Although Apple’s iPad has dominated the tablet market consistently since first launching in 2010, Google threw down the gauntlet to its Cupertino-based rival by launching the Nexus 7. Prior to the 7-inch slate, which was manufactured by ASUS, the only non-Apple tablet to create any sort of hype was Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and although it – similarly to the Nexus 7 – was priced at an incredibly low price compared to the rest of the market, it didn’t quite pack the performance we’d come to expect, and essentially felt like a cheap alternative.
The Nexus 7, as well as being on-point in terms of price, was the first device to ship with Google’s buttery smooth Android Jelly Bean (4.1), and with a sharp display, quad-core Tegra 3 and free Play Store credit in many regions, many raced to buy the device.
It seemed unbelievable that Google could sell such an impressive device at an insanely low price, but off the back of the current Nexus 7’s success, it’s reported Google is plotting a $99 edition of the slate, set to release later on this year.
The cheaper, smaller tablets have emerged as great eBook readers, and, sensing a threat, Apple is expected to launch its 7.85-inch iPad Mini at some point next month. Some have suggested Apple may even break the sub-$200 barrier, which would surely see sales go through the roof, but if Google can counter by hitting $99, the rush of the holiday season will be beautifully poised in terms of competition.
The source of the scoop is DigiTimes, and since their reports can often be hit-and-miss, we’re certainly a tad apprehensive to say the least, but ASUS is said to be behind two new versions of the Nexus 7 tablet. The second one will retail at $199, and both are expected to be thinner than the current iteration, which is already fairly svelte compared with most other tablets around.
Although the even cheaper Nexus is seen as a response to the iPad Mini, Amazon’s recently-overhauled Kindle Fire series will also be scouting for the consumer eye, and with Barnes & Noble having introduced the brand-new 9-inch Nook HD+ starting at $199 for the 7-inch, 8GB model, the battle for tablet supremacy is shaping up to be as interesting as the smartphone one.