Unnamed sources in the upstream supply chain claim that Google is expected to release the 8-inch Nexus tablet in third quarter 2014. The company has also teamed up with phone-maker HTC to produce the device instead of Asus, which designed and manufactured the two Nexus 7 tablets.
According to the sources, Google wants an entirely new design, hence its move to use HTC. Sources also claim that Google originally chose HTC for the first-generation Nexus 7, but the company was tied up in pushing its own smartphone business and had to refuse.
Meanwhile, Asus hasn’t really pushed Google into creating the next Nexus tablet because the search engine giant has placed restrictions on the partnership. Just last month, sources said that Asus put its Transformer Book Duet TD300 tablet on hold due to pressure from Google. The search engine giant is fighting to keep its platform out of dual-OS scenarios with Windows. It’s bad enough Windows will be provided on small tablets: Google likely doesn’t want Windows to piggy-back Android’s success.
That said, without the Google order for another Nexus tablet, Asus can fully focus on its own branded tablets and smartphones.
Surprisingly, Google isn’t really pushing to get the Nexus 8 tablet onto the market either. The company accomplished its mission with the current three tablets: boosting Android’s penetration in the tablet market. That said, “market watchers” believe that the Nexus brand no longer has a significant influence over the tablet market, and that this 8-inch model may very well be Google’s last branded tablet.
Could this be Google's last tablet? Probably not. The company likely wants to set the standard, raising the bar with each generation. Then again, the first Nexus 7 did extremely well while the second generation, from what we understand, hasn't been quite as successful. Could it be that the hardware in the first Nexus 7 was enough for most consumers?
And do we really need an 8-inch variant? As we saw with the Kindle tablets, there's enough room on the market for an 8-inch version alongside the 7-inch tablets. Guess we'll see what happens in Q3 2014.