Is Google Finally Coming Out With a Nexus Tablet?

Any Android connoisseur will tell you than when it comes to devices sporting Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) mobile operating system, any gadget with "Nexus" in its name is as pure as it gets.

Google's Nexus branded line of devices are flagship devices that have always set the standard of what an Android device should be, coming stocked with Android versions as free from third-party modifications as you can get. It started with its HTC-built Nexus One, which was followed by the Samsung-built Nexus S, and most recently the also Samsung-built Galaxy Nexus.

Android tablets such asMotorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI  ) Xoom have been lackluster, particularly when compared with Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPad. Xoom shipments were starting to go in the right direction but have promptly fallen off a cliff. Over the past three quarters, the company shipped roughly 250,000 units, then 440,000 units, and then down to 100,000 units last quarter -- notably less than even train wreck Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) PlayBook shipments.

Xoom currently runs Android Honeycomb, which was a rushed mishmash tablet OS. Android head of user experience Matias Duarte called it an "emergency landing," with corners being cut just to "get tablet support out there." Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich refines the OS for tablets, while also unifying it with smartphones.

Fellow Fool Tim Beyers long ago said Google needs a Nexus tablet to set the stage for a frontal assault on the iPad. Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Google was partnering with LG to launch a Nexus tablet over the summer, but that seed failed to bear fruit. The latest round of Nexus tablet talk is coming from a pretty reputable source: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper, Schmidt said, "in the next six months we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality," amid the "brutal competition between Apple and Google Android." While this could easily be interpreted as working with its standard slew of OEM partners, it also implies the distinct possibility of a flagship Nexus-branded Android tablet.

Schmidt also essentially confirmed the rumors of its "Siri killer," Majel. He said Google has "the best voice-translation software," and the company is working on developing its technology to "do things similar to Siri."

With Android leading in smartphone OS market share, it's always been somewhat incongruous that Android tablets have failed to take off. Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) Kindle Fire seems to be roaring ahead, but its Android tablet brethren are less than impressive. Even Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ  ) zombie TouchPad was grabbing more sales throughout the year thanks to its $99 fire-sale price.

My colleague Tim is right: Google needs a Nexus tablet. One that will set the standards for Android tablets with the Nexus brand and jump-start the Android competition to the iPad.

Want to stay up to date on whether Google releases a Nexus Android tablet? Use our free My Watchlist feature to get the latest news and analysis. Start by adding Google to your Watchlist today! While you're at it, add these other companies to keep tabs on the tablet market.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Amazon.com, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Amazon.com, and Google and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (1)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 9:22 PM, bobyk3 wrote:

    I use an Acer tablet with Honeycomb 3.2. It is a great experience. I will get ice cream next month!

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 10:02 PM, ConstableOdo wrote:

    Google is getting ready to stab its partners in the back with the Google-branded tablet. At least Microsoft never came out with its own line of hardware, but I see that Google has no qualms in doing so. I hope the iPad 3 is such a spectacularly high-selling tablet that consumers won't be interested in any Android tablet offerings. Apple better get its marketing machine in high gear and sell iPads until the rivals just give up. The only problem is that Apple is only going to go but so low when it comes to pricing, so there will always be the low-end tablet market space for other tablet makers to squeeze into.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 11:09 PM, Arpadi wrote:

    - let's get this straight, you have a tablet and you love it. This tablet can't be very old, but you are going to get the next google tablet too.

    I don't think so. You ain't got that kind of money to squander.

    I'll call your bluff. You are a just a mouthpiece for google trying to raise the price of the stock or no common sense. You write too many comments after such articles on products that aren't even in the market yet to be truthful.

    Your tablet is not so good, you aren't satisfied, and you aren't going to buy the next ice cream flavored tablet either. Arpadi.

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