The Nexus-7 is available for order in India, a roadmap has leaked showing BlackBerry is planning to release a tablet, and the latest rumors suggest Samsung is preparing to launch a full HD 8-inch tablet to challenge the iPad Mini head on and that HTC is to re-enter the market with a Windows 8 slate.
The Android-powered, Google-designed and ASUS-built Nexus-7 tablet is now officially available to order on the Google Playt India site ahead of its official launch on Friday. The tablet comes with a 16,000 Rupee ($295) price tag but for that, owners will get 16GB of internal storage and built-in wi-fi.
However, ZD Net's Asian corespondent, Nitin Puri, has expressed surprise that the version bound for India doesn't offer a SIM card slot but does offer NFC (Near Field Communication). "Perhaps this is Google's way of trying to push Indian consumers to embrace devices with NFC in order to also introduce mobile payments and machine to machine (M2M) communications within India. That being said, most retailers in India are not equipped with both the technology and training for this to be implemented yet."
On the other hand, SIM support and dual SIM card slots are becoming standard features of devices aimed at the country, enabling consumers to leverage the differences in network carriers' prices in order to get the cheapest mobile internet connection and cheapest voice calls.
However, despite these shortfalls, it is still 5,000 Rupees cheaper than Apple's entry-level 16GB iPad Mini, which has a recommended retail price of 21,900 Rupees and doesn't have a high resolution screen -- though it does have a better apps ecosystem and better front and rear-facing cameras.
BlackBerry preparing tablet
BlackBerry has been understandably vague about its plans to reenter the tablet market. Its first attempt, the RIM PlayBook, was so thoroughly ridiculed upon its lanch in 2011 that some commentators are still poking fun at it two years later. However, a presentation slide from RIM's internal product roadmap has leaked via BB10 Leaks and indicates that the company is indeed getting back on the horse and intends to launch a 10-inch widescreen tablet currently named the B10 before the end of 2013.
The revelation suggests that BlackBerry sees the full-size tablet market as more important to its existing and potential customers. The same slide also revealed that it plans to compete with smaller tablets with a range of "phablet" devices instead.
No information has so far leaked regarding potential specifications or pricing.
Samsung to challenge iPad Mini
According to SamMobile, Samsung is planning to launch a full HD 8-inch tablet at this year's IFA in Berlin, a device the South Korean company hopes will compete directly with both the iPad Mini and the Google Nexus-7.
The blog's sources claim that the tablet will continue the trend for AMOLED display technology that Samsung debuted in its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy SIV, and that the launch is in anticipation of Apple's rumored use of a Retina display in the next generation of compact tablet, which could hit the stores as early as July this year.
There are no details regarding pricing or internal specifications at the moment, but expect it to run the latest version of Android (Key Lime Pie) and to cost less than the equivalent Apple tablet.
HTC turns to Microsoft
According to a report from FocusTaiwan, HTC is going to release a 10.1-inch tablet with a full HD display and with Windows 8 as its operating system. The company hasn't released a new tablet for nearly two years and its most recent offering, the 10.1-inch HTC Jetstream, used Android as its operating system.