Google Wants Another Cut Of The Four-Device World

Quad-Core Android Tablet Costing $200 May Arrive This Summer

… the story is that ASUS will be manufacturing a Nexus Tablet for Google. That alone is kind of interesting since Samsung has always been Google’s go-to manufacturer for Android “reference devices,” but what’s really interesting to me are the specs. Android & Me’s sources say it’s going to be a Tegra 3 quad-core device with a 7″ 1280×800 screen running pure Android 4. The price? $199. In other words, the same price as the dual-core Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet.

That sounds like a pretty aggressive price to me, but before you dismiss it as unlikely consider that ASUS was showing off a similarly spec’d device – the MeMo 370T – at CES that it said was going to sell for $249. The Nexus Tablet sounds like it could be the same hardware, so perhaps Google is subsidizing the tablet to get that price down.

I’ve been wondering what happened to the CES 2012-hyped Asus quad-core Tegra 3″ 7″ tablet for US$249. The last word — from MWC 2012 — was that it was delayed until Q3 of this year.

Now it seems Google is going to team up with Asus to brand it as a Nexus device with an even lower price point: US$199.

I think the world is waking up to the fact some people prefer four devices for different uses:

1) Smartphone, which fits in any pocket
2) eInk device for reading (or rooted Nook Touch as tablet)
3) An easily-transportable tablet for when a smartphone is too small
4) An iPad (or other large tablet) that mainly sits at home

Apple and Android have conquered number one, smartphones.

Barnes & Noble and Amazon have number two wrapped up, with Kobo hanging in there.

And iPad has clearly won number four, the stay-at-home tablet.

Number three, the take-along tablet, is the new battleground.

The Kindle Fire really appeals only to the existing Amazon audience. I don’t see it becoming a mainstream device. So it’s not really a contender in that space. Nor are the NookColor or Nook Tablet.

And while Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7″ models are very nice, they are also wildly expensive and are difficult for everyday people to justify as a purchase.

So now Asus comes along to shake things up again — as they did with notebooks by creating the cheaper netbook — with a cheaper full-function 7″ tablet.

And Google, probably having talked to Asus and been convinced that It Can Be Done, has decided to come in on that deal and go for a price point based on projected volume down the road.

I’m sure they intend to plaster Google-centric apps all over the thing, especially highlighting all of the new Google Play stuff. But what might trip them up is a locked bootloader to prevent rooting. Security is necessary for Google Wallet to perform properly. On the other hand, people might accept not being able to root the device if Google doesn’t get all stupid and greedy and prevent the Amazon App Store from working on it.

Still, I believe that Apple will do a smaller iPad, despite what everyone else says. Apple too has to recognize that it’s a four-device world out there for many people.

A take-along iPad would break all previous sales records for Apple — and probably for all consumer electronics devices — because the millions who already have an iPad (and those who are about to join those existing owners after the newest iPad is introduced today), will rush out to buy one so they can use all their existing apps out of the house and on the road.

Apple will be in the plum position of being the first tablet maker to sell people two size models, further cementing their lead and establishing a new dominance.

All of those conferences where people have looked around and seen iPad after iPad being used by techies? Next year those techies will be using the smaller iPad that I’m certain will be introduced this Fall.

2 Comments

Filed under Android, Apple: The Company, Google, Other Hardware

2 responses to “Google Wants Another Cut Of The Four-Device World

  1. That makes sense to me. Asus seems like a good low-cost partner for Google. I don’t follow these things too closely, but a colleague mentioned to me yesterday an Asus laptop that sounded like a very good low-cost alternative to the MacBook Air.

    • mikecane

      I lightly fondled Asus’ Ultrabook and even took some pictures but never did a post. It seemed high quality but since I was password locked out of Windows, I can’t say anything about performance but Chippy might have reviewed it: http://ultrabooknews.com/

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