updated 06:55 am EDT, Thu May 24, 2012
The rumored Google tablet to start shipping soon
Google's first foray into the hotly contested tablet market is set to reach user's hands sometime in July. According to Digitimes, the first Google co-branded Android tablet will start shipping out of ASUS' factories from next month, with an initial volume expected to be around 600,000 units. Originally rumored for a May release, the tablet was said to have been pushed back in order to trim the entry-price by adjusting its specifications so it can tackle the Amazon Kindle Fire head-on at $199.
The timeframe for an official Google 'Nexus' tablet aligns with Google's annual developer conference Google I/O, which takes place in June. In the past, Google has been known to give away free devices to developers attending the conference, in order to help stimulate developer interest in programming applications for them. At Google I/O in 2011, all attendees were offered a free Samsung Chromebook.
Android tablets, although popular, have so far failed to meet Google's expectations for tablet sales. This year's Google I/O is expected to be headlined by the launch, or at least preview, of the latest version of Google's Android OS dubbed Jelly Bean (Android 5.0). It is expected that the OS will be further optimized for tablets, also gelling expectations that it will release a tablet to help reboot its push into the tablet space. A 'Nexus' branded tablet would also likely be developer-friendly and come with its bootloader already unlocked. The ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 7-inch quad-core Tegra 3 tablet is thought to form the basis of the Google tablet.