There are companies that like to be coy when they leak news, and then there are companies like Google
Asus which like to use the exact same leaks with each of their new tablets, just to make sure the leaks are noticed by tech blogs.
Take the promotional campaign for the Nexus tablets, for example.
The first step is to leak the specs and possible release date to Digitimes. Step 2 involves posting the benchmarks online, and step 3 involves using the new device to take photos which are posted to Picasa - from an official account, no less.
That's the pattern Google
Asus laid down when the Nexus 7 launched in June and Nexus 10 launched this fall. And today it seems pretty clear that they are once again repeating these steps in preparation for the launch of the new $99 Nexus tablet.
I've just found a set of photos on Picasa which look to have been taken by a not-yet-released Asus gadget, the ME172V. While we only have unsubstantiated rumors concerning this device, the pattern of rumors and leaks suggest that this is the new Nexus tablet.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the ME172V is going to be the highpoint of CES next month. The photos leaked today don't have any other purpose other than to prep the blogosphere for a launch event.
And while Asus may not have a booth at CES, Google has a meeting room in the back of South Hall. I expect that we'll find the new tablet there.
According to the benchmarks and the leaked specs, this tablet will be running Android 4.1.1 on a 1GHz CPU provided by WonderMedia. It also has a 400MHz Mali GPU, screen resolution of 1024x600 (the size is assumed to be 7"). One of the leaks included other details about the specs, including a mention of 1GB of RAM, a 1MP front-facing camera (this was confirmed by today's Picasa leak), and a microSD card slot.
The current rumors say that this tablet will cost $99, and given the pattern I think the price is correct.