One year after Steve Jobs got up on stage and presented the iPad to the world, Motorola showed off an Android Honeycomb powered tablet at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show called the Xoom. It was ugly, buggy, and boy was it expensive. Now you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that Google was clearly trying to compete with Apple back then, but who is Google competing with today? According to a rumor from DigiTimes, who has a mixed track record that’s equally bad as it is good, Google now sees Amazon and their $200 Kindle Fire as their main competitor. The rumor goes on to say that Google plans on releasing a tablet in March or April that runs Ice Cream Sandwich, has a 7 inch screen, and is supposed to cost less than $200. The only reason we’re even taking this rumor seriously is because Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and currently the company’s Executive Chairman, told an Italian newspaper late last month that Google would “market a tablet of the highest quality” within 6 months.
If Google does indeed launch their own tablet, then that poses a few questions. Is this a Google branded tablet? If yes, who will build it? How will Google’s partners react to Google getting into the hardware game? If it’s a “Nexus” tablet, meaning it’s pure Google, but built by someone else, then is Motorola going to be making it? With Google I/O due to take place in June, is that when we’ll see this tablet being launched? What if Apple introduces the long rumored 7.85 inch iPad?
Whatever does happen, all we know is that tablets are here to stay. The people who don’t have one today don’t consider the $500 price point attractive. With $200 being the new barrier to entry, the game changes completely.