Mingchi Kuo Stories May 10, 2013

KGI Securities analyst Mingchi Kuo, who has been known to have accurate information regarding Apple product launches in the past, is out today with a new note that includes some surprisingly specific specs for upcoming products from Google. One of the products Kuo expects to see at Google I/O later this month is a new Nexus 7, but the note also included info on what he thinks Google has in store for the months after the event, including: an Android powered notebook, a new TV product, and even a Google smart watch.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an Android-powered notebook over the years, and just last month Intel executives confirmed that the majority of its new sub-$200 notebooks running on its mobile Atom CPU will be Android based. However, according to Mingchi, don’t expect to see the notebooks making an appearance at I/O this year. That’s because Android 5.0 won’t be ready to show off at I/O, says Kuo, but vendors such as Samsung will apparently move first with Android 4.x powered notebooks coming within 3-4 months:

Android Book – Android Book won’t be introduced at the upcoming Google I/O as development of Android 5.0, which is targeted at NB, is incomplete. We think Android Book featuring Android.4x will be rolled out in the coming 3-4 months because some brand vendors, like Samsung (Korea), want to move first. But shipments will be limited as the current Android OS isn’t well supported for laptops.

As for Google’s rumored over-the-top TV content business, Mingchi says an Apple TV-like competitor is on the way but delays due to a change to Nvidia Tegra from TI OMAP means we likely won’t see it at I/O. Kuo also said in his note to clients today that he expects Google to launch a smart watch-like wearable device alongside Google Glass, but it apparently won’t go into mass production until next year: expand full story

Well-connected Analyst Mingchi Kuo from KGI securities is known for his often accurate predictions (timing notwithstanding) of upcoming Apple products.  He’s got a detailed report out today on the new Nexus 7 that he thinks will be announced at Google I/O and could ship as early as June or July in large numbers.

Perhaps the most interesting bit is that the entry level price will  remain at US$199, with Google likely to lose US$5-10 per unit sold according to the analyst. Why is keeping the same price interesting? Because this thing is getting supercharged according to Kuo:

We think the new Nexus 7 will come with the following major spec upgrades: Qualcomm APQ 8064 processor; narrow bezel LTPS 7-inch high-resolution panel (1,920×1,200); 5MP AF rear camera lens; and wireless charging. We also think it will be much lighter and thinner than the previous version.

How light and thin? He’s saying that a smaller bezel around the edges and 7.5-8.5mm thinness should put it near or below the size and weight of Apple’s iPad Mini. He expects the next  Mini 2 later this year.

Kuo expects Google/Asus to move 5M units in the second half of the year and continue with the same distribution strategies (selling at the Google Play Store and at retailers simultaneously).

We are positive on Nexus 7’s reception ahead of the iPad mini 2 launch given that the specs have been upgraded but the price has not been increased. However, tablet PC competition has become much fiercer this year, so we reckon new Nexus 7 year-on-year shipments growth will be limited.

It will be interesting to see how close to the current display size the new screen is. 1920×1200 is a 16:10 screen ratio just like the current 1280×800 but enlarging it a few points would go a long way in making it more competitive with Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini, and with the shrunken bezel size, Asus could keep the same handheld form factor.

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