I’ve only just gotten back to enjoying my Nexus 7 after a long wait for a replacement unit, and already there are even more rumors of a new Nexus 7 variant. We already saw some speculation about a 3G version of the device, but the newest rumors say that Google is planning to reduce the price of the tablet even more, down to just $99.
Now, don’t get too excited just yet, as this rumor comes mostly unsubstantiated from the Digitimes supply chain. Even if it does turn out to be true, there are a couple possible reasons it may not be as great as you might thing. Primarily, it is quite possible that the $99 price point is for the 3G Nexus 7, but only applies with a cellular contract. This would be nothing new, and probably a worse deal than buying a $199 Nexus 7 and using your phone as a hotspot.
Then there’s the possibility that Google will simply subsidize the cost with advertisements like Amazon does with their Kindle, which would work for some but not others. Finally, there’s the fact that the current Nexus 7 costs about $151 for Google to build, which means that a $99 variant would almost certainly have to make quality cuts or be subsidized in some way.
There is, I suppose, a vague possibility that Google might simply count on lowering hardware costs and revenue from the Play Store to make a $99 Nexus 7 practical, but I don’t think it is too likely. Anyhow, even if it isn’t planned for the near future, I do think that Google is probably working towards a $99 price point for quality Android tablets, and it will be quite interesting to see when that happens. Until then, though, you can always try to pick up a current Nexus 7 from our rapidly concluding contest.
Update: Unfortunately, ASUS has just announced that they don’t have any plans for a cheaper version of the Nexus 7, much less one at $99. Bummer.[Digitimes via Android and Me]