Mar 16 AT 9:36 AM Taylor Wimberly 211 Comments

Rumor: Nexus tablet is a “done deal”, to retail for as low as $149

asus-memo-630

Earlier this month we revealed that Google had chosen ASUS to produce their upcoming “Nexus tablet.” This report was later echoed by Digitimes, who said the 7-inch tablet could arrive as early as May. This has been the hottest Android rumor of the month so we have continued to ask around and dig up more details. We just received some new information, so read on for the full report.

The Rumor

The ASUS MeMo 370T that was revealed at CES has been scrapped after Google contracted with ASUS to produce their “Nexus tablet.” Earlier reports said the device would retail for $249-199, but we are now told the target price is $149-199. The quad-core Tegra 3 version that was previously leaked is no more. Other than the 7-inch display, no additional information has been provided on the specs.

The Source

This latest rumor comes from a senior employee at a supply chain company based in the United States. They wish to remain anonymous.

One Android Insider’s take on the rumor

“It’s a done deal,” said the supply chain source. We have already heard countless rumors that Google was working on “a tablet of the highest quality,” and this latest report give us further confidence it’s going to happen.

What’s most surprising about the latest rumor is to hear that the target price has been lowered to $149 and that the quad-core Tegra 3 processor is out. I’m going to assume these two bits are related.

It sounds like Google wanted to undercut the Kindle Fire, so they lowered the bill of materials by going with a processor that was cheaper than Tegra 3. We heard similar stories last year that Amazon had originally chosen Tegra 2 to power the Kindle Fire, but they went with Texas Instruments’ OMAP4 at the last moment because they got a better volume deal.

ASUS has a strong relationship with Qualcomm, so we might see a Snapdragon processor end up inside this “Nexus tablet.”

We also found it noteworthy that our source called this device the “Nexus tablet.” The final product name has not been revealed, and we were curious if the Nexus branding was going to be used. I originally thought that this device might be called Google Play, but it turned out that was the name for Google’s new online content store. I’ll still go out on a limb and predict this tablet might be called Nexus Play.

Many of our readers were excited about the ASUS MeMo 370T tablet as it stood, and I’m sure most will be upset to hear that it could be canned. Hopefully our source is wrong about that information. It could be that the MeMo 370T was slated to become the “Nexus tablet”, but Google wanted something cheaper so ASUS scrapped it and configured a lower spec’d device.

I know a lot of people would buy a quad-core tablet at $249, so I hope ASUS still gives customers that option. However, ASUS did not show off the device at Mobile World Congress and they have been quiet about it, so who knows what’s going on with it.

Wrapping up, we still expect this device to be announced at the CTIA Wireless show which takes place in New Orleans from May 8-10. Sources say it will ship with the latest version of Ice Cream Sandwich, but if this is truly a Nexus device it might become the flagship platform for the next version of Android, codenamed Jelly Bean. More information on Jelly Bean is expected to be revealed at Google IO on June 27-29th.

Let us know what you think about this latest report in the comments below. Does the lower target price increase your chances of buying one? Will the lack of a quad-core Tegra 3 processor turn you away? Would you rather buy the $249 ASUS MeMo 370T as it was originally announced?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week