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Will Huawei’s “Pixel Tablet” Run Google’s Andromeda OS?

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We’ve previously reported some gossip that Huawei is still involved with Google somehow on the Nexus project, which of course now is turning into the “Pixel” project after Google’s brand-name switch. 

Huawei has previously been pegged to be working on a possible phone, but also potentially a 7in next-gen Nexus 7 variant or similar (perhaps branded as the Pixel 7?). We’ve also reported very recently on Google gearing up to launch a new hybrid OS, dubbed Andromeda, which merges Android and Chrome OS features together – this will apparently land aboard a Pixel 3 laptop in late 2017. But, today we are hearing the Andromeda software could debut on a different device – a Huawei-made 7in tablet.

The word comes via 9To5Google, which says, “We’ve learned from multiple sources that Google plans to launch its forthcoming Andromeda Android/Chrome OS hybrid OS on two devices: a Huawei Nexus tablet and a “convertible laptop”. The latter device was just reported on by Android Police, and we can independently confirm that this device is planned. Our sources say, however, that a Huawei Nexus — yes, a Nexus — is also planned…”

There is a pretty large gap in Google’s own-brand mobile department for a smaller, more portable tablet/hybrid device. The Pixel C has not sold particularly well against the iPad Pro and, for the most part, the company’s Nexus 7, which hasn’t been updated for AGES, was one of the best selling products Google ever made. A lot of this was to do with price, but some was attributable to just how well the software functioned on the slate. Pure Android on a tablet is a beautiful thing.

The advent of Andromeda – the convergence of Android and ChromeOS – is one of the most tantalising things to happen to Android in a good long while. I love ChromeOS, even more now that it supports Android Apps. Further advancements with this platform will lead to exciting developments with respect to design and the overall functionality of the products running it; think clamshell designs, true pocket computers and hybrid slates.

“They may also be able to create true ‘pocket computers’ that come in a smartphone form factor, but offer support for desktop monitors and other peripherals, similar to Microsoft’s Continuum feature for Windows 10 Mobile,” reports Recode.

It added: “Andromeda is going to be more of a challenge for device makers because of their need to deal with product categories like Chromebooks, that could potentially go away. Plus, like Microsoft, Google seems to be moving aggressively toward doing its own branded hardware products, and that takes away potential market opportunities for some of its partners. At the same time, the launch of a new OS with new capabilities and new hardware requirements seems like the perfect time for Google to make a serious play into their own branded devices.”

Right now there is a lot of reference to this device as a Huawei Nexus 7, and it would appear that for now this is how the project is branded internally, 9To5 Google says that although there are no guarantees of the device launching as a Nexus devices “we’ve heard from multiple sources (and hints from others) that — as of the time of this writing, at least — it will.” While it’s pure speculation on our part, our guess is that Huawei was originally handed a project to develop a new Android-based Nexus 7 which has since shifted to being developed with Andromeda in mind. We expect the branding will probably catch up later on towards release and it will launch as a Pixel device.

The report also emphasised that this does indeed seem to be the very same Huawei Nexus 7 device we’ve seen leaked previously.

All evidence points to this device being the Huawei-made Google tablet that Evan Blass tweeted about a few weeks ago and perhaps related to the trademark filings we saw in April,” it said. On that note the assumption for now seems to be previous hardware leaks still stand, including Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor tech, a 7in display, and 4GB of RAM.

Another interesting snippet details the possibility that devices capable of running Android may also be capable of running Andromeda, as it is stated the Nexus 9 is being used to test Andromeda internally.

Interestingly, we can also now further confirm that Google is indeed testing Andromeda on the Nexus 9, and one source claims this is “because of hardware constraints and availability.” We also have confirmation that Google will not be launching Andromeda on the Nexus 9 publicly,” states the report.

At this stage there is no information on when the 7in Huawei tablet might launch, but there’s some implication at least that it may launch before the Pixel 3 laptop pegged for Q3 2017. If earlier spec details are correct then the device would need to hit the market sooner rather than later in order to not become quickly outdated.

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