A report from the Wall Street Journal offers new details on Google's expected shift in Android tablet strategy, and it's reportedly much more than a single Nexus tablet. The move is being likened to the Nexus One launch, with Google at the center of the distribution and support system for a line of branded tablets. The Nexus One might have been too much for Google to handle, but the search giant is apparently moving full speed ahead this go around, which includes plans to open its own online store where it will sell the rumored tablet line.

Back at CES 2012, Asus teased a magical $250 Tegra 3 Android tablet, but we haven't heard anything concrete since then. There have been rumors that Asus scrubbed the tablet, known only as the 370T, in order to build the Nexus tablet for Google. Sources are telling the Journal that Asus tablets might only be part of the line up, with devices from Samsung and HTC involved as well. When Google completes its Motorola acquisition, we may see a true Xoom successor in this mysterious tablet marketplace, too.


Selling tablets directly could make sense for Google in a few ways, whereas selling a phone did not. Android phones took off quite well at the carrier level, but consumers have not been receptive to buying tablets on contract. Without that incentive, the carriers are unlikely to put the advertising weight behind those devices.

Selling the Nexus One with restrictive carrier tie-ins was one of the aspects that kept people from buying the device. Google doesn't have to worry about that with Wi-Fi only tablets. More generally, Google is just in a different place two years after the Nexus One. The company has more experience in marketing and advertising than it once did.

The heart of the ongoing Nexus tablet rumors has been the price, which is supposed to be as low as $200. Other devices in the possible Google tablet store wouldn't be so cheap, but Google might subsidize them to better compete with the Kindle Fire.

If the Journal is to be believed, the initial push for the next version of Android, codenamed Jellybean, could be part of the tablet store launch. Multiple reports have now pegged mid-2012 as the unveiling of Jellybean. None of this means you won't be able to get Android Jellybean tablets in stores, but an online tablet shop could change the game completely.

[Source WSJ]

Note from Cam: This is Ryan's first post here at AP. Welcome him!
Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • John

    Welcome Ryan. Also, hopefully these won't suck.

  • -somebody-

    this is some great news and launching with Jellybean would be a great way to do it. also makes alot more sense with the changing of the app market and everything to "play". tying in an online store for android with all of the "play" features will really be a swift kick in the chops for facebook, could be a game changer if played correctly

  • Tyler C

    Yes lets launch with jellybean when very few devices even have ICS yet.
    I'm all for it, but sheesh, I dont want to deal with even more iSheep crying fragmentation!

    • Nick Coad

      As much as I want Jellybean, I'm inclined to agree. But the problem isn't releasing too many versions too fast, the problem is the carriers wanting their own branding, the device manufacturers wanting their own launchers, etc. This makes it next to impossible for them to roll out new versions in an ideal timeframe. If Android is to succeed this really is something that will need to change - at the moment it's very confusing for new Android users.

      • westy

        When are people going to learn avg users dont care about what version of Android they are on, better dont even know what version they are currently on. They just want their apps and phones to work period. That's where the problem is, Fragmentation is more of an issue for devs who have to get apps working on multiply versions of Androids. If Google can help devs provide a consistent experience from one device to the next then avg person wont care.

        • Eric

          That's true.. I'm on Computer Engineering graduation, most people from my class is tech enthusiast. But when it's bout phones, they don't know a lot.
          There are a lot of mid-high end phones, but they don't really care about Android versions..

    • cosmic

      If the rumors are true about jellybean will mostly be a cosmetic deal similar to froyo>gingerbread. Though I have to agree, chill out on OS upgrades.

      • http://www.boidapp.com Phil Oakley

        I've heard differently.

        The 'game-changing' features were left out of ICS for inclusion in Jelly Bean. What does that tell you? I suspect these game-changing features are Google Assistant, Chrome OS portal, and an overhaul of the tablet interface.

        • Kenny O

          I heard the same thing.....

    • Phil

      Simply point the iFools to the chart of OS version share. That shuts up any fragmentation argument right there.

    • Phil

      Why does it matter? Is Google supposed to stop developing just because the OEMs haven't updated? Microsoft is about to release Win 8 when many companies are still using XP. Most Linux distros are a number of versions behind on Linux kernels.

      The only reason this is even an issue is because Google actually publicly announces their releases with demos. For some reason people think they need this stuff instantly. All they are doing is showing you what's coming down the pipe.

      • Kenny O

        I could not agree with you more. Keep moving forward.

        People get so caught up in complaining about fragmentation, but at the end of the day the device you have will still work fine despite you not have the latest OS. Most non tech people don't really care anyway. My wife is comfortable with gb, she has no idea about ics and if she never got it she would still love her phone the same until she's eligible for her upgrade.

        If having the latest OS as fast as possible is something of great importance to you, the easiest and best fix is to go the custom Rom route or stick with Nexus devices.

  • Tyler C

    You know what...they just may very well name it the "Nexus Play".
    It would actually make sense

  • http://www.platinumapps.com.au Dave @ Platinum Apps

    I think this would be a good move by Google and would help drive awareness, sales, and most importantly, QUALITY of Android tablets, however I hope they build a good support/help network to go with it, because when the Nexus One was launched on their website the support was non-existent.
    And welcome, Ryan!

  • spydie

    Actually the Nexus one had great support. I had one and I talked with their support people. It's just a matter of finding the phone number... not all that hard. I'm so READY for this to happen. I have a Transformer Prime and a G-note and love them both, but if a $200-$250 7" quality tab hits the market, I'll have one the day it's released! I tried the Kindle Fire, and while I love my e-ink Kindle, I hated the Fire. It wasn't enough of a real tablet.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Welcome, sir Ryan. Something tells me you'll fit just right here.

  • TKL

    If / when they do open, I hope it won't be limited only to the US.

    • HeavyD

      I Have bad feeling that it will be US only :| like other stuff what google just relases.

      Why google can't understand that it gives a world outside USA?

  • Not a Believer

    So does that mean our still waiting GN's now get JellyBean? maybe that is why the update cycle is so slow, they are going to do 4.5 instead of 4.0.5?

    • Ivan Martinez

      Clearly you're on Verizon. Blame your carrier there. Unlocked GN's are definitely on 4.2.2

  • Himmat

    In all honesty, I love Android - it's openness being a huge factor in it's favour. However, by year's end, when Windows 8 tablets start shipping (x86), I most probably will go in for one - 11.6 inch standalone or 13.3 inch ultrabook-tablet.

    So, with either of that, having a 7'' Android tablet would be better than 10'' as it would give it enhanced portability over my prospective Windows tablet.

    That's where this Nexus tab or even the Asus $249 Tegra 3 7-inch tablets come into the pic.

    Of course, if Android can over time do what Windows does today, then I will ditch Windows all-together and go for a 7'' and 13.3'' Android pairing. The more I think about it, the more I feel 10'' Android tabs will be obsolete in due time.

  • jason

    they need physical "google experience" stores or whatever like apple. maybe take the best buy mini-store route first.

    they need a better display of tech like chromebooks and android than what's currently available. they could also show off other cool tech like the self-driving car, giant tilt ball maze thing, wrap around 6 panel google earth display and other things that they show at google i/o.

    we need more physical places that demonstrate future tech to the normies.

  • SmokeNMirrors

    Cool, I'll design one now: S800 CPU, 4G RAM, 129G Flash, 4000mAh battery, 5" 1080p edge-to-edge display, SD card, HDMI, every known sensor, brainwave detector, unlocked bootloader, and $250 unsubsidized on VZW.