Google to go iPad mini-sized with 8in Nexus Android tablet this April?

Google is apparently going to shift gears with its Nexus Android tablet range, changing up from the 7in form factor to an 8in size, at least according to the latest whispers on the grapevine.

Granted, this is a report from DigiTimes, which has, shall we say, a pretty hit and miss track record, but it’s certainly a potentially interesting strategic shift by Google.

The theory runs that the 7in tablet market is getting crowded with budget offerings – which is certainly true enough – so the big G wants to go with an 8in model to differentiate itself and avoid the competitive pricing hotspot of 7in slates. Also, Google apparently fears competition from the increasing amount of phablets around, pushing up towards 6in displays, which is further squeezing the 7in market.

Last year’s Nexus 7 failed to make as much of an impact as Google would have liked, with reportedly less than three million units shifted at the end of 2013.

And certainly some of this thinking makes sense. However, DigiTimes’ source is the usual supply chain manufacturers, who are saying that the 8in Nexus is due for April, with an initial shipment of two million units. Now April is a pretty close timeframe for this one to be popping up, of course, and we have our doubts as to the veracity of this story.

At least it won’t be long before we know if there’s any substance to this rumour.

An 8in Nexus would be butting heads with Apple’s iPad mini (as well as Samsung’s 8in models), and it would be interesting to see where Google would pitch the price of such an offering. How much more would it be than last year’s Nexus 7? Cupertino has certainly maintained the premium on the iPad mini, upping the price on last year’s refreshed Retina model (the base 16GB model starts at £329).