A $99 Nexus 7 is rumored, but what might a price drop entail?

ZOMG a $99 Nexus tablet! It's just all so exciting! It's going to revolutionize the way we do ... things!

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, folks. First off, this $99 Nexus tablet is another one of those Digitimes supply chain rumors that's actually part of a two-fer. Two new tablets, slimmer than the current Nexus 7. Yes. A newer, slimmer device. If we had presses, we wouldn't stop them over that bit of design iteration.

So one of the new tablets is said to be priced at $199, which also happens to be the price of the current 8GB Nexus 7. Cool. But the second tablet is said to be $99. That's, like, half as much! Everyone will want one! You'll need one for each pocket, they're so cheap!

But before we buy one for every person in our family, we've got a few questions to ponder:

  • To chop the price, what would have to go? Is the hardware gimped?
  • Would it subsidized by a service? Ad-supported like the Kindle Fire? Or is someone (Google) just eating the cost? Because that's a pretty big price break.
  • Or, perhaps this is the rumored Nexus 7 3G? You could get to the $99 price point if you're locked into a cellular contract. So the carrier would be subsidizing the cost.
  • Would a $99 tablet really revolutionize the tablet industry? Actually, let's rephrase that. Would a $99 Android tablet and the Google Play Store as it stands today revolutionize the tablet industry? 

It's that last bullet point that really stands out for us. Hardware is hardware, and we're quickly approaching the mythical innovation ceiling. Hardware is easy. It's just a matter of money. 

Content is where Google still has a lot of ground to make up. What good is a $99 tablet if you're stuck with the same movies and TV shows and music that Google Play has today, when you can spend $200, or $300 or a little more and have complete access to iTunes. Or Amazon Prime. Or, hell, even the upcoming Nook Video service. Google still has work to do on the content side. A lot of work. (And we're sure folks are hard at work on those deals.)

So before anyone has a nerdgasm over the prospect of a $99 tablet, remember that you don't see prices like that without compromise. And also remember that this is another unsourced supply-chain rumor. 

Source: Digitimes

  • That would be an amazing price point and yes everyone and there dead grandma will own this thing. Instead of trading snacks at lunch you going to see 1st graders trading nexus 7's. I would never buy this device if it ties me down to a contract but I would be ok if they stripped out like Bluetooth and GPS to get to that price.
  • Introducing the amazon Wendell...
  • I pay for cable so the Xfinity Player, HBO Go, Netfix apps keep me away from Google Movies & TV.
  • I'm a day or two away from getting my Nexus 7 16 GB, so I have to block out the rumors and convince myself that any other cheaper releases will be a huge compromise for the price.
  • I just got mine 2 days ago, so hoping its not the same one at a huge discount
  • I'm with you on this one... I just got 2 Nexus 7s (16G for me & 8G for mom), and would be really sad if I see a price cut now.
  • I really don't think that most tablet users spend their time buying vast amounts of itunes content. I have an iPad and I've never once bought a movie or tv show from itunes and other users I know don't either. The main use for a tablet is still surfing the web, reading ebooks and maybe playing a few games, google's catelog of movies and tv may need to improve but I don't think it's a deal breaker, plenty of people would grab one at $99 and it could be a game changer. Their are other ways to get tv shows and movies, like netflix for example.
    And most people still watch tv and movies on this old thing called a TV, not their tiny tablet lol.
  • Yeah, when he said that I was thinking, "Android has plenty of content. ITunes is overrated. What the heck an I doing on an Apple blog site?" Lol.
  • Probably dual core instead of quad core.
  • Dealbreaker. Must have at least 7 cores.
  • look at the others for examples if it's non-subsidized by carriers. The camera and GPS would go for sure. I don't see how they can do this w/o subsidizing it though. As for slimmer N7...it'd mean less battery life most likely...not sure I'd like that, though this at least means Asus can fix the screen lift issue properly assuming they can get it right this time :-P
  • IF they release an updated $199/249 Nexus 7 with an improved screen, better sound, and lord willing LTE radio built in, that would be an instant sale for me.
  • If they offer the same device with CDMA/LTE radio compatible for Verizon subsidized for a data plan, might be worthwhile :)
  • I want to see more rumors about nexus phones start popping up. I'm itching to ditch this crapshoot atrix.
  • I have a Galaxy Nexus. I have absolutely no interest in any other phone out there, but new Nexus phone rumors might perk my ears up. Till then... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • I'd still rather see a 10 inch Nexus Tablet with a solid keyboard dock - basically a much cheaper alternative to the ASUS Transformer series. The $99 tab will almost certainly be ad-supported and probably not a Tegra-3 powered gaming tablet, which is fine a large number of potential consumers. $99 will also be the price for the 8gb model. The $99 tablet may also try to lock out the Amazon App Store - heck, it may not be a "Nexus" at all and just be a Google Play tablet like the Kindle Fire. Not everything Google makes has to be a Nexus you know :p
  • Google didn't have to gimp Amazon Prime by not allowing Flash in Jelly Bean. You can still watch prime shows in the browser if you have flash and a compatible browser.
  • I'm pretty sure that google didn't intentionally remove flash to gimp Amazon Prime, Adobe said long before Jellybean came out that they wouldn't support flash on mobile operating systems anymore. Truth be told, even with flash support, it never worked that great in Android anyway.
    Hate to admit it, but apple in this one case was right all along, flash needs to die off.
  • Blame Adobe, not Google.
  • If I'm not mistaken, the availability of movie and TV content on any store - iTunes, Google Play, Amazon - is still limited to relatively few major countries anyway (I'm not even holding my breath for a Netflix-like service here in Denmark until, oh let's say around 2025. Content licensing litigation is stuck in the last century). So that's that part completely out of the equation in many countries. Although of course if I'm correctly informed we can't even buy the Nexus 7 here yet (I think I read somewhere a while ago that a September launch was planned, but I haven't heard more about that), and is the Kindle Fire US only? I'd like a Nexus 7 as a secondary, more portable tablet (I have a Transformer TF300), but for the reasons mentioned above the non-app content part of Google Play is going to be completely irrelevant as I simply can't imagine it will be available. Same situation in most other countries I imagine, including possibly most of Europe?
  • I love the idea of a $99 tablet, but not if it requires a network contract. The reality is (for me), that it's just going to sit on my coffee table (or bedroom); wifi accessible. I'm okay with a $199 price tag too, but more so for a 10" tablet. I don't get the complaints on the Google Play library though. Yes, they noticeably have less music.. But there's an amazon app for that.. Less videos, but there's a netflix app for that.. less books, but who cares about that :)
  • For books there's the Kindle and Nook apps. Even if I had an iDevice, why would I buy books from iTunes that I can only use on an iDevice? Kindle runs on everything so my books are available to me no matter where I am or what device I have available.
  • I was making a joke... indicating that I don't read... so no need to concern myself with google play's book library... however, there's an army of apps for books as well..
  • I'd buy one for $100.....but did you REALLY just suggest I get an ipad over a nexus tab??? For shame, phil!! You should be embarrassed to call yourself an android central staff member, talking such nonsense :) Joking aside, though, I don't give a damn about itunes...I don't have an account, nor do I ever intend to. The same goes for amazon prime. I stream all my movies/TV from places other than any you mentioned, and google music has yet to disappoint me. Also, I wouldn't buy a kindle if my life depended on it. If I wanted a chastised pile of circuits, I'd buy an i-device. Nexus 7 at $99 sounds like a bargain to me...hell, I was considering one for $200, but now the deal is as good as sealed (assuming the rumor pans out, of course)
  • Maybe it could be this: The updated Nexus 7 comes out and they sell the current generation of the Nexus 7 for just $99. I would be on it like a fat kid on cake
  • If this is true, there will be two coming here for my boys. That's cheaper than a 3DS.
  • I've been tempted to get one of the cheap, no-name tablets for the kids to play a little before bedtime, but the lack of access to Google Play has made me pass. If google released a cheap tablet with play access, I'd be up for it. As long as the screen wasn't atrocious. -Suntan
  • I just went through this exact thing last month. Checked out all the "under $100" tablets and found their lack of Google Play access (along with other shortcomings) disappointing. So I caved and bought a couple of Galaxy Tabs (GTab 2.0 7" Student Bundle & GTab 7"). Good enough for the kids.
  • Nexus 7 here.
    The proprietary connector to charge put me off those (even though the hardware is great). Had to have standard usb charging (though the battery life of the Nexus 7 is amazing)
  • I'm very curious to see if this ever comes to fruition. At $99, I might do a little more than really want one. Until then, I'll just have to keep trying my luck to win one from one of the Android Central contests.
  • This
  • Isn't the answer to this question obvious? iFixit did a tear down of the N7 right? So we know what the components cost right? So all someone has to do is piece together the right components to get to $99. Then you will know what has to be sacrificed to make it possible. (My money is on the screen and cameras. Anything else would make it no better than an Archos.
  • i couldnt sell my nexus 7 for j$9.99...not even if I put an apple sticker on it.... its such a piece of crap...hardware wise
  • Heck, I'll buy your Nexus 7 for $19.99! Then again, I'm sure you don't even have one. Your probably just a troll.
  • It must be a a cell network version, if this is true at all.
    If they are considering a $99, regular WiFi tablet, similar to the N7, I think that is a terrible decision.
    There are already enough people out there under the impression that Android *anything* is "cheap junk",(which the Nexus line is quite obviously not) and this would hurt Google and Android's image in a very damaging way.
    People have made the point, that Apple not lowering the prices of an iPad during the worst of the recession, is the biggest reason that consumers are willing to pay the same amount every time,(most would pay even more)why it holds it resale value+luxury status, and why people are taking Apple+iOS more seriously at this point. Unfortunately, that seems to be completely right.
    Once you lower the price on something, anything higher is perceived as a ripoff at that point. That's how consumers are. Unless Google is ready to eat the entire cost, for the sake of the Android Ecosystem, this would likely backfire.
    It also could not be any less impressive in overall hardware, than the Nexus 7. The seven strikes a perfect balance at that price, but any lower, and you would hear complaints left and right of it being a cheap, wannabe iPad, and all that stuff. I think Google is too smart to try and execute some of the imagined strategies discussed here. I could be wrong, but this just feels like an inaccurate rumor with maybe just a spec of truth.
    Nexus devices should be fairly priced--not desperately priced.
    Does anybody disagree? I'm always mindful of the fact that I might be wrong.
    I'm gonna go listen to "I Might Be Wrong" by Radiohead now. ;-)
  • "There are already enough people out there under the impression that Android *anything* is "cheap junk",(which the Nexus line is quite obviously not) and this would hurt Google and Android's image in a very damaging way.
    " This might matter if Google's priority was to make a large margin on hardware sales. I believe Google has expressed multiple times that they *don't* have a desire to make large margin on hardware sales. After all, they give their OS to other hardware makers for free. How much margin is google making off of an HTC or Sony product? -Suntan
  • You don't have to explain Google's business model to me. I completely understand their way of thinking--It's much of the mainstream market that doesn't. You're trying to school the wrong guy.
    The fact is, there are many who will dismiss it as junk right away. Consumers tend to be shallow, and they could care less about learning the different business models that compose the smart-device wars.
    Okay, who's next? ;-)
  • Phil, I think your logic is backwards, and I believe this is how Google is thinking: By dropping the Nexus 7 to $99, it encourages 3 things: 1. more people to buy it.
    2. The more people that buy it, the more people on the Android Market looking to buy games, movies, etc.
    3. The more people on the Android Market, the more developers and content providers will be likely to develop for Android Market (or sign deals to provide their content), because at the end of the day, you NEVER ignore a large market share. Essentially, by being able to prove that you have an enormous tablet market share through sales of the N7, you force the Devs and Content Providers to start playing along and make Google/Android more of a priority than iTunes. Once that happens, the content will start to improve, and all the subsidizing Google had to do on those N7s will begin to be paid back through sales on Android Market. Sony & Playstation 3 did something very similar (Sony lost along the lines of $200 per PS3 in the beginning), and it worked out pretty well for them, as they're now turning a significant profit on PS3 Sales, Games, & Online Content. But I could be entirely wrong about all this, what do I know?
  • I would prefer they stop messin around and give me a nexus 10, thats powerful enough to retire my xoom.
  • I think it will be the same nexus 7 at that lower price point up make room for a upgraded option at the 200-250 range... hopefully a 10 inch tab
  • If this is the same one I just spent $250 on I'm going to be pissed.
  • Can't you access Amazon Prime content from standard Android devices? I think about switching from Netflix to AmPrime every once and a while but AmPrime just doesn't seem to have as much free content as NetFlix so I keep deciding not to. If you can't access AmPrime content on any Android device then I don't think I'll ever switch, I use Netflix to entertain the little ones when we are out and about so I don't want to loose that ability.
  • Not surprisingly there's no native Android app for the Amazon Prime video content, but if you still have a flash enabled browser you can get to the content that way. I have Amazon Prime and Netflix, and to be honest the browser based Amazon Prime experience on Android is extremely underwhelming compared to the native app for Netflix. I access Amazon Prime from a streaming device on the TV which works as well as the Netflix on the same device and has better content (IMHO) but I wouldn't switch to it if I was just accessing through Android devices.
  • please shut up and take my money For $99 and access to the play store, I can rule the world