Back in January, sources from Google's upstream supply chain said that the company would enter the tablet market using the Nexus brand, packing the device with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" and a 7-inch screen. And instead of going after the Tablet King (Apple) itself, Google will go after Amazon and its Kindle Fire.
The news arrives after Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed that the company plans to release its own high-quality Android tablet within the next six months. Without stating additional details, it was assumed that Google would use its Nexus strategy as it did with the smartphone sector. Later sources revealed the ICS and 7-inch screen elements, saying the price would be around $199 to compete with Amazon.
So why take on Amazon instead of Apple? Amazon is simply a bigger threat, pulling consumers away from Android Market thanks to its own Apps Store which coughs up a free Android app once a day. Kindle Fire owners don't have access to Android Market, thus the only way Google can make a sale off those consumers is if they purchase and install the app on their smartphone, back it up onto a PC's hard drive, and then send it to the Kindle Fire and install it from the internal storage.
Both Google and Amazon provide Android-based services, offering movies, TV shows, books, comics, magazines, music and more. Google isn't exactly a retailer, and it doesn't offer means of purchasing video, storing it in the cloud, and streaming to an Android device or PC -- rentals are the only option. But that could change with the launch of a Nexus tablet. As it stands right now, Amazon is Google's single biggest threat to its reign over the Android nation, and that became apparent over the holiday season as they battled each other with price reductions, one matching the other in music, books and apps. Thus once the enemy online retailer is defeated, then Google could perhaps go after the Tablet King itself using higher-end tablets produced by its acquired Motorola Mobility unit.
Rumors surrounding the Nexus tablet surfaced once again this week thanks to Richard Shim, an analyst with DisplaySearch, who seemingly regurgitated previous reports. However he also speculated that Google's offering will sport the same 7-inch screen size, but at a higher resolution of 1280 x 800 (Kindle Fire is only 1024 x 600). Production will supposedly begin this April, and will produce between 1.5 million and 2 million units in its first run.
Looking back, previous reports claimed the tablet would actually make an appearance in March or April. But if Shim is correct in his analysis, Google could very well be waiting to see what Amazon produces with its Kindle Fire 2. Google could also be waiting to release a $199 Nexus ICS tablet during the launch window of Windows 8-based tablets later this year. Now wouldn't that rain on Microsoft's parade!
Still, at this point, Shim isn't sure how Google plans to market the 7-inch Nexus device. "I don't know how they plan on marketing it. If it's going to be a premium device, or if it's going to be a Kindle Fire type competitor," he said. Shim also pointed out that after Google completes the acquisition of Motorola, it will automatically gain ownership of three tablets: the original 10.1-inch Xoom, the 10.1-inch Xyboard (aka Xoom 2), and the 8.2-inch Xyboard.
So with those in its portfolio, why produce a 7-inch tablet? As stated before, to go after Amazon, command the sub-$200 Android tablet market, and bring consumers back home to Android Market's loving, open arms.