Nexus 8 Release Date, Specs and Rumours: Rumours Of The Nexus 10 2 Are Long Dead
It would appear the Nexus 10 2 is not happening. No matter, Google is apparently working on a new 8.9in slate – and it sounds awesome
Google's Nexus 10 2 is well on the way to becoming some kind of mythological beast, such is its continued elusiveness - like a Unicorn, or something. But perhaps another analogy could be Captain Ahab's White Whale, because for many that elusiveness has become teeth-gnashingly infuriating.
Google has said absolutely nothing about the Nexus 10 2, and the idea of a larger, more premium Nexus slate now seem to have fallen by the wayside. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that Google is apparently working on an 8.9in slate – dubbed the Nexus 8 – and word on the street suggests its an absolute monster.
If the Nexus 8 is indeed real we could see the device launched at Google I/O 2014 in June. Google launched its first Nexus 7 slate back at I/O 2012, and with production of the slate said to kick off in earnest from July – an announcement in June does seem to make sense.
So what will this tablet be like? Read on to find out everything that’s currently been said about Google’s upcoming Nexus 8.
Nexus 8: Late-Q3, Early-Q4 Release On The Cards
Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research at IHS Technology has added to the basket of rumours. She claims Google is all set to release a high-performance Nexus 8.9. She believes the pricing of the device to be at the “premium” end but has no details on the exact price.
What is new from Alexander’s information is she claims it will hit production during July or August 2014. That’s quite far away from now so we won’t be seeing the Nexus 8.9 until probably the end of Q3 2014 or even in Q4.
Some analysts have claimed the Nexus 8.9 will phase out the Nexus 7 but being an 8.9-inch tablet we think it’s more likely to phase out the Nexus 10, which didn’t sell particularly well in the first place. It makes sense for Google to downgrade the size of the screen on its Nexus 10 for the second edition so it can appeal to a broader audience and hopefully pick up a few more sales.
Nexus 8: Bigger, Better & More Expensive
IHS Technology, a technology consultancy firm, told CNET Google is planning to release a larger Nexus tablet later in the year with a “high performance” screen. The tablet is rumoured to be entering production in July this year but will be made in much smaller volumes than the Nexus 7. It’ll also cost a bit more due to higher specifications according to IHS Technology.
Rhoda Alexander from IHS Technology told CNET she “would not be surprised if it is higher than $299.” Would you spend that kind of money on a Nexus 8 tablet? The source also suggested Google would be producing a third-generation Nexus 7, too. Alexander said, “We still expect to see a 3rd generation of the Nexus 7 product at some point in 2014 but do not have any confirmation of actual contracts for such a product at present,”
Some sites are reporting an 8.9-inch tablet could be called the Nexus 8, but when it sits so close to the 9-inch mark we believe it may be called the Nexus 9. DigiTimes is currently reporting that it expects Google to release two tablets in 2014. Given the pitch and assumed cost and spec of the Nexus 8 – or 9, as it may be called – one can assume (as we outline below) that the Nexus 10 2 is now definitely not happening.
Google To Partner With HTC For Nexus 8?
Google’s rumoured partner list for the Nexus 8 is growing and now we can add HTC to it. According to a report from DigiTimes, Google will join forces with HTC to help produce the next Nexus tablet which will feature the 8-inch display.
The report comes from sources in the “the upstream supply chain.” Asus is currently the manufacturer of Google Nexus 7 slates and has developed two generations so far. Google has already tried to partner up with the Taiwanese manufacturer before to create the Nexus 7 slates but HTC declined.
Reasoning back then was to push forward the smartphone line. Camp Asus is currently focusing on creating and developing its own line of smartphones and tablets so it’d make sense if HTC steps in to replace the manufacturer.
The report from DigiTimes suggests the tablet will be announced at some point during Q3 this year. That means we could see details of it between July and September, many believe it’ll be announced at Google’s I/O conference but that’s too early taking place in June.
Neither company has been inclined to comment on the rumours, so far.
Nexus 10 2: Why It Didn't Happen
Google has recieved overwhelmingly positive feedback in terms of sales and reviews for many of its flagship Nexus devices, including the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones and both old and new iterations of the 7-inch Nexus 7.
The original Nexus 10 was fairly warmly recieved in the press, but in terms of sales, while it could hardly be considered a flop, it does appear to have been the weakest performer compared to its stable mates.
Google doesn't provide sales figures, so this is a tricky one to call, but industry analysts have revealed fairly believable estimates during 2013.
In April 2013, analyst Benedict Evans made predictions of Nexus 10 sales (bearing in mind the slate launched in November 2012) based on correlating active Android user data and details from Google's development information, specifically focusing on screen size and resolution of devices in use.
Evans believed there were around 6.8 million Nexus devices in use but only about 10 per cent, or 680,000, could be Nexus 10s.
Despite Android's gains in tablet market share, this clearly isn't happening off the back of the Nexus 10, as these figures, pinpoint accurate or not, pale in comparison to Apple's iPad sales.
While Google's Nexus 10 may have a hard core of extremely dedicated fans, from a business perspective this isn't enough of a reason for Google to invest in a follow-up device.
A related factor is the cost of the Nexus 10 and any potential follow-up device, both in terms of what it costs Google to make it and how that is carried to the consumer.
Google's big experiment with the Nexus smartphones and the Nexus 7 tablets was in offering premium-grade hardware at a distinctly non-premium price point and it's an experiment which I think we can all agree is a success.
The Nexus 10 isn't in the same sphere, however, with even higher-grade hardware but an expensive price tag to match (at the time of its launch anyway). Chief amongst the premium features is that massive 10.1-inch, 300 pixel-per-inch display, and display panels like that don't come cheap.
where the heck is the nexus 10 2?! i should just look at another tablet cos CLEARLY @GooglePlay dont want my moneys
— Dionne Josephs (@dididinosaur) December 3, 2013
This may be one of the reasons it didn't sell so well, but due to the cost of making it being likely so much higher, Google is in a more difficult position when it comes to retailing it at a lower price point which might be more appealing to consumers.
The alternative, of course, is to drop the spec in order to drop the price, but for fans of the existing Nexus 10 this is unlikely to fly and it isn't offering the same "value" proposition to new buyers as other members of the Nexus family anyway.
In short, Google is yet to figure out a way of offering a 10-inch device with a premium spec at the low cost which the majority of Nexus buyers require - that means reduced sales, which makes it a poor investment from the business perspective.
Google's rumoured Nexus 10 2, or Nexus 10 2013, appears to have recieved the same accidental official leak via Google Play that its phone counterpart, the Nexus 5, enjoyed ahead of launch. A picture and spec sheet allegedly appeared momentarily on Google's web store before being removed again.
The included spec sheet revealed the same 10.1-inch display at 300 pixels-per-inch with a 2560x1600 pixel resolution as the earlier Nexus 10. The rest of the hardware had been boosted though as we now have an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 2.1-megapixel secondary, a 9,500mAh battery (an increase of 500mAh) and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chip.
The leaked image looks more believable than the last one, which was clearly faked. This could conceivably also be a fake, but it is a bit more convincing on the face of things. That wallpaper though. Hideous.
The proportions of the device appear to have been refined with a narrower bezel all round. The specs say it is now 258.9mm wide by 172.6mm tall, it's also lighter and thinner at 584g and 7.9mm respectively.
But again, this could simply be an elaborate hoax, so do take it all with more than your healthy daily intake of salt.
"That" Leaked Image is Fake
A render has been doing the rounds on mobile tech sites which has been generating speculation that a Nexus 10 2 launch is imminent.
While it is perfectly possible that Google will launch a Nexus 10 successor, we think this particular picture isn’t proof in the slightest. We actually think it’s unlikely the Nexus 10 2 will emerge, primarily because of the nature of leaks and rumours in relation to forthcoming releases generally means that if it was coming, we would have seen much more about it by now, as we did with the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2013. But, never say never.
Anyway, onto the reasons why the Nexus 10 2 leaked image, which emerged on imgur.com, is a hoax. Well, first of all let’s have a look at the Nexus 5.
This is precisely what the Nexus 5, and Android 4.4 KitKat, looked like when it launched, but we knew it would in advance. There was no question about this. The above image appeared on the Google Play store ahead of launch with the Nexus 5 product listing momentarily before Google recognised its blunder and pulled it down, but not before a few dozen tech sites took a screenshot.
We have previously observed the changes from the Android 4.3 interface and what’s new in Android 4.4 KitKat in a side-by-side comparison. If a Nexus 10 2 does emerge, at any point from now on, it will almost certainly be packing Android 4.4 KitKat as well, and although it will be tablet optimised it will certainly share many of these UI changes. There may be some subtle differences, but what it certainly won’t do is re-use elements from Android 4.3.
And that’s why the Nexus 10 2 leak is a fake, because there are plenty of UI elements which are clearly from Android 4.3 and not at all in keeping with the new, fresh-faced Android 4.4.
Take a look at our photoshopped image below – here we’ve used colour coded boxes to point out the areas of the UI which clearly contradict the Nexus 5’s leak of Android 4.4 KitKat, now the released KitKat, of course. We’d encourage you to look at the areas we’ve highlighted on the un-edited image that we've re-posted alongside it to get a clearer view, and compare them to the image of the Nexus 5 (which we'll also re-post again below for convenience) to see how they’re different from what we know about the Android 4.4 KitKat UI.
Look at the area at the top highlighted by the white box. This is the notification bar, which in Android 4.4 KitKat will be transparent with bright white notification icons, as we can see on the Nexus 5 image. Here, it is the old style black bar with bright blue icons, which we’ve seen on multiple iterations of Android prior to KitKat. If you look closely you can also see there’s a band below this which is slightly more faded than the rest of the background which looks suspiciously like it’s come across from a copy-and-paste job of the background on the Nexus 5 image – there’s really no reason for it to be there.
Now look at the area at the bottom highlighted in red. Again, the last few Android versions have featured this white dividing bar between the homescreen page and the app tray, but on the Nexus 5 running Android 4.4 this has been replaced with a dotted page indicator and nothing more.
Look at the two icons highlighted by blue boxes. The middle one is the app drawer icon while the one on the right is the camera shortcut. Both of these appear the same as in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. However, as the Nexus 5 leak shows, Android 4.4 KitKat will feature new icons for each. The app drawer icon no longer has an outer ring and is now a solid, translucent circle with a shadow behind it, while the six dots appear more circular. Meanwhile the camera icon is now lighter in colour, more stylised and appears to be pointing straight at the user rather than being angled slightly downwards.
Lastly, look at the yellow box at the bottom. This is the navigation bar featuring Android’s on-screen touch controls. As with the notifications bar, in Android 4.4 KitKat this bar is now transparent rather than black as it used to be and as it’s presented on the Nexus 10 leak. The icons are also now bright white rather than a darker grey.