According to the latest report from the Wall Street Journal, Google will be selling its co-branded tablets direct to consumers through the company’s online store, much like how it has handled sales of its Nexus smartphones in the past. The company is said to be selling a number of tablets from various manufacturers in that web store from Asus and Samsung.
In the past, it’s been speculated that Asus may have scrapped its 7-inch Eee Pad MeMo tablet in favor of a lower-cost model with the same design and slightly inferior hardware specs to meet Google’s price expectations for a $149-$249 7-inch Android slate model to be branded as the next Google Nexus Tablet.
The report from the Journal also mentions that Google will also be selling tablets made by Motorola Mobility, of which the Android OS-maker is in the process of acquiring, on its website. It’s unclear though if those tablets from Motorola will be Nexus- or Google-branded tablets, however. This is also the first time that we’re hearing about Google actively involving itself in the hardware space; when Google had announced its intentions to acquire Motorola Mobility, it had announced that the acquisition was to strengthen Android with Motorola’s patent portfolio and Google promised that Android and Motorola would be operated independently.
In the tablet space, Android tablet has failed to capture the same level of success as Android smartphones have. The second-best Android tablet is the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, which is only bested by the Apple iPad. However, with that tablet, Amazon was selling the Kindle Fire at a loss and is hoping to recover some of those losses by selling digital content. As Amazon has established digital storefronts to sell apps, music, movies, books, and magazines, Google’s Play Store was left out of the Kindle Fire’s ecosystem. At one point, Google was considering subsidizing other Android tablets from other manufacturers to compete against Amazon’s $200 Kindle Fire tablet.
It’s still unclear when Google intends to open its online store and sell directly to consumers. With tablets relying on WiFi, Google may have to wage some of its battle independently of carrier partners.