Buzz builds for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet

Industry buzz is building for the upcoming Nexus 7, as rumors claim Mountain View’s indigenously designed tablet will make an appeareance at Google’s I/O conference at the end of June – and possibly hit virtual store shelves in July.

DigiTimes – which is notoriously inaccurate at times – recently reported the tablet will boast a front-facing camera, but no rear-facing camera for photos, and only support Wi-Fi.

Meaning, the tablet will lack 3G and 4G mobile data connectivity.

According to supply chain sources interviewed by the publication, Google and Asus made a joint decision to forego mobile 3G and 4G  data networking in an effort to keep the price low and optimize competition against Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire tablet.

Meanwhile, another rumor claims Asus will also launch its own version of the tablet in August – at a lower price than Google, with the Taiwanese-based company targeting a range of $159-$179. As the price point for a Google branded tablet is estimated to hover around $200, I would certainly expect there to be a major spec differences between a Google version of the tablet and a cheaper Asus iteration.

Supply chain sources say at least 3 million units of the new tablet are expected to ship in the second half of 2012 and will be loaded with Google’s Chrome browser. However, it remains unclear how Google’s tablet will actually fare against Amazon’s Kindle Fire, as the online retailer may soon drop the price of its original tablet to a cool $149 as it prepares to launch a new version of the Fire alongside a number of new e-book readers.

IDC analyst Tom Mainelli says he expects a larger-screened device from the online retailer at a “typically aggressive” price point.

“Google will enter the market with an inexpensive, co-branded Asus tablet designed to compete directly on price with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The search giant’s new tablet will run a pure version of Android, whereas the Fire runs Amazon’s own forked version of the OS that cuts Google out of the picture,” he added.