Google knows something is wrong with Android tablets, which have struggled against the mighty iPad since launching in 2011. It thinks it might have the answer in its own online tablet outlet that will directly sell Android tablets made by ASUS, Samsung and others.
The news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports Google will market and sell Android tablets to consumers directly, similar to what the search giant attempted in 2010 with the HTC Nexus One smartphone.
Though the Nexus One endeavor was widely considered a failure (Google sold more than 100,000 units, though had trouble competing with similar models offered by competitors, and had issues lining up carrier agreements globally), Google thinks it can succeed as most tablets sold only feature Wi-Fi connectivity, even though carriers also offer 3G and 4G tablets.
Google will also heavily market the Android tablets and its online store, with TV ads and other marketing materials. To date, no Android tablet has rivaled the Apple iPad in terms of marketing. Think, when was the last time you saw an Android tablet ad on television?
The report also suggests Google might be willing to subsidize Android tablets, just as Amazon does with its $199 Kindle Fire tablet. The Kindle Fire is the most popular Android tablet as measured by units sold, owing to a combination of Amazon marketing and very low price, though it runs a very heavily skinned version of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and does not resemble traditional Android tablets. It also has its own app store, the Amazon Appstore for Android, and Amazon makes its revenue through the sales of streaming video, music, and eBooks.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that Google will make its own tablets through the recent-acquired Motorola brand to sell in its Google tablet store. In addition, recent rumors have suggested Google is teaming up with NVIDIA and ASUS to produce a $150 to $200 Google Nexus tablet, which will serve as both a commercial release and reference design for future Android tablets (Google does the same with smartphones with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus being the latest release). It will feature either a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, or Tegra 2 dual-core unit, and will run the latest version of the Android operating system, Jelly Bean 5.0. The report claims Jelly Bean is scheduled to launch mid-year.
Google IO, its big developer conference, is scheduled for June. It’s likely we will learn more about Jelly Bean and the Google Nexus tablet then.
Source: Wall Street Journal