What’s Google to do when the flagship tablet touting its latest OS meets with a lukewarm response? Build a better tablet, point at it, and say “See, this is what Honeycomb can do!” Rumors are indicating that Google plans to hop in bed with LG to design a Nexus tablet, bringing the stock Android experience to bear on a new piece of hardware and essentially abandoning the Xoom as the lead Android tablet.
Based on the work LG’s already put into Android tablets, the Nexus Tablet could look a whole lot like the LG G-Slate.
While it seems unlike Google to move on from a partnership so quickly, it may have decided that Honeycomb needed a more affordable showcase than Motorola had in mind. Even at $600 for the upcoming Wi-Fi model, the Xoom is a pricey piece of hardware, and the Nexus Tablet could ditch some features (like 4G) to come in at $500 instead.
Since the Nexus Tablet would essentially run on the same hardware as the Xoom--Tegra 2 and a similar screen resolution are practically guaranteed--it seems odd that Google would choose an entirely new flagship tablet for a mid-2011 release. Most of the Xoom’s shortcomings had to do with Honeycomb itself. But if it’s all about the money, perhaps the Xoom was simply too expensive for Google's liking. With its image damaged by a mediocre launch, Google may have turned its attention elsewhere.
If the Nexus Tablet is real, it will face stiff competition from the thin Samsung Galaxy Tabs, which may offer some compelling UI changes from the stock Honeycomb experience. Of course, Samsung’s changes could turn out to be as unappealing as its past TouchWiz implementation on phones. In that case, the Android tablet market will be ripe for a pure Nexus device.