Seven-inch tablets are getting cheaper by the day. In September, Amazon introduced a new Kindle Fire tablet with an asking price of just $159. Now, DigiTimes reports that Google and Asus may soon one-up Amazon, releasing a version of their famous Nexus 7 slate priced as low as $129—and possibly even lower.
Quoting unnamed industry sources, the site says Google and Asus have added a new supplier for the Nexus 7's touch panel. That supplier's panel technology is supposed to help reduce costs and allow for a thinner device. Word is that the cheaper Nexus 7 based on that technology could be priced as low as $99, although "market observers" reckon a price tag in the $129-149 range is "most likely." Asus and Google can only cut costs so much.
The cheaper Nexus 7 is expected as early as the first quarter of 2013. However, since the first quarter is often the year's low point for sales, DigiTimes says Google may choose to hold off until Q2.
Right now, the cheapest Nexus 7 still costs $199. Google has already taken steps to keep up with Amazon and the iPad mini, of course. In October, Google scrapped the 8GB version of the tablet, brought the 16GB model down from $249 to $199, and introduced a higher-capacity, 32GB variant at $249.