Could a Google Nexus tablet at $149 be a game-changer?

Could a Google Nexus tablet at $149 be a game-changer?

Summary: Google's rumored tablet, built in partnership with Asus, could be priced as low as $149, undercutting the Kindle Fire by $50.


While Apple has been content -- so far -- to dominate the high end of the tablet market, Google appears to be serious about competing against the Kindle Fire at the low end. I posted about 10 days ago about a potential partnership between the search giant and Asus to create a 7-inch Android tablet. Now a new rumor has emerged that Google is ready to drop the bar on tablet pricing.

According to Android and Me, the new tablet could be priced as low as $149, which would be $50 lower than the Kindle Fire. That apparently is the result of Google abandoning the Tegra 3 processor as the guts of the tablet, looking instead for a cheaper alternative. Asus supposedly nixed its own Tegra 3-powered MeMo 370T when it contracted with Google.

Android and Me's anonymous supply chain source says that the Nexus tablet is a "done deal" (the "Nexus" brand being the source's own words), though other specs and a firm release date have not been revealed. The Google tablet could still wind up costing $199, but it's clear that while Apple is focusing on improving specs while maintaining its high prices on the iPad, Google appears intent on heading to the bottom to quickly gain market share.

Would you be excited for a Google tablet that's priced as a low as $149, even if it didn't have the latest hardware? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Topics: Hardware, Google, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • of course

    I need a tablet to surf the net, watch videos, play some music when I am not home and read books. If the Google tablet can do all that why would I pay 450 for an iPad when I can pay 150. I don't care if I don't look cool by not holding an iPad.
    coco montoya
    • This

      Honestly, most people don't really need a lot of hardware for what they're doing with tablets. Sure, there's a few odd ones that insist on being able to do heavy business work with them or try to turn them into gaming consoles, but those aren't their core users.
    • What is High End?

      First line of article:
      "While Apple has been content ??? so far ??? to dominate the high end of the tablet market, Google appears to be serious about competing against the Kindle Fire at the low end."

      High end?? Who would ever have believed that $500 would be considered 'high end'! LOL
      Surely not any of us who were purchasing tablets 15 years ago when nothing could be bought for under $1000. Surely, not folks who expected Apple to enter the tablet race with a $1000 iPad and not one for $500. Surely not anyone who claimed that Motorola's Xoom was worth the high price when it first came out.

      If 'high end' is now considered to be around $500, it's only because Apple paved the way with high quality and innovations at that price level which didn't exist prior to their market entry. Whether you like Apple or not, you have to be honest and admit they have set the bar high and it's caused competitors a rough ride for two years, and possibly longer.
      • It is consumer high end,

        though business high end is the windows tablets made for vertical markets, like the nearly indestructable panasonic tablets. So strangely, Microsoft is actually in the real high end tablet market, while Apple is really in the middle of the market and Android tablets are in the cheap market.
    • try this one - I LOVE IT!

      I got this tablet at Amazon for around $140 a month ago and now it's under $120. It has a 7" capacitive screen, 1.5 Ghz processor, 4gb memory. It's a LOT like my friends Kindle Fire, but without all the bloatware. Soon we'll see great tabs for under $100 (give it a year and they'll be available for under $75)
  • Belief suspended

    I have a hard time believing that for $150 a decent tablet with good specs and good build quality can be built. Sounds cheap to me. Unless Google is willing to take a loss selling it.
    • +100500

      [b]Schmidt actually said Google will produce "the best" tablet, not lame barely usable $150 thing.[/b]

      So we can discard these rumours, if Schmidt did not lie.
      • Misintrepet

        You could be completely misinterpreting what Schmidt said, or meant to say. It only makes sense that he's referring to the best low-priced tablet on the market and not the best tablet in general. If he actually meant the best tablet made, competing with $800 tablets, then he either lied or is stretching the truth (or is getting government money to pay for part of the cost).

        The marketing of any item does not allow a low-priced item to be sold at a loss, when taking the cost of materials, labor, and marketing to be factored-in. Perhaps Schmidt will pay the extra $230 material cost out of his pocket.
    • tablet should be on this price

      $150 is good enough to build ton of stuff in China, We are just fool by the market maker to let us keep thinking that $400-500 price point is where the good stuff is, Apple saw there profit margin is that big to begin there ipad project, I still don't know why all other companies are so slow to respond to it.
      • Bull

        In fact, your comment is just plain stupid, and clearly motivated by simple anit-Apple hatred as opposed to any real knowledge or information about the subject. The Chinese are not magic. There are certain costs to doing business that can not be made to magically disappear. Apple also makes their iPad in China, and is well known for two things:
        1) squeezing every last drop of cost efficiency out of their producers, and,
        2) a thirty percent profit.
        Given this, plus a knowledge of the actual manufacturing process, I challenge you to show a tablet of even CLOSE to the same build quality, that offers a lower price point. Good luck with that.
      • Where do you get your numbers?


        I'll grant you your first point, but where are the numbers supporting your second? Apple has not said what their unit costs are. That isn't "proven" publicly anywhere. Apple works out a 30% profit in total. A huge chunk of that operating cost is their stores, which attenuates their margin down to 30%. They're online sales earn close to 50% margin. That's for the entire sales channel AND R&D costs AND marketing AND software development(ie iTunes). From that DATA, the only reasonable ESTIMATE, is that Apple's unit margin is around 400%, not 30%.
    • Define decent

      Apple has demonstrated with the iPad that most users aren't using the fastest processors or most RAM. The Kindle reiterated that. If all you're using it for is surfing, watching the Daily Show, and keeping your grocery list in Evernote, then they can definitely make a $150 tablet.
      • As long as it is well built

        The tablet does not have to have the highest possible CPU/RAM/whatever that is currently in production. But it has to be well built! You hold that thing in your hands. You don't want all kinds of bad things to happen - including sudden falling apart or going into flames.
  • Cheap and "just good enough" worked

    to gain marketshare for Microsoft ("PCs", IExplorer, etc) during it's heyday and Google (cheap Android phones), why not with (possibly) highly subsidized/money-losing tablets (aka Amazon)?
    • Because

      even the crappy tablets are not beating Apple at that price point. They are just not cheap enough to justify the price difference.
      • Not exactly!

        It is because the so-called cheap tablets do not yet produce the same consumption experience as the ipad for similar applications. The quality of the build (OS + system apps) and the end user apps is in question here. People refer to this as the ecosystem. Google has shown focus on it and they are taking a 3rd chance at it much like Microsoft is taking their 1st chance at the middle and high end tablets against iPad.

        iPad tablets are middle-end tabs as someone already pointed out. It is their supplychain, system building and software app building expertise that allows them to give a high end display tech along with good cpu/gpu performance at a price point like $499 or $599 or $699. And Microsoft will do the same. Google could not so far because they still miss atleast one of the above three.

        It is already a race to the bottom. And Android devices (with or without Google control) will take marketshare if they fix their OS and app quality and other experience issues. Needless to say, both Apple and Microsoft will share the high end (or the middle end depending on your perspective of the whole tablet market) as well as the most profits from their products on market.

        There is no advertising market on the Google tablets yet. So it will make no money off them now or in the near future.
  • Could a Google Nexus tablet at $149 be a game-changer?

    Wasn't there already a bunch of tablets for under $150 that didn't do well? I believe Jason Perlow wrote up an article about his experience with one, it was less than favorable.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • True, but...

      none of them had the track record for decent hardware like ASUS or the Google name plastered on them.
    • no

      Not good tablets anyway.
  • The Kindle Fire is already subsidized and still it had to be built as a

    complete piece of crap to hit 199. Even accounting for things getting cheaper since then I dont think they'd make any money at 149 unless it was such a piece of crap that it would ruin their already crappy reputation. No one is going to buy enough google media to make it worth it because once they get it and see how bad it is theyll stop using it and buy a different one. I wouldnt buy a kindle fire if they went on sale for 29. It's just a slow heavy brick with short battery life. It has ruined amazons previously good reputation with kindles.
    Johnny Vegas