The biggest threats to Android tablets are almost here: the Microsoft Surface is already available for pre-order while the iPad mini will be official in just a few days. Is Google ready to respond to this increasing competition in the tablet market?

Digitimes seems to think so, as it brings back to the front an older rumor, the $99 Nexus 7 tablet. According to the publication, which has spoken to “Taiwan-based supply chain makers,” the even-cheaper Google tablet is coming this quarter. An exact launch date is not available at this time, so don’t get too excited.

Even if the $99 Nexus 7 is indeed in the works, we will remind you that such a cheap Nexus tablet will probably pack just 8GB of storage. Meanwhile, a 32GB Nexus 7 is almost confirmed by third-party retailers. Digitimes further details some internal changes for this tablet version:

The US$99 Nexus tablet is equipped with an ARM-architecture single-core processor 8950 developed by China-based WonderMedia Technologies, and a HUVA TN panel made by Taiwan-based HannStar Display, the sources said. The tablet will be produced by Taiwan-based Quanta Computer.

Compared to the starting prices for competing products – $159 for the Kindle Fire (2012 model) and the rumored $249 for the iPad mini, a $99 Nexus 7 tablet sounds like a great choice especially at this time of year. But isn’t Google going to hurt the Android tablet ecosystem while trying to stay on top of the competition?

  • Bringing out an 800Mhz single core tablet would be suicide. Once people start to use it and see how slow and sluggish it feels the Nexus brand would be tarnished forever!

    Please Google, don’t do it.

  • angryfrog

    I like my iPad, but for $99 I’d get a Nexus 7 just to see what it’s like.

  • Um why not use the kindle fire TI dual core… Stupid to go back to single core

  • I see a e-reader….

  • Todd Adams

    There are plenty of GOOD, FAST dual core chips there. The RK3066 can blow the pants off many quad core chips and it costs < $10 / chip. Its used in millions of tablets already.

  • spunker88

    I hope this doesn’t happen. Novice users will buy this tablet and judge the whole Android OS based on how it runs on this device. Also what about future updates, the Nexus 7 has good enough hardware to get the next few versions of Android. What do they do with a low spec’d Nexus, leave it on JB? That would tarnish the Nexus series.

  • CPA01

    $249 Mini? Not going to happen. Apple will not undercut the new iTouch. $300~$350 more likely.