Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is the only major tablet vendor that hasn't participated in tablet discount season. Other companies have been reducing prices ahead of expected upgrades, but Big G has stood pat on its official Nexus 7 pricing. Third-party retailers have begun to discount the entry-level model down to $149, but the tablet still costs $199 direct from Google Play, even as a second-generation model is imminent.
DIGITIMES has been hearing from its tipsters that the second-generation Nexus 7 will launch at the end of July or the beginning of August. The device's 7-nch display should get upgraded to a 1,980 x 1,200 panel, about the same as what Amazon.com is expected to do with the next Kindle Fire HD. Corroborating prior reports, the publication says that Qualcomm will indeed power the device with a Snapdragon 600, displacing NVIDIA as the processor supplier. Pricing is expected to be the same at $199 to $249.
Google and ASUS have shipped an estimated 6 million units since launching a year ago. That figure is reasonable after it took ASUS several months to ramp up to a rate of 1 million Nexus 7 units per month. Sales have probably slowed in recent months amid escalating competition on the low-end, as well as the fact that consumers are probably delaying purchases in anticipation of new models.
Some "Taiwan-based vendors" expect the new model to sell 8 million units in 2013, which seems like a bit of a stretch. Other suppliers don't think this figure is reasonable. The low-end landscape has changed a lot in the past year, and there are plenty of alternative choices now.
It's now been almost exactly a year since Google stepped directly into the small-sized tablet market with the Nexus 7, which means that it's also exactly the right time for second-generation models to be launched. It could easily just be a matter of weeks before Big G pulls the Nexus trigger.
Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Google, and NVIDIA. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Google, and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.