By Johnny Wills | Oct 20, 2012 11:40 AM EDT
Google is preparing a new entry-level version of its Nexus 7 tablet that will cost just $99, according to reports.
To cut manufacturing costs, Google will opt for a new processor chip replacing the quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor in the Nexus 7 with a single-core CPU produced by China-based WonderMedia Technologies. The upcoming 7-inch slate will also have a new screen, HUVA TN panel, from Taiwan's HannStar Display.
According to Digitimes, Taiwan-based Quanta Computer will assemble the new entry-level Nexus tablet. Asustek manufactures the current Nexus 7 models and has declined to make the $99 Nexus tablet.
The cost of build materials for the 8GB Nexus 7, which retails for $199, is estimated to be around $150. The most expensive components in the tablet are display, processor, and touchscreen. The combined cost of these three components is around $83, which is more than half the total cost of the tablet. Digitimes' report indicates that Google is going for cheaper components to build a tablet that retails for less than $100.
Additionally, WonderMedia's PRIZM WM8950 processor chip certainly will not match the performance of the Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset, but it will have enough power to run a 7-inch device.
The WM8950 features a single-core Cortex A9 CPU, which is clocked at 800MHz and a Mali-400 graphics chip. The speed of the Mali-400 GPU isn't known yet, but it has the same architecture found in top-of-line android devices like the international version of Samsung Galaxy S3. Moreover, the WM8950 is capable of processing full-HD 1080p videos.
Different technology sites, including CNet, have claimed that a $99 Nexus 7 is on the cards. According to an earlier report, Google is also working on a 32GB model of Nexus 7. Reportedly, the company is also working on a 10-inch version of Nexus tablet. The Internet search giant is holding a media event on Oct. 29, where it is anticipated to unveil at least one new Nexus device.
Launched in summer this year, the Nexus 7 is only available in 8GB and 16GB versions and currently sports a 7-inch screen size. However, it seems that Google will offer a couple of more options in the near future.
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