Nexus 7 sales approach 1 million per month: Can it continue?

Frequent stock shortages, the introduction of new variants and healthy third quarter bottom lines for both Asus and Google all suggested that the companies were shipping a steady flow of Nexus 7 tablets, but we've never known exactly just how well Android's flagship slate was doing; both businesses refused to divulge hard sales figures for the 7-inch slate... until now. In the wake of Asus' quarterly conference call, the company's CFO finally tossed out some numbers -- impressive, rapidly growing numbers.

“At the beginning, it was, for instance, 500K units a month, then maybe 600, 700K. This latest month, it was close to 1 million,” David Chang told The Wall Street Journal.

Moving one million units per month is an impressive feat for an Android tablet; a filing in the Apple vs. Samsung case showed that the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Android's first flagship tablet, only managed to sell 712,000 units in the U.S. in its first year on the market. Of course, that's a bit of an apple-to-oranges comparison, since Chang's figure was no doubt a worldwide total.

Here's a more appropriate Apple-to-Android comparison: Over 14 million iPads shipped last quarter alone, with another 17 million moved the quarter before that. In other words, the Nexus 7's impressive sales are still a tiny sliver of the iPad's sales, but the Nexus 7's sales have doubled in a four-month span and may be buoyed by the recent release of new 32GB and HSPA+-equipped variants -- assuming it can fight off the imposing threat posed by the $330 iPad mini, that is.

Will fans of the 7-inch form factor keep buying Android slates now that 275,000-plus iOS tablet-optimized apps are only $130 away? That's the million-unit question for Google, Asus and every other Android manufacturer this holiday season.