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Nexus 7 2: Making Sense of the Rumors

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For months now, rumors of a new Nexus 7, a Nexus 7 2, have sprung to the surface, giving consumers an unofficial look at what is likely one of the most anticipated tablets of 2013. As is the case with all big name devices, Nexus 7 2 rumors have been leaking like crazy and in an attempt to bring a little more clarity to interested consumers, it’s time to make a dissection.

Last year’s Nexus 7 was one of the stars of the tablet market, combining high-end specifications and pure Google software with an extremely affordable price tag. The device, which was Google’s first Nexus-branded tablet, presented consumers with a fantastic alternative to the larger and cheaper Android tablets that flooded the market.

It's time to make sense of the Nexus 7 2 rumors.

It’s time to make sense of the Nexus 7 2 rumors.

Of course, competitors didn’t simply sit back and watch Google dominate. They acted. In the case of Amazon, it was a 7-inch Kindle Fire HD that arrived with a competitive price tag, an HD display and the allure of having a tablet that is connected to all of Amazon’s services. In the case of Apple, it was an iPad mini, a smaller version of its regular sized iPad that came to shelves in November, several months after the arrivals of the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD. These tablets were three of the more popular tablets of 2012 with the iPad mini reportedly dominating iPad sales overall.

So, consumers should not be surprised to hear that all three companies have new tablets up their sleeves for 2013. Like 2012, it appears that Google will be striking first, before the Kindle Fire HD 2 and iPad mini 2 arrive.

While it was originally rumored for Google I/O 2013, the Nexus 7 2 did not make its debut at the company’s annual developer conference. And while things looked bleak for a minute, it’s apparent that a new Nexus 7 is indeed on the way.

Like any Nexus device, the Nexus 7 2 has seen its fair share of rumors, rumors that seem to emerge on a now daily basis. Consumers, particularly those that don’t follow along from rumor to release, will likely have a hard time digesting these rumors or sorting out the most likely scenarios.

In an attempt to make things easier for buyers, it’s now time to sift through the Nexus 7 2 rumors in an attempt to paint an extremely clear picture ahead of the device ahead of its launch.

Nexus 7 2 Release Date

Google has an Android event planned for July 24th.

Google has an Android event planned for July 24th.

For weeks, we’ve seen Nexus 7 2 launch rumors emerge from the shadows and all of them seemed to point to a specific window: A launch sometime in late July.

The most recent rumor came from the hit or miss Digitimes, which claimed that Google was planning to announce something in early August or late July. This backed up a report from Economic News, a Taiwanese publication that supposed that Google’s new Nexus 7 launch was imminent and that it would take place at the end of July.

While these rumors were believable, they didn’t really get the credit they deserved until today when Google announced that it would be hosting an event on July 24th in San Francisco with Android head Sundar Pichai at the helm. Google is mum on the specifics of the event but it sure does fall in nicely with the July launch rumors we’ve been hearing about.

At this point, there is no reason to doubt a Nexus 7 2 launch on July 24th. Rumors are pointing in that direction, the original Nexus 7 came out in July of last year and is due for a successor, and we’ve seen the Asus K009 and K008, thought to be the Nexus 7 2 variants, pass through a number of certifications on their way to release.

So unless Asus has another branded Nexus tablet in the works, remember the Nexus name was confirmed by FCC documents, it’s looking like July 24th is the Nexus 7 2′s launch date. But what about the release date?

Well, Google typically announces Nexus products and releases them a few days or weeks later. This is what to expect from the Nexus 7 2. A launch on July 24th and a release shortly thereafter. Engadget produced some evidence that suggests a release as early as next week and there is no reason to doubt that being the case.

Design

With the Nexus 7, Google and Asus employed a plastic design that while plastic, was both sleek and durable. This of course was huge because low-cost plastic Android tablets typically feel low-cost. The Nexus 7 2 however felt like a sturdy piece of hardware.

The only possible Nexus 7 image we’ve seen came from an FCC filing for the Asus K009, believed to be basis for the new Nexus 7. The photo doesn’t reveal much other than a front that looks identical to the Nexus 7.

Nexus 7 2 design rumors remain non-existent unfortunately so our scalpel can’t do its work. With the iPad mini sporting an aluminum, premium design and a price increase rumored for the Nexus 7 2, it’s possible that we could see Google change the back plate of the Nexus 7. We saw LG and Google tack on a glass back to the Nexus 4 to give it a more premium look so it’s possible that we could see something besides a black matte finish.

At this point though, it’s hard to imagine a cheap Nexus 7 2 tablet with a premium design.

Display

Rumors, and certifications for the Asus K009, have suggested that the Nexus 7 display will come with resolution that is much improved over the Nexus 7′s display. While the original sported 1280 x 800 resolution with 216ppi, the Nexus 7 2 is thought to have a similar size display with 1980 x 1200 resolution which will likely mean a much higher pixel-per-inch count as well.

We’ve seen Asus customer representatives confirm that specification to consumers and at this point, there is no reason to doubt that that will be the screen resolution on the Nexus 7 2.

Display technology has allowed for Google to make this change and the Nexus 7 2 will need a fantastic display so that it can keep pace with the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2 and iPad mini 2, both of which are said to be coming with high-resolution displays.

The Nexus 7 2 is rumored with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.

Expect an improved display from the one on the original Nexus 7.

There are rumors that suggest that the display size could be 8-inches instead of something in the 7-inch range. Don’t believe them. First, sites reporting this seem to be pointing to an old concept as proof. And if not, are pointing to a post on XDA-Developers Forum where a user claims that a Staples rep told him that Google would be releasing a Nexus 8.

Nothing suggests that we’ll see a screen size bump with the Nexus 7 2, even with the iPad mini at 7.9-inches, so as of right now, expect a 7-inch 1980 x 1200 display on the new Nexus.

Cameras

The Nexus 7 did not come with a rear camera, instead, it only featured a front-facing camera for video chat purposes. For whatever reason, it looks like Google has included a camera on the new Nexus 7 2 with an FCC filing pointing to the Asus K009 as having a 5MP camera.

There will be people that will, because of this, dismiss the K009 as a new Nexus 7. Why would Google want to add a camera onto the Nexus 7 2 when it chose not to with the Nexus 7? Simple.

It managed to add a sensor that doesn’t cost an exorbitant amount of money and it gives those that actually do use their tablet as a camera, the option to do so.

Processor

Rumors and the FCC filing for the Asus K009 agree that the Nexus 7 2 will be coming with a Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor. No, it’s not the Snapdragon 800, but it will certainly be an upgrade over the Tegra 3 quad-core processor found in the Nexus 7.

At this point, it’s pretty clear that the Snapdragon 600 will be the processor on board the device and while it’s not the Qualcomm’s best, it’s certainly going to provide enough oomph for those looking to play games, browse the web, check email, read books, and more. It should also help to provide sound battery life to its users.

Software

Every Nexus 7 2 rumor under the sun suggests that the Nexus 7 2 will come with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, a new version of Jelly Bean that is still unannounced. There is truth to this rumor, quite a bit of truth actually.

Google tends to release Nexus hardware with new Android software. We’ve seen it with the Nexus 7 and Nexus smartphones. And with Android 4.3 confirmed to be real, with SamMobile and @LLabTooFeR both suggesting a launch in July, it’s clear that the Nexus 7 2 will be coming with Google’s new Android software and not Android 4.2.

Don't believe the latest rumor that Android 5.0 is delayed.

Android 4.3 will likely debut with the new Nexus.

Consumers shouldn’t get overly excited though. Android 4.3 isn’t expected to be a big time update. Instead, it’s going to be a Jelly Bean update that offers Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), tweaks to Android’s Roboto font, small changes to the stock camera application and quite possibly, alterations to the Notification tray that should help with organization.

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie this is not but it’s still a new update and one that is almost certainly going to be on this new Nexus tablet.

Carriers

We haven't seen a Verizon Nexus since the Galaxy Nexus.

We haven’t seen a Verizon Nexus since the Galaxy Nexus.

Rumors haven’t pointed to any specific carriers though thanks to an FCC filing and the history of Nexus smartphones, we can make some sense out of the Nexus 7 2′s carriers.

The FCC filing for the Asus K009, a tablet that is again widely believed to be the Nexus 7 2 LTE, showed off compatibility with the LTE bands for AT&T and T-Mobile. This is unsurprising given that Nexus devices typically arrive unlock for GSM carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile included.

What’s interesting is that there also seems to be support for an LTE band on Verizon which could mean support on the nation’s largest 4G LTE service provider. Given Google’s past with Verizon, which included former Android head Andy Rubin taking shots at the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, it might be hard for some to believe that the Nexus 7 2 will come to Verizon.

It’s hard for us to believe too but it could be that Google and Verizon are trying to make amends. It’s impossible to say if Verizon support will be enabled but AT&T and T-Mobile are just about guaranteed to get this device.

Price

Earlier in the year, Digitimes reported that the Nexus 7 2 could come with an increased price tag, possibly starting at $220 for the 16GB model. That rumored was followed up by another from the Economic Daily News that suggested that Google could be increasing the price tag on the Nexus 7 2, possibly to $250 or $300 for the larger storage model. As it turns out, both may be close.

Android Central unearthed an image from an unknown inventory system that shows a price tag of $229 for the 16GB Nexus 7 2 and a $269 price for the 32GB model. If true, these would mean a $30 price increase from the pricing of the original Nexus 7 which started at $199 and went up to $250.

At this point, with the signs the way they are, it’s looking like Google may have increased the cost of the tablet. It’s hard to deny hard evidence and while the other rumors appeared flimsy, they were definitely in the ballpark.

The price increase likely has a lot to do with bottom lines and margins and costs and profits and hopefully, it also has to do with design and specs as well.

From a business standpoint, Google knows that it has a good product and it knows that despite a $30 increase, $230 is still a great price for a tablet of this caliber. It will sell. From a consumer standpoint, Google knows it needs to compete with big names like the iPad mini and Kindle Fire, so it likely is trying to release a winner here, and not a loser.

A higher quality design with some big time specs at a still low price will help produce a winner and that appears to be what Google has done here.

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