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

Phil Nickinson