Google has been rumored to be replacing the Nexus 7 at some point this year with a new Android-based tablet, presumably called the Nexus 7 2. And while the device did not make an appearance as expected at Google I/O 2013, a launch late this year isn’t out of the question.
Last year, Google sprung its first Nexus branded tablet onto the world, a device that followed in the footsteps of the Nexus smartphones that came before it. That device was and is the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet that arrived shortly after the debut of the iPad 3 and several months ahead of Apple’s 7-inch tablet, the iPad mini.
The announcement was made at Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, and the device was put up for pre-order that day to great fanfare. Fanfare, because the tablet combined high-end specifications with vanilla Android software and a cheap price tag, making it a unique and attractive option for those in the market for a new slate.
Even now, in 2013, with the iPad mini on shelves, the Nexus 7 remains a solid choice for those that want a smaller, affordable and powerful tablet. However, it’s clear that the demand for a new Nexus 7 is growing. In the build up to Google I/O 2013, consumers started to get excited about the prospects of a new Nexus 7 tablet, a device currently dubbed the Nexus 7 2.
The device seemed to be destined for an arrival at Google I/O 2013 last week with some higher-end specifications on board. However, as we learned, Google had different plans, plans that didn’t include the Nexus 7 2.
With Google I/O 2013 over and the rest of the year ahead, consumers are likely wondering about the Nexus 7 2, about its release date, about its features, about its price. Here, we take a look at what consumers can expect from a Nexus 7 2 from Google.
A Nexus 7 2
No, there wasn’t a Nexus 7 2 at Google I/O 2013. It wasn’t the only major product announcement that Google skipped though. Also rumored for the event were the Motorola X Phone, an update to Android 4.3, a white Nexus 4 and a Nexus 4 LTE. However, as we’ve seen, just because these things skipped Google I/O, doesn’t mean that they’re dead.
Already, we’re hearing June 10th is the day that Google will debut a white Nexus 4 with Android 4.3, a date that comes right around Apple’s WWDC conference. Google likely wants to take some attention away, just like Apple typically does during the conferences of its rivals.
So what does this mean for the Nexus 7 2? It means that it’s not dead in the water, just because it didn’t arrival at Google I/O. Google isn’t just going to let the Nexus tablet series die out, allowing the iPad mini to reign. No, Google likely has another Nexus up its sleeve and it likely is waiting for the release of Android 4.3 in June or the release of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie later on this year to debut it.
July Release Date or Later
So what about its release date? A rumor that surfaced almost immediately after Google I/O suggested that Google could debut the device in July, the same month that it debuted last year’s Nexus 7. While the rumor came from the hit-or-miss DigiTimes, it’s certainly a possibility.
If not July, then it’s wide open. A likely scenario would have Google launching it with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie to battle the iPad mini 2 with iOS 7. Whether that’s in the fall or winter remains to be seen but July or later is what consumers should expect from the Nexus 7 2 at this point.
Every rumor that has surfaced so far in regards to the Nexus 7 has placed a 7-inch 1080p display as being on board. This would be a massive upgrade over the previous 720p display on the Nexus 7 and it’s one that would help the device to compete against a Retina Display on any iPad mini sequel that Apple is developing.
With display technology where it’s at, and with Google known for putting high-end specs on its Nexus devices, particularly specifications that are commonplace, a 1080p display is what consumers should expect from the Nexus 7 2.
If true, it would mean extremely good looking text, video and photos, and games, all of which are prominent on tablet devices.
Google and Nexus 7 manufacturer Asus found a way to build a cheap Nexus 7 that featured a design that didn’t feel cheap. With its silver band around the device, its black matte back, and fairly lightweight frame, the Nexus 7 felt like a $200 product, something that isn’t always the case in the world of Android tablets.
As we’ve pointed out, Google has been making incremental improvements with its Nexus designs, starting with the Nexus 4′s jump from the boring, plastic of the Galaxy Nexus and then with the sleek design of the ChromeBook Pixel that is enclosed in an anodized aluminum body that doesn’t feature extraneous or distracting parts like screws or vents.
Perhaps, Asus and Google move to a design more in line with Asus’ Transformer Pad series in an effort to bring it closer to the design of the iPad mini. Or perhaps they simply tweak the current design.
No doubt about it, consumers should expect the Nexus 7 2 to arrive with a speedy processor. With smartphones boasting powerful quad-core processors like the Snapdragon 600 and Exynos 5 Octa from Samsung, expect the Nexus 7 2 to come equipped with a processor that is either on par, or better than the processors already out on the market.
The most logical choice is the Snapdragon 800 from Qualcomm that was announced at CES 2013 is going to be out later this year. If it does feature a Snapdragon 800, something that was rumored prior to Google I/O, we would see a tablet with better performance and gaming in addition to vastly improved battery life.
Google knows that it’s up against a solid product in the iPad mini, a product that will only improve with the addition of the Retina Display. One of the big ways that it can help keep a Nexus 7 2 relevant is by keeping the price well below the iPad mini’s starting price of $330.
We saw the Nexus 7 arrive for $199 and $250 for the 8GB and 16GB models and we saw Google retain that pricing, even after it discontinued the 8GB Nexus 7 and launched a 32GB model.
Expect the Nexus 7 2 to command similar pricing in an effort to keep pace with the iPad mini.
Android 4.3 or Better
This is a Nexus tablet and that means it will come with the most current Android operating system on board. That means that there are two possibilities. The first, Android 4.3, which is thought to be coming in June as a version of Jelly Bean. The only way that we see Android 4.3 being on board is if Google launches alongside Android 4.3.
A more likely scenario is the Nexus 7 2 arriving with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie later in the year. Android 5.0 is expected to be a full fledged upgrade to Android while Android 4.3 is only expected to have a few features on board.
Either way, expect the latest version of Android to be on board any Nexus 7 sequel that arrives this year.
The Nexus 7 remains Wi-Fi and 3G only while the Nexus 4 only came with the ability to take advantage of HSPA+. With LTE becoming more and more commonplace though and Google’s partner in crime T-Mobile launching a LTE network, it was only a matter of time before we saw the debut of a new Nexus with LTE.
No, it wasn’t the Nexus 7 2 but the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus that will be coming with LTE support for AT&T and T-Mobile. This is a sign that Google is still committed to Nexus devices with LTE capabilities.
That said, expect any Nexus 7 2 with cellular data to take advantage of LTE and leave 3G and HSPA+ in the dust.
And finally, consumers should expect a number of quality accessories for any Nexus 7 2 that arrives in 2013. With the Nexus 7, we saw a number of accessories including a wireless charger, a fantastic dock from Asus, a host of quality cases and more.
Rest assured, Google will not be a slouch when it comes to Nexus 7 2 accessories and there is a good chance that we could see something new on tap for it’s rumored 7-inch slate.