still a huge premium. Even when considering other less similar products there are pretty fancy PMPs for $200-300 versus $500-600 for a phone. My conclusion is that the cellular connectivity hardware is expensive – I suspect a lot of that cost is due to licensing and things like FCC testing and not actual hardware cost.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        I think, correct me if I’m wrong, dpaus, but he didn’t say ‘high end smartphone’. Just a smartphone. Some 1GHz dual core A9 or A8 chip, 1GB of memory, reasonable screen, etc. Doesn’t need to have a monster screen, quad core, etc.

        You have to go to some of the Chinese vendors to find a new smartphone that’s not fighting for the title of ‘newest and best’. The other smartphones are just *old* models that *were trying to be the* ‘newest and best’ at the time of their release.

        It would be refreshing to see a first tier maker build a phone that’s not meant to be the best phone ever, but just a good phone.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          The point of what I wrote wasn’t to discuss the specifics of the phones or PMP/tablets, but rather to use good comparisons to show the price differential that exists, and then speculate as to why.

          What you’re talking about does exist in a way – it’s called used or refurbished. Ex: Galaxy S2’s can be had for ~$200. As for making new models with lower-end hardeware, that certainly exists too, maybe the price drop-off just isn’t enough for some people, or the limited options of phone+carrier are bad. Finally, I think in another year or so we’ll see low-end phones coming with dual-core and decent graphics, after all decent dual core phones aren’t even that old. Patience!

            • willmore
            • 7 years ago

            I’m sure my view of this is skewed by living in the USA as we have such a horrible case of ‘keeping up with the Jonses’ here that noone would but a phone that’s not top of the line and newer than new.

            Plus, the situation with the carriers here subsidizing phones skews things further. If they subsidize $400 worth of the phone–i.e. a $399 phone is ‘free’ and a $599 phone is $199–then a phone that costs less than $400 makes little sense as the buyer would be paying more for less. This leaves little reason for a manufacturer to charge less than $400 for any smart phone. The lack of good bring-your-own-device rate plans limit the usefullness of the secondary market–like eBay.

            I’m just rambling, now, it seems.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Your point would have more weight if the price differentials didn’t hold in Europe where most phones and plans are unsubsidized. It’s not the carriers that set prices, it’s the manufacturers. The carriers in the US just hide prices through subsidies.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 7 years ago

    As long as there’s a way to root/cyanogen mod it I’d be interested in getting one.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      It’s Google-branded so of course it’ll be hackable. With the Nexus 7 it was so incredibly easy to unlock the boot loader.

      Then again, I’ve been so happy with stock Jelly Bean that I’ve not bothered to do any custom ROMs.

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        Exactly. If I could just find a QR code reading app that can use the front camera!

        Edit: Hey, good old xing now supports the front camera API!

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    thinner? i’m tired of thinner. how about making it water proof?
    first

      • theadder
      • 7 years ago

      I agree. We’re getting to the point that thinner isn’t terribly meaningful.

      It would be more useful if these machines were tougher and also waterproof.

        • absurdity
        • 7 years ago

        Yes to these. Nice devices, but they’re so fragile. I’d certainly be more interested in something a little more rugged.

        • nico1982
        • 7 years ago

        I guess we can say so only because new releases are just marginally thinner than the previous one. A 2 mm thick tablet or phone would sell like hotcakes and, by 2020, these 8 mm devices will look uwieldy and silly.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Ya I dig.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Yup, less thin and light obsession, more battery life obsession. Batteries weigh a lot, but in devices with non-user replacable batteries longer battery life = longer device life.

      • shank15217
      • 7 years ago

      there are different levels of water proof

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        There are differences in resistance, not proof. And what does that matter anyway?

          • shank15217
          • 7 years ago

          Ok so you want an impossible feature, how about fully radiation hardened and able to work in vacuum too?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            ? what do you mean? water resistant products don’t come with a guarantee that they won’t fail if they get wet. they SHOULDN’T, but they might, and if they do, you’re sol. water PROOF devices will be replaced if they stop functioning due to water. At least that’s how it functions in canada. i’m not sure what your beef is, but i would also like dust proof.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      Well, there are “waterproof” phones like the Casio Commando and Motorola Defy, so it’s likely only a matter of time before those lines get a tablet sibling. With Android tablets fast approaching commodity status, the manufacturers are going to be looking for other ways to stand out.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        but they want an ass ton of money for them. keep it at a REASONABLE price, and add water proofing. there’s even a water proof wp7 phone, but it’s japan only (i’m aware importing exists) and they want a ton for it.
        [url<]http://www.fujitsu.com/global/news/pr/archives/month/2011/20110727-01.html[/url<] i want cheap, water proof electronics.

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