Looks like Google has a hit on its hands.
Roughly 10 days after Google began shipping Nexus 7 preorders, the 16 GB version of Google's 7-inch tablet is sold out from its online store. The Google Play store greets potential buyers of the tablet, which is priced at $249, with a "coming soon" message and an optional email notification sign up.
The 8 GB version, which costs $199, is still available.
Google has not released sales figures, but selling out of the Asus-built device is a good sign. A quick survey of other online stores, including OfficeMax and B&H, reveals that the tablet is currently in short supply.
Nexus 7 debuted during the Google I/O conference in late June. The small-scale slate boasts a 7-inch screen and runs Android Jelly Bean (4.1), the successor to Ice Cream Sandwich. And in the weeks since its reveal, the device has been met with generally favorable reviews.
Highlights include a near-pocketable form factor and a vivid 1280 x 800 IPS screen that plays to its strengths as a media consumption device. Also winning over critics is the responsive performance provided by Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor. Continued improvements to Android's UI and seamless integration with Google's popular cloud services are also among the perks.
A low price helps, too. The 8 GB Nexus 7 model competes against Amazon's hot-selling, although aging, Kindle Fire in price while delivering more modern hardware. For $50 more, buyers get twice the storage capacity.
Brisk sales indicate that Nexus is shaping up to be a worthy challenger to the 7-inch Kindle Fire, which is also powered by Android, albeit a modified version that can run Android apps. But Amazon isn't sitting still.
While a Kindle Fire refresh is a foregone conclusion, new reports hint that Amazon is expanding its tablet portfolio in a big way.
Reuters is reporting that according to Demos Parneros, president of U.S. Retail for Staples, Amazon is preparing five to six tablet SKUs ("stock keeping units" in retail parlance). Among those SKUs is a 10-inch model that will compete with Apple’s iPad and Android tablets like Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
Apple, meanwhile, appears to have starter tablet ambitions of its own. As the iOS 6 release looms, analysts widely expect that in the coming months the company will unveil an "iPad mini" to compete in the hot, low-end tablet market.