Last July, Asus and Google released the Nexus 7 tablet, a 7-inch Android powered Nexus device that was one of the surprise hits of the year. Yesterday, at Google I/O, the keynote came and went without a Nexus 7 2 announcement as had been predicted. That means that the Nexus 7 is as relevant as it ever has been and it means that there are some new things consumers should know about the aging Android tablet.
Last year’s Google I/O marked the arrival of two major Android products. The first, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a piece of software that has arrived for most Android devices and a piece of software that was so good, Google saw it fit to issue a major update to it in the form of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Both pieces of software represent the best Google has ever offered with Android.
Read: Nexus 7 2: 5 Things to Know.
Of course, Google needed some new hardware to help ring in Jelly Bean’s debut and that new hardware was not a new Nexus smartphone, but the first Nexus-branded tablet, the Nexus 7.
A collaboration between Google and Asus, the Nexus 7 started as an Asus tablet but soon shifted to its current state, a 7-inch slate rocking vanilla stock Android, swift updates, an unlocked bootloader and more. Those features and many others were the reason that the Nexus 7 caught on with consumers last year.
Later in the year, Apple released a 7-inch tablet of its own, the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which arrived just ahead of the holidays to compete with the Nexus 7 for the hearts and minds of consumers.
And with the iPad mini pushing the competition, speculation and rumor suggested that Google would announce a new Nexus 7 at this year’s Google I/O to replace the aging Nexus 7. Not the case. Instead, the company focused on many of its other services while also announcing a new Nexus version of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
That means that the Nexus 7 lives to fight another day. Here, we take a look at the five new and most important things people should know about the Nexus 7, a day after Google decided to keep it alive.
Nexus 7 2 Release Won’t Come Soon
Those that are on the fence about whether to buy the current Nexus 7 or wait for the Nexus 7 2 just saw that decision complicated a bit by Google’s lack of an announcement yesterday. And despite not having a clear cut answer as to when Google might release the Nexus 7 2, if at all, those who were leaning toward waiting for the Nexus 7 2 are likely going to have a bit of a wait ahead of them.
Rumors peg the Nexus 7 2 release as coming in July, or, a year after the Nexus 7 arrived. The source of the rumor, Digitimes, is extremely hit or miss, so it’s impossible to say whether or not this will be the case. Plenty of people believed the Nexus 7 2 would come at Google I/O and it didn’t.
To us, it would be extremely odd to see Google skip the attention of Google I/O and announce the Nexus 7 2 at a smaller event two months later. Stranger things have happened, however.
It’s also entirely possible that the Nexus 7 2 could arrive alongside a Nexus 5 at Google’s other likely big event in 2013. Whatever the case may be though, the Nexus 7 2 won’t come tomorrow, or the next day, or the week after.
At the very least, consumers are looking at more than a months wait.
Almost a Year Later, Still Solid
Those that simply can’t or don’t want to wait aren’t going to be walking into a bad product, even a year later. In fact, the Nexus 7 has withstood the tests of time fairly well and it will continue to do so for a long time to come.
The Nexus 7 came out in July of last year but it remains an extremely solid option for those that aren’t enamored with the iPad mini. It features a gorgeous HD display that isn’t 1080p but still gets the job done, a speedy Tegra 3 quad-core processor that is perfect for just about everyone but gamers looking for top-notch quality, and it comes with a durable and easy to grip design.
All in all, the Nexus 7 is a fantastic piece of hardware and one that truly has aged well. What’s more is that it will surely get any major Android updates that arrive this year. That means Android 4.3 and Android 5.0, should Google choose to release them.
The new software will breathe new life into the Nexus 7 and ensure that those who opt to buy the device today or tomorrow, don’t feel cheated when they do.
Of course, for some current Nexus 7 owners, bugs remain a problem, even after Google released Android 4.2.2, the latest version of its Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software.
While the Nexus 7 3G arrived with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board, the original Wi-Fi Nexus 7 arrived with Android 4.1, meaning it needed an update to the latest version. That update came around the time that Android 4.2 was first released and Nexus 7 owners excitedly installed the update. However, it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
The software was buggy and Nexus 7 owners were greeted with problems right off the bat. Google tackled one with the release of Android 4.1.1 and tackled a few others in Android 4.2.2, but Nexus 7 owners are still mired in a handful of issues, waiting for an update to Android 4.2.3.
More than a few Nexus 7 owners on Android 4.2.2, the latest software, are complaining about abnormal battery drain, issues with the heat of the device, Bluetooth issues and a problem that we ourselves have been dealing with, slow charging.
One thing that people often forget about Nexus devices is that the Nexus means they are developer devices. This means that users are, in a sense, guinea pigs for Google.
This is something that buyers of the Nexus 7 and Nexus 7 2 need to know about before making a purchase. These are not regular consumer-grade devices, despite appearing to be.
Google will likely fix these issues in a later update but just know that bugs are part of the program with Nexus devices, even a year after their release.
iPad mini Remains Best Alternative
The Nexus 7 2 didn’t arrive at Google I/O and that means that the plans of many were likely foiled. For those that are now weighing buying the Nexus 7, know that there is good competition out there, and the best competitor, by a mile, is the iPad mini from Apple.
Indeed, the display size is a bit larger than the Nexus 7′s but the build quality, the features and the software are all solid competition for Asus and Google’s slate.
Maybe best of all, Apple never leaves its tablets behind which means that buyers can comfortably buy the iPad mini, or the Nexus 7, and know that they will be supported for the years to come.
Keep in mind though, the iPad mini 2 is likely coming this year though like the Nexus 7 2, it’s not close to arrival.
Price Drop Won’t Occur
The Nexus 7 launched for $199 for an 8GB and $250 for a 16GB model. That’s extremely cheap considering the benefits that the Nexus 7 offers. In November, Google changed things around, offering the Nexus 7 16GB for $199 and introducing a 32GB Nexus 7 that is $250.
Those prices are extremely cheap and undercut the iPad mini’s starting price of $350. Those hoping for a price drop now, or in the future, at least through Google Play, likely aren’t going to get one.
Google seems content at offering these devices at this price and there have been no signs of wavering. When the Nexus 7 2 does arrive, it will likely completely replace the older Nexus 7 at these price points, instead of the older device seeing a price drop.