Google Nexus 7 Android tablet hands-on

Would you start subscribing to a paywalled newspaper again if they offered to sell you a brand new 7-inch tablet for about $75?

That’s the main question being posed by News Corp.-owned U.K. newspaper The Times of London, which will offer Google’s signature tablet, the Nexus 7 32Gb, for £50 instead of the normal price of £199 ($249).

The catch is that you must sign up for an 18-month subscription plan, which costs £17.33 per month (or about $28). However, if you’d like to pay for those 18 months upfront, you can get an even better deal on the tablet/subscription combo, spending just £299 total.

The move is certainly interesting because, for perhaps the first time, a news service is now subsidizing the cost of a tablet in the same way that wireless carriers have done with smartphones. And like the carriers, I’m sure you have to sign a contract locking you in to the monthly newspaper subscription plan to ensure that the subsidized device ends up making The Times some money.

The difference between a wireless carrier’s subsidized devices is that they don’t really care what you do with the phone as long as you pay the monthly bill, including any overage charges you incur. With a tablet, you can pretty much do anything with, including browse the competing newspaper’s articles.

At the same time, if you’re spending money on a monthly subscription, you may be more compelled to stick with The Times as your primary source of news.

Would you sign up for a newspaper subscription for a subsidized tablet? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat