Google’s Andy Rubin suggested the Nexus 7 would reach third-party US stores eventually — we just didn’t think it would be this quickly. GameStop says it’s taking pre-orders for the 16GB version of the Android 4.1 tablet starting today. At $249, it will cost exactly what it does in its currently exclusive Google Play home; in other words, one of the parties involved could be taking a voluntary hit on the already razor-thin profit margins. The 7-inch slate should be arriving roughly at the same mid-July timeframe as it is for those ordering straight from the Google source.
It wouldn’t be GameStop if there weren’t trade-ins involved, and sure enough, the game retailer is using the Nexus 7 as the lure. Confirming an earlier leak, the chain is now accepting Android tablet trade-ins worth up to $200 in cash (or $250 in store credit) depending on how pristine the hardware is coming into the store. Play your cards right, and you’re very nearly getting the Google-blessed tablet for free. As an extra incentive, any gear whose exchange goes directly towards buying the Nexus 7 will get a 30 percent boost in value. Knowing the buzz surrounding the price-to-performance ratio of the ASUS-made Nexus, we won’t be surprised if GameStop suddenly faces a glut of older Android tablets in its backrooms.