Hardcore Android fans love the Nexus line, but there hasn’t been any tablet equivalent of the pure Google experience since the original Motorola XOOM came out almost a year ago. However, Asus’ well-received Transformer tablets have come close, with nearly stock versions of Honeycomb (and now Ice Cream Sandwich on the Transformer Prime and the new tablets from Mobile World Congress). That being the case, rumors out of AndroidandMe that Asus will build the Nexus tablet, AKA the “Google Play”, are encouraging.
Everything we know about the Nexus tablet (and considering that it’s still very much a rumor, that isn’t much) says that it will be a seven-inch Kindle Fire competitor in the $199 range. That said, the source claims that Asus is planning to include a quad-core processor, probably the same Nvidia Tegra 3 that’s in the upcoming MeMO 370T. Since that tablet is seven inches, 720p and runs Ice Cream Sandwich at a price of just $250, all the pieces are there to make this a possibility. Considering that Google literally gave laptops away to seed Chrome OS, there’s nothing stopping them from subsidizing the cost of a tablet and selling it at a loss.
Keep in mind that this is all chasing after the wind. The only confirmed information we’re running on is Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s passing comment that the company is preparing a “tablet of the highest quality” sometime this year. That certainly sounds like a Nexus tablet, but it could be a much more loose association between Google and an OEM, as existed for the original Motorola DROID. Since even further rumors suggest the tablet will begin production in April in time for an unveil at Google IO a couple of months later, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.