Google Tablet Delays: What They Mean for Apple's iPad

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Google Tablet Delays: What They Mean for Apple's iPad
Those yearning for a Google-centric answer to Apple’s iPad must wait a bit longer. Sources close to Google’s tablet team say the company is pushing back the launch of its device until at least July while it reconsiders its strategy.

Rumors of a Google tablet began to heat up in March, when DigiTimes first wrote that the Mountain View, Calif. company was planning a 7-inch tablet for $200. Google plans to sell the device through an online tablet store beside competing models in order to give the tablet the distribution it needs for success.

At $249 Google feels the tablet is too expensive though, The Verge reports. That is $50 higher than the Kindle Fire, which at $199 is selling at the rate of several million per quarter. The Fire is one of the devices Google sees as a competitor, so pricing at or below $199 is a key goal.

What gets the axe? The GooglePad is said to have a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 7-inch screen, and is Wi-Fi only. Google may be forced to ditch the Tegra 3 and settle for a dual-core processor--fairly standard in today’s tablets. It may cut corners in design or screen quality--no one outside Google really knows.

A Hard Look at the High Price of the iPad?

Apple's third-generation iPad
Apple's third-generation iPad
Google’s move seems to suggest that Apple will soon also need to take a hard look at the future of the iPad. At $499, the iPad is quickly becoming isolated at the high-end of the market, while competitors increasingly make a play for the more budget-conscious segments.

How long will Apple be able to maintain its dominance? Apparently not much longer, if new rumblings over the company’s plans are correct. On the Wednesday edition of The Talk Show Podcast, technology pundit John Gruber said he has heard Apple has a 7.85-inch version of the iPad in its labs.

Since it’s clear that current iPads, whose screen sizes are just under 10 inches, will likely not see a significant price decrease any time soon--if ever--Apple may be forced to develop an “iPad mini” of sorts to prevent losing a significant segment of the tablet industry. Steve Jobs once called 7-inch tablets “dead on arrival,” so such a product would be a reversal of strategy for Cupertino.

Steve Jobs is gone though, and Tim Cook is thinking differently. He’s already visited China to take on the issue of labor conditions head on--something Jobs never did--and allows regional carriers to undercut the price of current model iPhones. Thus continuing to use Jobs as a guide for what Apple does might be a mistake.

[Updated: Size of current iPad screens]

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