Japan’s Nikkei business daily has reported that the nation’s largest mobile carrier, NTT Docomo, is planning to release a low-cost tablet with a 10-inch screen, priced between 10,000 yen and 15,000 yen (approx. $111 to $167). The new device will be manufactured by China’s Huawei Technologies Co., and feature a 10-inch screen in order to compete with Apple‘s market-dominating full-size iPad.
While Huawei is usually known for making telecom equipment, recent years have seen the Chinese company expand into the mobile markets with phones and tablets. The newspaper expects Docomo to launch the unnamed device this coming spring, and says that while it will be able to connect to the internet through WiFi, it won’t offer any kind of cellular data through 3G or LTE networks.
While a number of competitors like Samsung and Amazon are stepping up to compete with Apple in the tablet market, the only device that has been able to pose a real challenge in Japan has been Google with its Nexus 7. Directly in line with the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch screen, Google’s smaller offering undercuts Apple’s cheapest iPad model by roughly $100. A recent survey showed that the Nexus 7 has been selling better than the iPad in recent weeks, proving that there are a number of Japanese consumers who favor a cheaper alternative. And it looks like that is who Docomo will be trying to appeal to with their tablet offering.
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