We already reported the “Nexus tablet” was a done deal and now Amir Efrati of The Wall St. Journal is reporting that Google will sell Android tablets directly to consumers, through their own online store.
Google attempted to sell the HTC Nexus One phone to consumers back in 2010 (I bought one), but that didn’t go so well as the top 3 carriers rejected it and Google was forced to shut the store down later that year.
When the store closed, Andy Rubin said, “The global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters.”
The move to the new Google Play Store brand should help Google reach a wider audience as more people are forced onto the service. Millions of dollars are being spent to add audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers. Other additions to Google Play could include a unified gaming platform.
Android chief Andy Rubin recently said, “2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in that [tablet] space,” so this move fits in with the strategy of heating up lukewarm sales.
Most of what is being reported today has already been discussed at length. Google has partnered with ASUS to release a 7-inch Android tablet around a price point $199. Digitimes has also echoed this rumor several times. Surprisingly, Samsung is also mentioned as a partner for Google’s online device store.
Samsung currently produces the Galaxy Nexus for Google, so we could see the unlocked HSPA+ version finally go on sale to US customers. The price of the unlocked Galaxy Nexus has already dropped to $489 on Amazon, so hopefully Google can match or beat that price.
The usual “people familiar with the matter” also claim that the next release of Android, codenamed Jelly Bean, will become available “in the middle of this year.” Google should unveil the first details of Jelly Bean at their sold-out Google IO conference in June.