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?

Read comments