On Friday Reuters said that Google's Nexus 7 tablet was selling out across the nation, and it hadn't even hit store shelves yet... technically. The news arrived after Google confirmed that the Android 4.1.1 tablet had indeed started shipping on Friday, falling within the company's previous 7/12-7/17 launch window.
According to GameStop, the company has already blown through its first two allocations of the tablet reserved for pre-purchased orders. A third allotment of pre-sale units will be available in August -- Reuters said GameStop wouldn't provide an actual number. Even more, both Sam's Club and Staples listed the device as "out of stock" on Friday, and by Monday afternoon, Office Depot also listed the tablet as out of stock.
A Staples rep said via a phone call that the company reportedly had a hard time dealing with the sudden rush of orders, and was forced to push a large chunk off to another system to handle the load. Meanwhile, those consumers checking their order status online saw them to be canceled, thus causing a flood of phone calls to customer service.
Eventually Staples assured customers that they were still in line for the highly covered Google tablet. "As this is a pre-sale, the order number assigned when you pre-ordered (Staples order number above) will not provide valid tracking information and at some point will show a status of canceled when tracked on Staples.com," the company said in an email. "We want to assure you we have reserved your Nexus and it will ship between July 12th and July 17th with a transit time of 1 - 3 business days. You will receive your order number that can be tracked when the product ships and your credit card will be charged at that time."
News of a pre-sale sellout is undoubtedly good news for Google, as the company will see the financial benefits from users taking advantage of the tablet's services, and not based on hardware sales. The bill of manufacturing for the $199 Nexus 7 tablet -- which sports 8 GB of internal storage -- is reportedly $152, leaving a profit of only $47 per unit. That chump change will likely be consumed by marketing, leaving the $249.99 16 GB Nexus 7 only slightly profitable.
The Nexus 7 arrives as Amazon's own Kindle Fire Android tablet continues to fall in sales. The online retailer is supposedly gearing up to revamp its entire Kindle line of products including launching a revised Kindle Fire 1st-gen tablet, and a beefier Kindle Fire HD (2). There's also talk that a 10.1-inch version will be released by the end of the year, taking on Apple's iPad directly.
Meanwhile, Google is hoping the Nexus 7 will help steer the Android tablet market in the right direction. The gadget packs a lot of power within its 7-inch form factor including Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3, NFS technology, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, a 1280 x 800 HD IPS back-lit display, a 1.2MP front-facing camera and more.