Sep 27 AT 11:24 AM Taylor Wimberly 31 Comments

Google and ASUS rumored to launch $99 Nexus 7 this year


Our favorite rumormonger Digitimes is back today with claims that Google and ASUS are working on two new versions of the Nexus 7 tablet. One version will be a $99 entry-level model and the other will be a $199 ultra-thin upgraded model. ASUS quickly denied the rumors, but we wouldn’t be surprised if there was some truth to the reports.

Previously, Digitimes said there would also be a Nexus 10 tablet and a Nexus 7 with a 3G modem. We haven’t heard much about either of those devices, but the Nexus 7 with 3G could be one of these new rumored versions.

The original bill of materials cost for the Nexus 7 was $151 for the 8 GB version and $159 for the 16 GB version, so Google would need to make some sacrifices to get the retail cost below $99. The most expensive components in the device are the display, touchscreen, and processor.

Digitimes mentions that Asus will be using a TN (Twisted Nematic) display panel from HannStar Display, which could help lower the cost. TN Panels draw less power than competing technologies and they are cheap to manufacture. ASUS might also decide to replace the Tegra 3 processor with a cheaper model from Qualcomm.

Google’s other option would be to subsidize the cost of the device with some form of advertising, similar to what Amazon has done with the newer Kindle Fires. They could also lower the price by selling a 3G version with a contract for wireless service.

We still think the Nexus 7 is a good buy over other entry-level tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nook HD, but it would be nice to see some upgraded versions. A lower price point would make the tablet accessible to more people, and it would encourage more developers to optimize their Android apps for tablets. I’m sure some Android fans would also appreciate a higher resolution display in the refreshed $199 model.

What would you like to see in a new version of the Nexus 7?

Source: Digitimes

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

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  • Galen20K

    IF they release an updated $199/249 Nexus 7 with an improved screen, better sound, and lord willing LTE radio built in, that would be an instant sale for me.

    • Jeff

      While you’re at it, why not ask for a pony?

      There is such a thing as too cheap. No one would by a Ferrari that only costs $5000. They’d wonder what corners they cut to get it to such a price. The display on the Nexus 7 is already crappy because it’s washed out, I’d really like to not go back to the days of TN panels with awful viewing angles.

      It’s $200. Save your money so you don’t have to poke your eyes out every time you look at the screen!

      • Galen20K

        did you not see how I said I’d pay $249 for it? I don’t mind paying a bit more for what I want.

      • CTown

        I don’t think Galeon is asking for to much:
        1)The Tegra3+ can do LTE so I wouldn’t be surprised if a refreshed Nexus 7 with LTE support comes out.
        2)Judging from your post, a refreshed Nexus 7 could use a better panel (by now one would think they could get a better panel at the price of the current panel when the Nexus 7 came out).
        3)Not only that but the Nexus 7′s front-facing camera can be hacked to do 720p. Perhaps a refreshed Nexus 7 could have a slightly updated camera to do 720p natively.

    • ionorov

      Not sure about the US… but don’t you have to have an additional contract/plan to use that LTE? So, in addition to the plan on your phone, you’re paying for one more LTE line?

      Isn’t it better on your wallet to just have a Wifi tablet, and fast LTE on your phone (used as a hotspot)?

      Never really understood while my friends clamour for 3G/4G on their tablets when all they do is surf at home/uni/work where there is plentiful Wifi. I can sorta see how a 3G/LTE tablet can be useful… but having 2 contracts/plans is wasteful, IMO.

      • kinderdm

        Depends on the price of the extra plan as currently US carriers make you pay and extra $20 per month to upgrade to a hotspot plan. They may give you more data for your $20 but you cannot get a cheap date plan that can do hotspot. If the data plan for an LTE tablet was around the same or just a little bit more then it would probably be worth it to not have to hassle with setting up the hotspot or depending on anther device for your connection. And not that I would get an LTE model myself but there are a lot of people out there like myself who do not have wifi at work and I gotta admit, sometimes it would be nice to have that connection there.

  • jaxidian

    “Too cheap” is definitely possible and that’s my fear with a $99 Nexus 7. I’m afraid it will just be a piece of crap if they actually make it happen!

    Honestly, a Nexus 10 at $250 would be much more interesting to me!

    • Jeff

      Yeah, there’s such a thing as it being so cheap, it ruins the brand. The last thing Google needs is to have all the tech enthusiasts flat out say “Avoid the $99 Nexus 7, it sucks beyond all belief” and normal people will translate that into “Avoid the Google tablet”.

    • ionorov

      Ladies and gentlemen… presenting the $99 Nexus 7! We cut so many corners making this… its the world’s first circular tablet!

      *ba dum tish*

      • zerosix

        Ladies and gentlemen… presenting the $199 iPad! Actually, it’s just a calculator, but in former firmwares we will add clock.

    • Mary Beth

      Give me the original specs of the Memo with the rear camera and SD slot. I was already to pay $250-$300 for it. Please bring out a 7″ for business and other serious use. Not just for gamers.

  • ionorov

    Any chance of a 32GB version? Or an mSD slot at least? That would be a nice incremental update while keeping the price low.

    • Mix

      I want the Nexus 7 with more storage or expandable memory.

      I was looking at the Galaxy Tab 2 the other day but it’s dual core and not as nice as the N7.

      Finding a 7″ tablet that is quad-core with at least 32gb is proving difficult.

      • ionorov

        Tell me about it… I did manage to snag a cheap Tab 7.7 when the Nexus was introduced.

        It’s nice. Has that mSD slot for me to keep all my music and a few videos on it. But no quad-core and no JB :(


    $99 Nexus 7? Highly unlikely.

  • Ardrid

    I’ve been holding off on purchasing a tablet for awhile now to better survey the landscape, but, I have to say, a $99 Nexus 7, assuming no compromise in quality/performance, would be an immediate snap purchase for me. I wouldn’t even flinch at dropping $100 on that.

  • humidity

    I would love to see a Nexus 9 or 10 by the end of the year!

  • Russ

    A $99 version would have so many downgrades, who would really purchase it? It would only be a ploy for Google to get more people (with extremely tight budgets) hooked into the Android OS.

    I would rather see a $250 version keeping the 8GB, but with an SD slot so I can slide in a 64GB card! So an SD slot, LTE, and better screen would be my 3 top requests for an updated Nexus 7, and I would pay a bit extra for it!

    • GerryAttrick

      Not worried about 3G/LTE but onboard storage and decent Wifi would do it for me.

      I bought a TF201 with crappy Wifi and I am amazed at how much that sux. So much so that I’d rather they put the drivers in for an ASUS Wifi Dongle and left out the GPS Dongle

  • Max.Steel

    The Nexus 7 already has a poor screen as is. I say that because I’m typing from one right now.

    • ionorov

      Poor how? I thought the IPS screen on it was nice… poor viewing angles? Poor colours? Resolution/PPI too low?

      Nothing in the other tech sites report major problems. Asking because I’m eyeing it as a future upgrade.

      • Max.Steel

        I guess I was too brash. Its not a bad screen, in fact it’s great. It’s just sometimes weird stuff happens like whenever I’m watching a movie, it automatically goes into full brightness. When I exit the movie and go back to the homescreen, the colors are washed out and everything is very faint. Once I put it to sleep and turn it back on, it goes back to normal. The other thing is the screen but more about the touch sensitivity. Sometimes the touch screen goes numb. I have to tap things almost 7 or 9 times for it to register. Again, once I put it to sleep and turn it back on, everything returns to normal. Just thought I’d say my niggles with the screen.

  • aranea

    I’m still waiting for the Nexus 10

  • Raptor

    Sick of these morons….That BoM was ideal example of iSuppli or Digitimes utter bullshit. They always overestimate BoM by huge factors not counting volume discounts and adding some crazy numbers for some shit like touchscreen which costs 1/2 of costs of some tablets

    Let they run BoM for this $49 7″ tablet in Frys this week ROTFL $49 means it costs probably $30 to produce !

    • anamika

      Yep. The bulk rate would be pretty low.

  • Nathan D.

    It always nice to have some choices, and a bigger screen version of the nexus tab would be great.

  • David Henry

    Memory expansion sport for micro SD card

    • RobBull75

      That will not happen with Nexus devices for a variety of reasons, both technical and self serving for Google. Google uses MTP storage to prevent apps from being denied space (fixed app space). With the traditional Also, Google wants you to use cloud storage and their cloud services – Google Music, Google Drive, Picasa, etc.

      • RobBull75

        Sorry, didn’t finish my thought. Manufacturers using mass storage allocate a fixed amount of space to apps, leading to the dreaded “out of memory” message. Also, when mounted as storage, you cannot use all apps on the phone, whereas you can run apps and transfer files at the same time using MTP. If you really need it, Nexus devices have USB OTG technology, letting you mount a flash drive. Not convenient, but it is an option.

  • MoSDeeb

    I’m hoping they also have plans for a really high-end tablet.

  • smeghead68

    Most consumers want the latest and greatest. Even at the lower end price I don’t think they will sell too many of these. Oh well wait and see how it falls out.