While Google has yet to announce any plans to replace the current Nexus 7 tablet, it has become increasingly likely that the company will wind up replacing it sometime in the next few weeks with a new Nexus 7, presumably called the Nexus 7 2 or Nexus 7 HD. The device, if real, will have an assortment of challengers when it emerges from the shadows and maybe none bigger than Apple’s current 7-inch slate, the iPad mini.
Last year, Google was the first out of the gate as it both announced and released the Nexus 7 in the early part of the summer. At Google I/O 2012 in June, it introduced the Nexus 7 as the company’s first Nexus branded tablet and several weeks later, released it along with its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update onto the Google Play Store.
At the time, the Nexus 7 was almost unmatched thanks to its cheap price tag, vanilla Android, and its high-end specifications which include a 7-inch 720p display, quad-core Tegra 3 processor and a design that while plastic, doesn’t feel like it belongs on a $200 device. The device went on to be a success, at least in terms of Android tablets, and it wasn’t until later in the year that the device ran into its greatest threat.
Throughout 2012, Apple had been rumored to be coming out with a smaller version of its iPad, dubbed iPad mini. As it sometimes does, the company made good on those rumors with an iPad mini announcement and release just before the holiday shopping season. In fact, the company debuted the device right around the time that Google bumped the Nexus 7 to 16GB and 32GB from 8GB and 16GB and added 3G connectivity.
Needless to say, Apple’s LTE enabled 7.9-inch iPad mini, complete with iOS and an aluminum design, became the Nexus 7’s greatest thread. In fact, the two are waging battle to this day with both remaining the premier 7-inch slates from their respective companies.
The battle is being fought but the war isn’t over, or so it seems. Both companies are expected to announce successors and like 2012, Google is expected to be the first out of the gate with a new Nexus 7, now dubbed Nexus 7 2. Apple is expected to wait until later in the year to debut a new iPad mini, meaning, its current model will likely be going up against the new and improved Nexus 7.
We’ve already taken a look at what to expect from the battle between the Nexus 7 2 and iPad mini and now it’s time to take a look at what consumers shouldn’t expect from the likely battle.
Lack of a Battle
While the iPad mini is arguably the best 7-inch slate on the planet, helped in part by the issues that Nexus 7 owners have had since the arrival of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 2 should not be counted out. In fact, the device should not only be competition for the iPad mini, but it should be a quality rival to the iPad mini 2 as well. Consider these things:
- It’s expected to have 4G LTE connectivity, something that the Nexus 7 did not have.
- It should have a 1080p display, something the iPad mini does not have.
- It will likely be cheaper than the iPad mini.
- Those wanting a Retina Display on the iPad mini may not want to wait until later this year for the iPad mini 2.
- The Nexus 7 2 will likely get a full fledged Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie update. The iPad mini won’t get all of the features of iOS 7.
The Nexus 7 2 should have the firepower to compete with the iPad mini though Google needs to make sure that the device comes out of the gate, issue free. One of the biggest knocks on the Nexus 7 are the issues that it has encountered and if Asus and Google can pull off a relatively bug free experience, the Nexus 7 2 will find itself on par, or even better, than the iPad mini that is on shelves now and quite possibly, the iPad mini 2 that arrives later this year.
Short Wait for iPad Mini 2
While consumers should expect the Nexus 7 to replaced sometime soon, rumors suggest that it’s almost certain, the iPad mini likely won’t be replaced by an iPad mini 2 for some time.
iOS 7, Apple’s new software, will be accompanied by new hardware when it arrives this fall, but all signs point to that hardware being the new iPhone and not a new iPad. Apple has traditionally separated the two launch events so consumers should not expect the iPad mini 2 to arrive alongside iOS 7.
Instead, rumors suggest that the iPad mini 2 will be making its debut in the late fall, around the same time the iPad mini arrived last year. The original iPad mini was announced in October of last year and released in November. Apple could do something similar with the iPad mini 2 launch and release.
Whatever the case may be, at the very least, prospective buyers will be waiting until at least September before seeing a iPad mini 2.
Nexus 7 2 64GB
Apple currently has three iPad mini models: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The device, like the Nexus 7, does not come with a microSD card slot meaning owners are dependent on that flash memory and the cloud to store their files, games and movies.
With the Nexus 7, Google released two versions of the tablet, a 16GB and a 32GB. (Originally it had an 8GB model as well but it was discontinued.) Those should be good for most people but power users that need more storage space shouldn’t expect Google to offer anything beyond those two options.
With the Nexus 7, we saw 16GB and 32GB and with the Nexus 4 we saw 8GB and 16GB. Both devices sold well and at this point, there is likely very little motivation to change up the formula.
Yes, it’s possible that Google could shock and offer three storage options with the Nexus 7 2 but at this point, power users looking for a lot of space shouldn’t expect a 64GB Nexus 7, at least not at launch.
Big Carrier Differences
As of right now, the iPad mini runs on the 4G LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. It can also run on T-Mobile, provided it is using a proper SIM card. The Nexus 7 does not run on 4G LTE and instead uses the 3G networks of AT&T and T-Mobile. That should change with the Nexus 7 2.
The FCC filing for the Asus K009, thought to be the Nexus 7 2, points to LTE bands for AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. It’s unclear if Google will allow users to use the device on a CDMA carrier like Verizon though it remains possible. At the very least, we will see it arrive on AT&T and T-Mobile which could leave Sprint (and Verizon) as the only differences.
Smaller carriers are unlikely to join the mix.
Nexus 7 to Go Away
Don’t expect the Nexus 7 to fall off the face of the planet once the Nexus 7 2 is announced. In fact, it will still be a viable option for those in the market for a 7-inch slate.
The device will more than likely see a price drop as retailers attempt to clear house for the Nexus 7 2 and that will be a key time for those to pick up one, possibly over the iPad mini.
The Nexus 7 is still a very capable tablet and it will receive updates from Google for years to come, making it a solid option for those that want something other than the Nexus 7 2 or iPad mini or for those that are looking to buy on a budget.
Big Difference with Cameras
Don’t expect any big differences between the rear and front-facing cameras. The rear cameras are more than likely going to be sub-par as the companies focus isn’t the camera sensor on a tablet. Tablets still don’t make good cameras.
The front-facing cameras should be good, and more useful, though we don’t see the Nexus 7 2’s 1.9MP camera blowing Apple’s FaceTime camera out of the water. Instead, look for them to be on par with each other.