| TAIPEI, April 3
TAIPEI, April 3 Google Inc will launch
a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet powered by Qualcomm Inc's
Snapdragon processor around July, two sources told
Reuters, as the software giant pushes deeper into the cut-price
mobile hardware market.
Google is aiming to ship as many as eight million of the
Asustek-made tablets in the second half of the year, throwing
down the gauntlet to other low-end tablets such as Amazon.com
Inc's Kindle Fire and Apple Inc's iPad mini,
the sources with knowledge of the new product said.
This is the first time details about the timing and sales
targets for Google's new tablet have been unveiled, although the
company has not publicly released any information.
Google, which gets almost all of its revenue from online
advertising, wants the aggressively priced Nexus tablets to be a
hit as more Nexus users would mean more exposure for Google's
The latest version will have a higher screen resolution, a
thinner bezel design and adopt Qualcomm's chip in place of
Nvidia Corp's Tegra 3, which was used in the first
Nexus 7s released last year, the sources said, declining to be
identified because they are not authorised to speak to the
In a blow to Nvidia, Google weighed both U.S. chipmakers'
processors but finally decided on Qualcomm's for power reasons,
one of the sources added.
Qualcomm and Nvidia are competing aggressively in the tablet
market as they seek to expand from their traditional strongholds
of cellphones and PCs respectively.
A Google spokesman declined to comment on its new tablet.
Qualcomm and Nvidia also declined to respond to questions.
Google and other traditionally non-hardware companies like
Amazon and Microsoft Corp have begun making inroads
into mobile devices as consumers increasingly access the Web on
Google introduced its first tablet last June, hoping to
replicate its smartphone success in a hotly contested market now
dominated by Kindle Fire and iPad.
The Nexus 7 joined the ranks of smaller, 7-inch tablets
popularised by Amazon and Samsung Electronics, among
Pricing is yet to be determined and Google's plans are
fluid, the sources said. Market leader Apple is expected to
launch new iPads this year as well, possibly forcing its
competitors to change their assumptions.
Google may choose to sell the new gadget for $199, the same
as the first generation rolled out last June, while the old
model may be discounted, one of the sources said. Alternatively,
the new tablet could be priced more competitively at $149 and
the previous model discontinued, the source added.
The cheapest iPad mini goes for more than $300.
Though pricing has not been finalised, discounting could
play to Google's and Amazon's strengths by getting cheaper
hardware into more consumers' hands to drive revenue from their
core Internet-based businesses.
"This is the 'zero margin strategy'," said Fubon Securities
analyst Arthur Liao. "Ninety-seven percent of Google's revenue
comes from advertisement, so it needs to sell more mobile
devices in order to reach more consumers."
The Internet search giant, which has never disclosed tablet
sales, plans to ship six to eight million of the new Nexus 7s in
the second half of this year, the sources said. That compares to
an estimated 4.6 million Nexus 7s sold in the same period last
year, according to Enders Analysis mobile industry analyst
The large volume could help to accelerate development of
tablet-specific applications for its Android operating
Asustek, a netbook PC pioneer, will continue to
co-brand with Google on the new Nexus 7. The Taiwanese company
has said it aims to ship over 12 million tablets this year,
almost double last year's shipments.
Asustek could not be reached for comment.