Google’s $199 Nexus 7 tablet won’t be sold through the retail channel

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet can now be ordered on more retailwebsites worldwide, but so far the less expensive US$199 model remainsexclusive to Google’s Play online store, according to current listings.

Retailers such as Staples, B&H Photo and Video, and Best BuyCanada have listed only the pricier Nexus 7 model with 16GB of storage,which starts at $249 depending on the region. The stores have notlisted the cheaper 8GB model, which is available on the Google Playonline store for $199.

Google late last month at its developer conference announced the Nexus 7 with 8GB and 16GB ofstorage. The tablet, made with Asus, has Google’s latest Android 4.1operating system code-named Jelly Bean and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3processor. The 16GB model is priced at $249 on the Google Play store,with shipping beginning in mid-July. The same tablet is also listed foron Staples’ website for $249, with shipping scheduled to start Thursdayto next Tuesday.

The tablet has attracted publicity partly for its features, but the$199 price also attracted many buyers who wanted to check out Android.The 8GB tablet is the most feature-packed in the sub-$200 price range,but at $249 the Nexus 7 starts competing on price and features withtablets like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 with a 7.0 inch screen.

The $199 price point is critical to attract buyers to Nexus 7 andGoogle, which is looking to catch up with Apple, said Bob O’Donnell,program vice president for client and displays research at IDC. A $199price boosted the sales of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which is based on acustomized version of Android.

Best Buy to carry pricier model
The sales of Google’s $199 tablet may not be hurt by exclusivity to theGoogle Play store, but wider availability could certainly expand thetablet’s market presence, O’Donnell said.

A 16GB Nexus 7 is listed on B&H Photo and Video’s website for$249, and is scheduled to ship on Aug. 15. The same tablet was listedat the same price on J&R’s website and a copy of the page isavailable in Google’s cache, but the original page has been pulled offthe website.

The 16GB tablet is priced at C$259 (US$253) on Best Buy Canada’swebsite, which says the tablet will reach the warehouse on Aug. 10. Thetablet is available at the same price on Futureshop Canada’s website.

A 16GB Nexus 7 is listed for £199 (US$308) on Carphone Warehouse UK’swebsite, with the product “coming soon.”

The tablet weighs 317 grams, with battery life of up to nine hours onvideo playback and 300 hours on standby. Other features include afront-facing camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC (near-fieldcommunication). The device’s new OS is an improvement over itspredecessor, Android 4.0, which is found on many smartphones andtablets today. The new OS features an expanded notification system,improved user interface, additional language support, better touchfeatures, support for more multimedia file formats and the ability toshare more files directly via Bluetooth.

Google did not immediately respond to a media request.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips andsemiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh.Agam’s e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Agam Shah
Agam Shah
Agam Shah is a reporter for the IDG News Service in New York. He covers hardware including PCs, servers, tablets, chips, semiconductors, consumer electronics and peripherals.

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