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It seems that the next Nexus tablet from Google won’t be made by current partner Asus if a new report out of Asia is accurate. A post on Focus Taiwan cites Chinese newspaper the Commercial Times, which says that HTC has been awarded the contract to make Google’s next flagship tablet, set to ship sometime in Q3 of 2014.

It’s important to note that according to Focus Taiwan, the Times article doesn’t cite a single source for its report. And HTC, for its part, said that “it does not comment on market rumors or speculation.” So for all intents and purposes, this has to be filed squarely under the “rumor” column.

So now we have to ask some questions about whether or not this could be true. Why would Google switch from Asus, which has been making tablets that get great reviews? While there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of current data, early 2013 saw some analysts reporting poor Nexus sales. It’s tough to take that information as gospel considering Google hasn’t said anything about sales one way or another, but it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that the Nexus’s sales pale in comparison to the ever-fashionable iPad and the ever-affordable Kindle Fire line.

As such, Google may be looking to shake things up with a new hardware partner. HTC would be an interesting choice, though, as its devices haven’t been setting the world on fire as of late. Samsung, by contrast, has been generating lots of buzz lately with the impending announcement of the Galaxy S5. Moreover, Samsung and Google recently agreed to a cross-licensing deal for each company’s patents. At the time, some analysts speculated that the agreement would signal Google moving away from the Nexus line of devices altogether. But even if Google was going to keep the Nexus tablet line going, why wouldn’t it contract with its bosom chum, Samsung, which has previously made the Galaxy Nexus?

I have my doubts that HTC is actually going to make the new Nexus. The company’s devices are rarely known as inexpensive or particularly efficient, so I can’t see a desire to cut component costs as a motivator in contracting there. Even still, it’s worth paying a bit closer attention to the OEM for the foreseeable future.


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