Jan 05 AT 9:13 AM Anthony Domanico 76 Comments

Is Google’s rumored tablet aimed at dethroning the Kindle Fire?

google tablet 1

Recently, Eric Schmidt has suggested that Google is working on a tablet of their own branding to enter the crowded Android tablet market. Considering Google’s history on the Nexus line of devices, we assumed Google was working on a Nexus tablet, a high-end device that features both the latest hardware and the latest version of Android.

A new rumor from Digitimes suggests that Google may be targeting the Kindle Fire as its main competition in the tablet market. Digitimes’ sources believe that Google is working on a device with a 7″ display, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a sub-$200 price tag to directly compete with Amazon’s tablet, which has quickly become the best-selling Android tablet to date.

If this rumor pans out, Google’s tablet should launch sometime in the March-April timeframe, and could give the Kindle Fire a legitimate run for its money. After all, Android commands nearly 50% of the smartphone market, and a tablet that more closely resembles the smartphones people have come to know and understand at a price they can easily afford may catapult sales beyond what Amazon has been able to accomplish with the Fire.

We have good reason to be skeptical about Google even working on a tablet at all, however, as Digitimes also reports that Google Taiwan claims to have never heard about the company launching their own branded tablet.

So there you have it. The Google Tablet may or may not exist and may or may not be targeted at Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Clear as mud.

What do you guys think? Is Google working on their own tablet? If so, do you think it’ll be more of a “Nexus Tablet” or Kindle Fire?

Source: Digitimes

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • jawabba

    I’m guessing its a Nexus Tablet. Google likes to be the biggest and best when it comes out, or at least bring what they have to a new level of innovation. Kindle Fire has been done, Google Nexus Tablet should be great (if they go that route)

    • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

      I want an Android tablet. What would be great about a Google tablet is that unlocking it should be easy, just like with the Galaxy Nexus and it should at least receive the next version of Android after ICS. I think I will wait for a while until Google announces some specs for their tablet.

      • jawabba

        Love it. I would imagine because there would be no carrier that the tablet itself could come unlocked out of the box. I’ve been surprised before, but seems like a no brainer.

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

      It’s naive to believe that making the best spec’d tablet is all it takes to win the market. If Kindle Fire’s current success told us anything, it’s that smartphone buyers are different than tablet buyers. A smartphone is a evolutional device. People know what it does and what they can use it for — they pretty much know why they want one. A tablet, however, is a new category of product. The user needs a reason to buy one. Right now, a tablet is mainly an entertainment device — something that an user can use to consume content: watching videos, reading books, playing games, etc. Because of that, it’s important for the users to acquire content easily. Look at how the Kindle Fire’s UI, its main purpose is to get you to the content you want. Now, look back to an Android tablet. The bigger the tablet you get, the smaller the size of the Market icon. Combining that with other visual distraction added by an OEM, it’s not hard to imagine some less tech-savvy users would have problem utilizing an Android tablet as an entertainment device.

      • Jeff Pan

        Yes. UI does play a significant role in tablet share.

  • redraider133

    I think they are aiming for the kindle fire because everytime anything android related comes out it is always touted as the iphone/ipad killer and then fails but going this route may keep it from being compared to the apple products and is in a different category just like the kindle.

    • http://about.me/patrick.connelly pcon

      I sorta agree and sorta disagree. I think the reason to go this way is not to not be called an ipad killer (wow that’s a lot of negatives), but because they’ve seen the explosive growth in this area of the tablet market. The larger tablet market is already flooded with Android tablets and this size is still mostly unused by non-cheap (quality not price) tablets.

    • lancaster09

      Thats like Gingrich saying he wants to beat Santorum and not Romney… no matter how you say it, it will always be compared. They are arguably the top 2 OS for tablets and phones. Some tech reviewer will always to compare a device to the top 1 or 2 devices out there

    • stenzor

      If anything, I think they’d be going for that market because it’s a lot easier to enter a new market with a cheap device so that lots of people can buy it and talk about it, rather than entering a new market with a high-end device that people would be skeptical to buy right away. I’m sure they will be releasing a high-end Nexus tablet later too.

    • drop

      Amazon is one of the Nemesis of Google (the others are Microsoft and Apple).

      All 4 companies want to capture consumers, and make sure that every site you visit, everything you buy online, generates more profit.

      So Google may go after Amazon as soon as there are done with Apple.

  • erik

    What’s with the talk of them targeting anything? Isn’t the goal to sell as many as possible regardless of what another product is doing? You could say they’re targeting the iPad also. They’re targeting making money. Point blank period.

  • htowngtr

    I would definitely buy it.

    • johnnycsx

      I have the Asus Transformer Prime already, but for sub 200 I would buy another.

  • http://goo.gl/tQ2E wwJOSHdo

    Depending on the size, I’d go for it. Because I want the Kindle Fire since it’s MUCH smaller than my Transformer Prime. The Prime and TouchPad are simply to big to carry everywhere. But the Fire fits in baggy clothing.

    • WlfHart

      Yeah, the 7″ devices are perfect for a deep pocketed pair of pants. Quite comfortably replaces the paperback I used to keep in my pocket for dead time reading. But if you’re looking for decent clothing to carry a Prime around, try a ScottEVest. You can find them online and they will carry just about any piece of portable consumer electronics you can throw at it. I haven’t tried a Prime yet as they are out of stock near me, but it’d be worth a try.

    • dextermorph

      I just put cm7, android 2.3.7 on my HP touchpad the dual boot of webOS is nice if I wanna. Have you put chainfire3d on it to play tetra games on the touchpad…n change build.prop?

      I love my HP touchpad w/ android, can’t wait for ics on it…

  • txbluesman

    Doesn’t matter to me. I would buy it and stick it in my pocket. Google tablet is all you have to say. Love the Nexus devices.

  • thomad

    I would buy it for sure, unocked tablet, fast updates..development for this tablet would be similar to nexus line of phones. Hope this turns out to be real.

    • grnlantern79

      Sorry was not logged in this was my comment. I would buy it for sure, unocked tablet, fast updates..development for this tablet would be similar to nexus line of phones. Hope this turns out to be real.

  • jenskristian

    I’ll probably buy it either way, but I hope it is a high end “Nexus Tablet”.

  • Mykhaylo Tkachuk

    Nexus Tablet – it sounds more realistic – to be a reference standards in tablets. Show us what Android tablet can do :)

  • Tyler Tyvand

    I just hope Google handles a nexus tablet like they did the nexus one and nexus s. I was disappointed with the galaxy nexus.

    • GeauxLSU

      The good thing about a Nexus tablet is that they wouldn’t need to go thru any of the carrier BS. They could sell it directly and thru Bestbuy, walmart, etc.

  • GeauxLSU

    My guess is that they are trying to get back the market sales. If everyone is buying a Kindle Fire, then Amazon is profiting from the app sales and not Google. I think they will try to undercut the Fire, and after they are successfull with that, they may go for a high end Nexus device.

  • thechad

    it will be a Nexus Tablet and they will launch it in conjunction with their purchase of T-Mobile. It will be the first tablet released by G-Mobile.

  • Vasilis Kourtis

    I think the “target” should be iPad. But, in my opinion, targeting Kindle Fire and making a well build device with pure ICS which will cost under 300$ will do the work for iPad too!

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff

    Trying to kill the Fire with their own tablet is going to cause a ton of collateral damage. The market for $400+ Android tablets would all but disappear.

    • BruceCLin

      “The market for $400+ Android tablets would all but disappear.”

      As it should.

  • Trinhbo

    I think the smart thing for Google to do is to make 7″ tablet that has dual cameras, microphone, and GPS. On those hardware specs alone it would beat the Kindle Fire. This allows you to do things like take pictures, video chat, and replace your in-car GPS. Combine the fact that it would get updates directly from Google and pair it with a $200 price point and there’d be little incentive to get the Kindle Fire. Google could stand to lose a little money on the hardware if they make up for it with app purchases and advertising dollars that result afterward. I’d like to see an expandable SD memory slot but the Galaxy Nexus did not have one either so they may omit that to save some costs.

  • Trinhbo

    Regarding making an iPad killer, they’d have to make a 10″ tablet that is aggressively priced, not comparably priced. Consumers have shown that $500 is enough to make you pause for a “niche” device. iPad 2s have sold like crazy after they reduced their prices by only about $50 down to $450.

    If Google made a Nexus Tablet of sorts that is full featured and priced at around $400 for a 32 GB model, then I think 10″ Android tablets would start to sell more.

  • nytobos

    i would buy it at a reasonable price. I don’t really have a need for a tablet (yet) so I would only get it as a cool way to watch my netflix in bed and to have another google product. I’m hoping it’s a reasonably priced nexus tablet.

  • honourbound68

    It makes sense for them to go after the kindle fire since the Android Market also has music, videos, books as well as apps. And, if they went the way of KF, they wouldn’t be hurting their partners as much so Asus, Moto, Sammy etc. can concentrate on producing 10″ tabs to compete with the iPad.

  • pjax

    based on the Nexus line of devices, the Nexus Tab (it’s most likely going to be Samsung) will be
    1) the baddest specs of its time. Nexus has always debuted with the best hardware available in its time
    2) 10 inch screen. Amazon is going to release a 10 inch Kindle Fire soon, so there
    3) not gonna fight the Kindle Fire. fight another Android device? are you kidding me?

    • redraider133

      Except the kindle uses amazon’s app store so essentially it isn’t a “android device” it is only in shell.

      • pjax

        almost irrelevant. Google doesn’t expect to make most money off the Market. the Market is just there to support Android

        Google should be happy about the Kindle Fire because it meant more users. Google is not in direct competition with Amazon. The Kindle Fire is not Amazon’s product. Amazon is selling content, not tablets

    • cloud36426

      Doesn’t have to be Samsung. Google does now own Motorola. It also doesn’t have to be a Nexus branded tablet.

      • pjax

        Google has acquired Motorola for quite some time now. But was the Galaxy Nexus made by Motorola? Was it called a Droid Razr Nexus?

        Given the short time frame, I’m 75% sure it’s going to be a Samsung. Would go nicely with a Galaxy Nexus phone

        • cloud36426

          But the full acquisition didn’t go through until just recently.

      • pjax

        also, since there’s never been a Nexus branded tablet before, I’m 80% sure the Google Tablet is going to be a Nexus

    • 666

      1. Is wrong. The Nexus S was a rebadged Galaxy S. Galaxy Nexus has a pretty old GPU and standard CPU. Nexus One was pretty much a smalled HD2.

      2. Rumors have it at 7inches which I don’t mind.

      3. They are fighting to keep real Android tablets alive. The Kindle Fire is the most successful Android tablet by a mile. The Kindle Fire doesn’t even run the tablet version of the OS and is barely recognizable as Android as is. If everyone buys Fires the Android tablet ecosystem is shot. Android tablet developers will develop for the fire and not for Android.

      • pjax

        1) well, almost. I think the Nexus S came before the Galaxy S. Let me reword my statement: Nexus devices have always been “high end”

        3) good point. But if people develop for the fire, wouldn’t the rest of the Android world be able to use it also? I doubt there will be “Kindle Exclusive Apps”

        Amazon isn’t selling Tablets. They’re selling apps, books, music, videos

  • Marc’us H.

    It’s a good idea to aim at something like the Kindle, but in reality it won’t work. It’s too small of an audience. It’s an eReader for Pete’s sake. I’m pretty sure by now Google has realized they aren’t going to catch the iPad with the dozens of Android tablets out there, they still haven’t caught up with Apple. If they aim for a smaller market, they could soon exceed expectations and THEN catch up with Apple. It would be a smart move to go after the eReader market, but in the end how much will it really pay off?

    • 666

      The fire is taking over the non iPad tablet market. Android won the phone war with better carrier support but they’re a non factor in the tablet market. Those things considered, if Google doesn’t stop Amazon, everyone will develop for the Fire and all other Android tabs are done.

      • Marc’us H.

        The Kindle Fire runs a base form of Android … so Google really isn’t *losing* much, they’re getting paid, but not as much as they’d like. I agree that Kindle DID take some of the iPad share, but I don’t think it’s nearly as significant as some people are trying to make it out to be. How many iPad 1′s are still out there, and how many iPad 2s were sold the first week? And then the iPad 3 is just right around the corner, I don’t see anyway of Android catching up w/ tables at the rate people buy iPads.

  • h0ruza

    Come on son!

    Google will never do anything that directly goes toe to toe with a bespoke product like the kindle.

    If it makes a tablet it will be in the name of pushing boundaries and innovation.

    End of!

  • triangle

    I think that a Nexus tablet would be great, but only compelling if the price is lower than the competition and it brings new features more quickly. If it’s priced at a level similar to other tablets in the market, I’m not sure that it’ll get a great reception. The Transformer Prime brings a keyboard solution that is extremely attractive and a big differentiator (as well as being the only quad core tablet for now). The point is that a Nexus tablet will need to have some different and compelling features.

    As far as being the first tablets to get updates, it might not be as big of an advantage for wifi only tablets since the carriers would not be the gate keepers, rather it would be up to the manufacturer. If you went with one of the bigger names like Asus or Samsung, I would imagine you would probably get updates in a reasonable timeframe.

  • Nathan D.

    It would be nice to see this actually do this

  • McLovin

    It wouldn’t be hard to dethrone the Kindle Fire. I had one and the more I used it, the more I hated it. No physical buttons to control volume, it is locked out of the Android Marketplace, brain dead version of Android, no bluetooth, no SD card, Amazon’s draconian idea that you need a live credit card tied to the device just to download the free apps, etc.

    As soon as I saw the tip found here about the HTC EVO View 4Gâ„¢ tablets going on sale before Christmas for $219 and $239, I jumped all over that one. Front/back cameras, bluetooth, physical volume buttons, removable SD card, it was a no brainer.

  • NitroG7

    Ok… how are tablets going for under $200 but a smartphone is over $500 off contract??

    • Terrormaster

      Because carriers in conjunction with OEMs have been raping us blind for years over the cost of an additional 3G radio chip that wholesales for under $30 bucks (just look at the amazing difference in cost on the 3G iPad vs the WiFi only iPad). And we just keep forking over our hard earned cash and signing contracts to buy into the illusion of cheaper subsidized cost. Carrier subsidy is a farce. End of the day we get locked into a contract thinking we’re getting discounts while the carrier is still making a hefty profit. That $500 cellphone is really only costing your carrier about $100-150 per unit tops if that.

  • Mustin

    I’ve long loved the idea of an Android tablet and have been waiting to make the right move. The ones I want are just too high priced. My friend put it best when he said, “No one – and I mean NO ONE – NEEDS a tablet.” I agree and it’s been hard to justify the price, no matter how much I and/or anyone else wants one. But the idea of a Google Tablet? Sign me up. I’ll buy launch day. I haven’t liked any of the OS software on any tablet save for any HTC as I am partial to it from my previous (and current) HTC phones. But I’m ready for a Google Tablet!

  • JH

    “sources believe that Google is working on a device with a 7″ display, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a sub-$200 price tag”
    OMFG that would be perfect! Want!

  • Billy

    Nexus tablet has my bet … I think there is still tons of room in the tablet market and it will become more and more a part of normal daily usage in business, classrooms and home.

  • Jayson Olson

    I was hoping by now that many manufacturer’s would have gotten the hint and begun dropping prices on existing mid-level tablets (Galaxy Tab 16 Plus for example) after taking notice how well the Fire is doing, but alas, they still seem to be holding strong on their pricing models.

    As a person who has been holding out for a tablet for some time now to see what post Xmas offerings may bring, I’ve cycling back around to the Fire yet again. I’m not a huge Android gamer, I do more reading (ala Comixology) and liek to catch a few shows via Netflix so a 7″ is kinda up my alley.

    Now that rumors abound that Google may have something up their sleeves, I sigh yet again. Now to wait until March/April time frame. That’s 10 – 14 more weeks to wait :(

    I hope CES can really reveal what we have instore for the next 2 quarters. I’m still waiting to see what the rumored Amazon 8″ tablet may provide (Coyote/Hollywood?), if Samsung will drop the price on Galaxy Plus’s, and now what Google specs may be.

    I find these tablet offerings so “fuzzy” right now.

    Suggestions? I’d really like to cap my price point at $299 as a first time user.

  • Hall Lo

    Nexus Tablet? Sounds good to me ;)
    If Google really make one I would definitely get it!

  • TJungus

    I would like to see multiple sizes, I don’t think that 7″ is the right choice for a tablet that will only be released with one size. Personal opinion I suppose, but I would like to see something with at least 8″.

  • rantmo

    I would love for this to be true and I think it would be a very canny move. The low to mid range market seems to me to have the most potential for growth and is currently underserved. Google could make a killing by putting out a quality device in the $200 range, vanilla Android would be a given (and a gigantic plus for both the device and for Android writ-large) and if Google commits to updates there’s no competition for it. It would define that slice of the marketplace.

    All that would be contingent on the market staying essentially as it stands today. If the median tablet price drops, as I hope it will, and/or another manufacturer puts out a quality machine in that range, Google will lose some advantage. It would still be a top dog but they wouldn’t be setting the terms in the same way they would if these rumors are true.

  • Darkseider

    For a smallish tablet the new Nook Tablet is the way to go. Granted it is $50 more than the Kindle Fire but far more capable. It will be interesting to see where Google’s tablet falls into the mix. With Acer dropping the A200 8 Gig for $329 at 10.1″ it is impressive. Then the beast known as the Transformer Prime for $499. There are also the list of Archos Gen 9 tablets that fall below and between the $299 and $499 price range. 2012 is definitely going to be an interesting year in the tablet space for Android. Lastly lets not forget the rumored Samsung 10.1 successor to either be running an Exynos 44xx OR an A15 based SoC using “BigLittle”.

  • Jesse McCullough

    It makes sense to me that Google would want an affordable platform for people to consume content from the App Market, Google Books, and Google Music. Throw in Google Apps and Docs pre-loaded and a sub $200 Google Tab doesn’t sound that far fetched.

    I have a Kindle Fire, and I like it, but my documents are saved in Google Docs and I like working with Google Docs on my PC. I’d like to work on Google Docs on my Kindle Fire but I can’t because the Amazon Appstore doesn’t feature Google Docs. I also miss Google Reader and Currents for my feeds. I miss Google Music but I have my music uploaded to Amazon now too. The Kindle Fire isn’t a perfect solution to all my needs for a portable content and productivity device.

    My perfect tab would fit somewhere in that sub $200 area with good performance and allow me to choose where and how I want to access my content and work with it. It’s the reason I carry an android phone and not an iphone.

  • ArticulateFool

    If google does release a tablet, I hope they advertise it so the general public is aware of its existance.

    Please don’t make the mistakes you keep making with the nexus phones.

  • Kaote

    Keep it free of any interference or contracts from cell phone companies, and I’d consider it as a secondary tablet around the house. Not sure it would replace my Transformer, as it has become like an extra appendage to me.

  • GrendelJapan

    I’m looking forward to a Google (Nexus?) tablet. I’m also hopeful that Motorola will start delivering vanilla devices as the norm too.

  • damambt


  • danielmkim

    This will be good to see. I am really curious to see the specs.

  • aranea

    Why wouldn’t Google be doing both. A 10.1″ high-end Nexus tablet with every bells and whistles that people want in a tablet and a 7″ moderate spec’d Nexus tablet with a low price label. Both can be sen as flag-ship devices in their own niche. Both will have Google support and be part of Android ecosystem. A family can own both for different purposes. And more importantly they can be used to show that Android upgrades work on both form factors and specs.

  • lokidokie

    A high end Nexus tab would be better.
    Google can show off Android better than anyone else.

  • daveloft

    My guess is a low end 7″ to compete with the Kindle Fire st $199 that will be released in Q1.

    Then in Q2 Google will launch a high end tablet with a quad core cpu and a 1920 x 1200 display to compete with the iPad.

  • http://oceanmedia.net Scotter

    I love competition!
    Another part of me wishes Google would take more of a partner role in regard to Amazon. Maybe they do in other areas? And if they do, does competing with them in tablets jeopardize the other relationships?

  • http://oceanmedia.net Scotter

    While I don’t like the idea of Google competing with Amazon, I do like the idea of Google competing with Samsung :-)

  • kungpaodragon

    I don’t care about Kindle Fire. I mean I like it as a product, but I hope Google doesn’t really set its sight on the Fire. iPad is the king of tablet out there. Whether Android is better or not is not relevant here. Focusing only on the quality of a tablet, if Google is going to make one, iPad should be what it’s competing with, not Fire.

  • ainen

    A Nexus Tablet would be amazing, especially at that price.

  • Joshua

    I think most tablet owners, myself included, have realized that a back facing camera and gps are a bit unecessary and that’s why the Kindle fire with it’s price has done so well, just like the original nook color.

    Yes, there still are some people who want to pay a crazy amount and have all that crap, but most don’t. I would say if google does release one it will be affordable and not a higher end device.

  • druie

    I really hope it is a nexus! I’ve been holding out on purchasing a transformer prime, or galaxy tab because I figure the nexus is going to be killer awesome!!

    If it is looking to compete with the kindle fire, I’ll probably just pick up the transformer or galaxy instead! Hope they announce something soon!

  • Nivki

    Can’t wait to see it, not sure I would buy it though!

  • _Diego

    I’d be very tempted to buy that tablet if it is anywhere near the ‘nexus-class’…. not sure if I would if the price is as high though…