The Nexus 7 2 didn’t arrive at Google I/O 2013, and based on the direction Google’s hardware is moving this may point to a better design and build quality for Google’s affordable 7-inch tablet.
The original Nexus 7 remains a good option for Android users, but the next version could arrive in July and thanks to the Google hardware we are seeing it is very likely that a new design will incorporate more premium materials that offer a better look and feel.
When Google launched the Nexus 7 the company was experimenting with new hardware and making a renewed push into branded hardware. While the Nexus 7′s design is OK, the design is clearly not as nice as the Nexus 4 or the ChromeBook Pixel.
Since the launch of the Nexus 7 Google pushed out several new devices that use high-end materials and designs that stand out.
The Nexus 4 is a very solid smartphone, and while the glass back can break, it is a much nicer device than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus that preceded it.
Next up we saw the Nexus 10, a Samsung device that runs stock Android. This larger tablet doesn’t feature the same high-end materials as an iPad 4, but it is nice than the Nexus 7.
The two products that really show off Google’s new commitment to premium materials and design. The ChromeBook Pixel boasts a super high resolution touch screen display enclosed in an anodized aluminum body. Google brags that the “extraneous or distracting” parts, such as vents, screws and speakers are hidden.
The ChromeBook Pixel also includes a hinge that allows users to open it with one finger, a small feature, but an important one when it comes to usability. The ChromeBook Pixel is much more like a MacBook Pro than a Nexus 7, from materials to design.
Google Glass isn’t on sale yet, but it is in the hands of many users, and the design is high-end with a titanium band that spans the face and a sensitive touchpad on the side for controls.
A bone conduction “speaker” transmits audio directly to the user without annoying those nearby with audio. During out hands on time with Google Glass the device feels like a premium product with very good build quality, which hopefully will remain true when a more affordable consumer version comes out.
It’s clear that Google is ramping up the quality of products that come with the Google brand, and the Nexus 7 2 is the next logical device to gain a better build quality.
The latest rumors point to a Nexus 7 2 price staying the same, which may limit just how much Google can do with the Nexus 7 2 design, but Apple proves time and again that it is possible to improve build quality and design and continue hitting the same price points.
The Nexus 7 2 needs to compete with the iPad mini and possibly with a smaller Surface tablet from Microsoft and the design and premium build quality will play a large role in this. Apple is known for placing a premium on design, even when it brings a cheaper device like the iPad mini to market, users don’t need to give up much from the iPad 4.
Google’s actions show the company is aware of the need to deliver a premium experience with flagship devices, one that goes so far to include a dedicated support team of ChromeBook Ninjas on call 7 days a week.
It’s clear that Google recognizes the need for great hardware to showcase software and services, and as the next crop of Nexus devices arrive in 2013 we could see many improvements in design, materials and the overall user experience.