Talking tech since 2003

Yesterday we’d gotten rumors that Google had partnered with HTC to develop its next Nexus tablet. Today, we’ve got rumors that Google has actually stayed with former Nexus-maker Asus to create an 8-inch tablet in the same line, slated for an April release.

The news comes by way of a post on DigiTimes (via CNET), and reports that Asus is working on the Nexus 8, citing “Taiwan-based supply chain makers.” Those sources say that Google is pursuing an 8-inch tablet so as not to compete with the 7-inch Nexus 7 the company is still trying to sell. There have been few reports about the strength of the Nexus 7’s sales so far, but the source claims that the tablet has sold “fewer than three million units as of the end of 2013.”

The CNET post that linked to the DigiTimes report points out that the Taipei-based publication doesn’t have the best track record at accurately predicting tech news. That said, an 8-inch Asus-made tablet rings truer to me than a new Nexus tablet made by HTC.

I have to ask though: what’s the rationale behind releasing an 8-inch tablet alongside a 7-inch device? Amazon’s line of Kindle Fire tablets come in 7-inch and 8.9-inch flavors—that two-inch discrepancy makes some sense to me. Then again, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 comes in both 7- and 8-inch sizes. So what do I know?

I suppose offering a 7-inch tablet and a 10-inch tablet made sense to me in terms of streamlining the Nexus brand, much like Apple has done by offering the iPad and the iPad mini. No confusion, no self-competition; consumers get the choice between small and large—that’s it. But with the wave of new rumors about the iPhone 6 coming in two different sizes, with one being in the phablet category, I suppose I should throw my conception about a streamlined brand out the window.

Will we see a new Nexus 8 from Asus in April? It’s possible. But until we get some more concrete-sounding rumors or even a bit of evidence that points that way, I’m going to stay skeptical.


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