At $199, the Google Nexus 7 is certainly not what I would consider an expensive tablet — quite the opposite, in fact. But Google could be preparing to bring its price down even further. A new report claims that the company is working with Asus to build a $99 version of the 7-inch slate, which could make its debut before Christmas.

Citing "industry sources," DigiTimes reports that Google is developing two new versions of the Nexus 7, both of which will be thinner than the existing model. They are also expected to utilize displays from Taiwanese panel maker HannStar Display. One of the models will be priced at $199 — like the original Nexus 7 — while the other will be priced at just $99, according to the report.

Both devices are expected to make their debut before the end of 2012, not only to catch the holiday rush, but also to compete with Apple's upcoming 7.85-inch iPad mini.

Now, given that this is a DigiTimes rumor, and that their track record has been less than spotty in recent times, it may be best to take this report with a pinch of salt. Having said that, with tablet makers desperate to produce the most affordable slate on the market, it seems inevitable a $99 slate is going to happen at some point.

Can you see a $99 Nexus 7 arriving before Christmas?

[Via: DigiTimes]