Jim Probasco, Benzinga Staff Writer
If reports from DigiTimes, IB Times, and CNET are accurate, Google's (GOOG) tablet and smartphone lineup for 2014 will begin with launch of an 8-inch Nexus tablet in April, followed by release of a Nexus 6 smartphone and the long-delayed Nexus 10 2 tablet.
According to DigiTimes, Google wanted to avoid price competition in the 7-inch tablet space, hence the arrival of an 8-inch device. Sources in Taiwan said to expect initial shipments of two million units.
The new tablet, reports indicated, would probably be made by ASUS, which makes Google’s 7-inch tablets.
According to DigiTimes, Google expected the Nexus 8 to be able to take on Apple's (AAPL) iPad Mini, which has an established foothold in the small tablet space.
Sales of the Nexus 7 have not met expectations, mostly due to price competition in that segment. DigiTimes sources said sales had been fewer than three million by the end of 2013. By offering a slightly larger device, Google hoped to avoid price being the only factor.
The new tablet would also eliminate competition from five and 6-inch smartphone phablets, sources indicated.
In addition to the new Nexus 8, IB Times said the Nexus 6 replacement for the Nexus 5 smartphone would likely be made by Lenovo-Motorola, which made sense given the business arrangement between Google and Lenovo.
Google, by turning over Motorola to Lenovo gets $3 billion and six percent interest in Lenovo – plenty of reason to keep its next smartphone “in the family.”
Finally, CNET said, HTC was believed to be the company behind Google’s long-delayed Nexus 10 2 tablet. Rumor being rumor, it was still possible Samsung (SSNLF) would shepherd the Nexus 10 2 to market, but since HTC launched the Nexus One mobile phone that rumor also has traction.
With the Nexus 8 coming out in the last week of April, the Nexus 6 and Nexus 10 2 were expected to follow sometime between May and September.
Meanwhile, tweaks to the rumor mill, included one courtesy of tom’sHardware that suggested Google might be planning to drop the Nexus 10 lineup all together. That could happen, tom’s speculated, if Google were to determine that an 8-inch tablet represents the “sweet spot” in that space.
Just to keep things interesting, Time magazine reported yet another rumor in January that the entire Nexus lineup would go away in 2015. The source for that speculation was a Russian blogger named Eldar Murtazin. Murtazin said Google would concentrate on Google Play edition devices after releasing just a handful more Nexus products, resulting in a total rebranding in 2015.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.