There's been a lot of buzz about Google's "Nexus Tablet." Most rumors suggest Google has contracted Asus to build a sub-$200 Android tablet, and now the Wall Street Journal weighs in, firmly stating that Google will open a new online store that'll sell co-branded Android tablets by other makers.
Google won't make the devices and its existing partners such as Samsung Electronics Co. and AsusTeK Computer Inc. 2357.TW -1.08% will be responsible for the hardware, these people said.
One co-branded tablet that may be sold in the online store is due to be released later this year by Taiwan-based Asus, said one of these people.
Details of the project remain unclear, including when Google plans to unveil the online store. Google is expected to release the next version of its Android software, called Jelly Bean, in the middle of this year, people familiar with the matter have said.
Google will soon manufacture its own tablets, due to its pending $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which has been approved in the U.S. and in Europe and is awaiting approval by Chinese authorities. People familiar with the Google's plans said Motorola tablets are expected to be offered in the online store.
Based on that, we can assume that Google's new online storefront will simply be a digital aisle for consumers to peruse and compare respectable tablets. What's most interesting is that the WSJ also says that Google "will soon manufacture its own tablets" with the help from Motorola. Does that mean we can look forward to more Xoom tablets?
This isn't Google's first attempt at an online store to sell its approved hardware. Years ago, when the Nexus One was launched, Google tried to sell the phone unlocked through its online store. After poor sales, Google killed the online store.
Why would Google revive an online store? Well, this time around things are different. Android is more ubiquitous. Oh, and there's also that whole push for Google Play. An online store that sells Google-approved hardware could be a good move at corralling the "fragmented" Android tablet experience. This could also see Google exerting more control over the experience — choosing to be more Apple and Amazon-esque by closely integrating the hardware and software at the points of sale.