Last year ignited a tablet battle between the 7-inch Nexus 7 Android tablet and the iOS-powered iPad mini from Apple. And while that battle wages on, there are signs that new players are on their way as Apple is rumored to be coming out with an iPad mini 2 and Google is rumored to be replacing the Nexus 7 with a new Nexus 7, possibly called the Nexus 7 2.
At last year’s Google I/O, Google announced a number of new products, chief among them, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet, the first tablet to get branded with the Nexus name. The device, in true Google form, arrived with a number of attractive features including high-end hardware, vanilla software and an extremely cheap price tag.
The device went on sale in July and was virtually unchallenged, at least in the 7-inch tablet realm, until much later in the year when Apple decided to throw its name into the hat.
Apple had been rumored to be coming out with a smaller tablet of its own to compliment the larger 9.7-inch iPad that had already been around for years. Apple made good on those rumors late last year when it delivered the iPad mini, a 7.9-inch iPad that came equipped with an aluminum design, iOS 6 and a display that unfortunately was not a Retina Display.
Not to be outdone, Google released a 3G version of the Nexus 7 and discontinued the 8GB Nexus 7 in favor of a 32GB Nexus 7. And until now those, along with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, have been the big named 7-inch tablets available to consumers. The success of these two devices though has seemingly propelled the companies to deliver sequels and while we haven’t seen announcements yet, we know that Apple and Google are brewing something.
Over the past few months, rumors of a Nexus 7 2 and iPad mini 2 have been rampant. And with the release of one of those devices likely in the cards in the next few weeks, the battle is as hot as it ever has been.
Here now, we take a look at the five most important things to know about the rumored but likely battle between Google’s new Nexus 7 2 and Apple’s iPad mini 2.
Nexus 7 2 Release Before iPad mini 2
Those that are hoping for an imminent battle between the Nexus 7 2 and the iPad mini 2 are likely to have their hopes dashed in the near future. That’s because Google is expected to debut its Nexus 7 2 sometime within the confines of July, though, no specific date has emerged just yet.
Thus far, all signs point to a launch coming relatively soon, signs that include a new Android update on the way this month, the Nexus 7’s one year anniversary and a host of rumors. It’s clear that the time is now for a refresh of the Nexus 7 2 so consumers should expect something to touch down soon from Google.
Those hoping for an iPad mini 2 arrival in the near future are likely to be disappointed. Rumor has it, the iPad mini 2, at the earliest, will debut this fall. That means sometime after September 21st, long after the rumored July release of the Nexus 7 2. That of course is the earliest it would arrive.
It’s also possible that Apple will once again wait until just before the holiday season to announce and release the iPad mini 2, similar to what it did with the iPad mini.
In any event, there is no indication that Apple has moved up the iPad mini 2 launch to combat the arrival of a new Nexus 7 which means that the Nexus 7 2 will likely be battling the original iPad mini first and then face off against the next-generation model.
Rumors suggest that the Nexus 7 2 will be getting an upgrade in the display department, moving from a 7-inch 720p HD display to a 1080p display that is of equal size. What this likely means is that the device will have a pixel-per-inch count somewhere in the vicinity of 314PPI though rumors suggest it could be as high as 330PPI.
Whatever the case may be, content like games, movies and apps are all going to look fantastic on the Nexus 7 2’s 7-inch display.
Rumors suggest that the iPad mini 2 will finally get the Retina Display, a display that didn’t arrive on the original. If true, the iPad mini 2 display is expected to feature 2048 x 1536 resolution, higher than the resolution on the Nexus 7 2. It’s also supposed to have 324PPI or so, making it comparable to the Nexus 7 2 display.
While it’s impossible to say at this point, thanks to the devices being unreleased, consumers should know that content will look good on both the Nexus 7 2 and the iPad mini 2 and that despite the Nexus 7 2’s shortcoming, we expect the look of content to be comparable.
iOS 7 and Android 4.3
Fortunately, the iPad mini 2 and the Nexus 7 2 are likely to launch with the latest software updates from their respective makers. In the case of the Nexus 7 2, it’s thought to have the new Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on board, the latest piece of software from Google. And with the iPad mini 2, it will likely have iOS 7 stock thanks to the software’s fall release date.
This is key because it means that buyers of both the iPad mini 2 and the Nexus 7 2 won’t have to wait for the latest software. What is also means is that both devices are line for numerous updates to come as Google typically updates its Nexus devices for years down the road and Apple is known to do the same.
Carrier Similarities & Differences
While the Nexus 7 came with 3G connectivity for AT&T and T-Mobile, the iPad mini arrived ready to connect to the high speed 4G LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. With the Nexus 7 2, Google is thought to have ditched 3G in favor of the faster 4G LTE and it’s looking like AT&T and T-Mobile are locks for the device, based on an FCC filing.
What’s more is that support is there for a Verizon Nexus 7 2, should Google and Verizon choose to partner up and offer a Nexus tablet for the first time. There is no guarantee though and it’s possible that it could be limited to GSM carriers only.
The iPad mini 2 should come to AT&T and T-Mobile at least and it should be expected to come to Sprint, Verizon and likely T-Mobile as well. U.S. Cellular has said that it would carry the iPhone but hasn’t confirmed plans for an iPad mini.
Whatever the case may be, consumers should expect there to be carrier similarities and carrier differences.
Familiar Price Points
One of the nice things about the 7-inch form factor is its compact size which makes things like gaming, reading and chatting much easier on-the-go. What also makes the size point attractive is the price point which is generally cheaper than the larger screen. Case in point, the prices of the Nexus 7 and iPad mini are cheaper than the prices of the 9.7-inch iPad and the larger Nexus 10 from Samsung.
Consumers should know that the price points of the Nexus 7 2 and the iPad mini 2 will continue that trend and will be cheaper than the iPad 5 and the Nexus 10. What consumers should also know is that Google and Apple will likely not stray too far from what worked a year ago.
The Nexus 7 2 price has been pegged at $220, a price that comes from the hit-or-miss publication Digitimes and a price that seems a little odd for a company that likes to round off its price tags.
Instead, the Nexus 7 2 price should check in at the same $199 and $250 price points of the Nexus 7 2. And if it doesn’t, it will likely fall somewhere around the $200 price point.
Apple has kept its price points similar throughout the years and we don’t expect the iPad mini 2 price to deviate much from the price of the iPad mini. That means that Apple will more than likely offer it starting at $320 with prices increasing based on storage and inclusion of cellular data.
Look for Apple to drop the price of the iPad mini to better compete with the Nexus 7 2’s lower price point.