What we want from the new Nexus 7
Google aims to launch its next-generation Nexus 7 at I/O 2013 in May, according to reports, but what do we want packed inside?
Rumours. This time of year they’re everywhere. Historically it was Apple’s iPhone that always commanded the most attention but these days it is increasingly Android devices – particularly ones from Samsung, Google, HTC, and Asus – that people seem most interested in.
And when it comes to Android tablets they don’t get much bigger than Google’s Asus-built Nexus 7 – a cost-effective 7-inch tablet device that packed a pure Android experience, tons of functionality, and high-end hardware at a cut-throat price.
With a little help from Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Google’s Nexus 7 reinvigorated the Android tablet space during 2012. So much so even Apple was forced into a reactionary position. It released the iPad Mini in late-2012, something Steve Jobs said would never happen.
But what about the new Nexus 7? What's that going to be like? And, most importantly, will Asus be on OEM duties once again?
Reports suggest the new Nexus 7 is being built by Asus and will feature a thinner overall design and a full HD 1080p display.
We spoke to Asus and they would not confirm said reports, adding it does not comment on rumour. There will be a reboot to 2012's Nexus 7 though – it'd be insane for Google not to.
And here's why: the Nexus 7 isn’t just any old tablet: it was the first official Google tablet. And unlike the vast majority of Android-powered slates released between the years 2010 to 2012 it actually sold very well indeed, making it something of an aberration.
For this reason we think it's highly likely that Google will really push the boat out with its new Nexus 7 slate.
With that in mind, here’s a collection of things we’d love to see inside the new Nexus 7 (should Google and Asus come together again to give us a new Nexus 7 tablet in May).
Thinner, lighter, and built from better materials – that’s the basic mantra for any new product update. And with the Nexus 7 we’d like to see all of the above implemented wholesale, meaning a thinner overall chassis, reduced bezel, and higher quality build materials. Do this Google, and I’ll be first in line to buy one of your new Nexus 7 tabs.
Reports suggest the new Nexus 7 will feature a full HD 1080p display. Nothing has been confirmed regarding this of course, but given current trends inside the smartphone space, as well as Google’s existent Nexus 10 slate, it’s certainly within the realms of possibility.
Seeing that the 8GB Nexus 7 is no longer available from Google’s Play store, we think it’s fairly safe to say that come May we’ll be looking at two storage versions for the new Nexus 7: 16GB and 32GB.
Card-support, of any variety, is not likely. And we wouldn’t expect Google to release a 64GB version either, seeing that its flagship Nexus 10 only goes up to 32GB. Expect to pay £199 for the Wi-Fi-only 32GB (new) Nexus 7 from Google Play.
A lot of Asus’ Android-powered devices, including the Nexus 7, use Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 chipset. In terms of general grunt and graphics processing, there’s very little to complain about here despite Qualcomm’s claims to the contrary.
What would we like to see used inside the new Nexus 7? That’s a tricky one: there’s now so much to choose from. Intel, for instance, is keen on making inroads with its new Medfield setup, as seen inside the excellent Motorola Razr i, and Qualcomm’s new quad-core S4 Pro is practically ubiquitous in the upper recesses of the Android space.
Then, of course, there’s Nvidia’s brand new Tegra 4 processor. We spoke to Asus about its mobile processor past in an attempt to glean some kind of pattern of usage or allegiance. There isn’t one – Asus has used them all: Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.
Speaking to Know Your Mobile about how it choses chipsets, Asus said: ‘ultimately, we’re more concerned with what chipset will do desired job the best. So when it comes to choosing a chipset for a device, we tend to go with the one that does everything we need it to.’
We’d expect to see either Qualcomm’s S4 Pro or Nvidia’s Tegra 4 inside the next-generation Nexus 7. And either setup would be just fine with us.
4G is finally here in the UK. Granted it is currently limited to EE-brand handsets, but the advent of O2, Vodafone, and Three inside the space during the next few months will really open things up – and hopefully lower prices.
In an ideal would of course we’d want our new Nexus 7 to come 4G-enabled. That’s a given. But the fact that Google launched the Nexus 4 sans 4G doesn’t fill us with hope about the new Nexus 7 shipping with built in 4G radios.
Still, you could always just use a 4G dongle instead. Or, failing that, just tether it to your phone. If it saved us £100 we’d happily take the omission of 4G on the chin.
Ideal Nexus 7 reboot spec sheet:
- Display: 7-inch 1080p
- Processor: Qualcomm S4 Pro
- RAM: 2GB
- Storage: 16GB or 32GB
- Connectivity: HSPA+, although a 4G-enabed option also makes sense
Please note: neither Google nor Asus have confirmed that they're working on a follow-up to 2012's Nexus 7. This report is based on current rumours and what we would like to see included inside the next-gen Nexus 7 should it surface in May (as expected).