Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) appears poised to unveil its long-rumored co-branded Nexus Android tablet at its I/O Developer Conference this week, according to multiple reports citing unnamed sources. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg both report that Asustek will make the device, which will be sold for a base price of $199 and will run the 4.1 version of Android, dubbed Jelly Bean.
The 7-inch tablet will likely offer new Android functions and will compete against lower-cost tablets, such as Amazon's Kindle Fire. Google intends to sell the device directly to consumers via its Google Play store, the reports said.
"It's targeting Amazon. The Kindle is based on Google's platform but with its own service, so Google has to launch its own service, too," an unnamed Asustek executive told Reuters. Google and Asustek declined to comment ahead of the start of I/O, which begins later today in San Francisco.
The Journal first reported in March that Google will sell co-branded Android tablets directly to consumers later this year via its online store.
Among the new features that Jelly Bean may offer include a voice-activated personal assistant similar to Apple's Siri. Additionally, Jelly Bean may bring new visual design tweaks and tighter integration with Google's Chrome operating system.
Google will likely face many of the same challenges selling tablets that it has faced in its previous online device sales efforts. So far Google's Nexus smartphone sales have not been strong, though they have spurred other OEMs to design better Android phones. Google is reportedly considering expanding the number of OEMs in its Nexus lead device program.
Google will also face the challenge of loading any co-branded tablet with intuitive and exciting experiences for media, content and applications. As AllThingsD notes, although Google Play is now a major hub for apps, books, movies and music, it does not have the reach of Apple's iTunes or Amazon's content library.
- see WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this GigaOM article
- see this AllThingsD article
Report: Google to expand Nexus device program to multiple OEMs
Google to sell unlocked HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus for $399
Report: Google, Motorola still unsure how to integrate
Report: Google to sell its own co-branded tablets to consumers
Correction, June 27, 2012: This article originally misstated the location of Google I/O. It is being held in San Francisco.