The number of rumors about the next-gen Google Nexus 7 keep coming, and our friends from AndroidCentral may have scored a mine of information as they got their hands on a new set of photos (check the older ones) and a video that reportedly show what Google’s next 7” tablet looks like (btw, this could be related to that Google event next week we’re attending). There are some good pictures of the device itself, and we can’t say that the video couldn’t have been filmed better, but it gets the job done at filling in some blanks. Before we discuss further details, keep in mind that this is unofficial — rumors and speculation. Ready?
Update: our Nexus 7 2 review has been published.
Nexus 7 Specs (unconfirmed)
The various labels on the device hint that it is manufactured by ASUS, the same company behind the original Nexus 7. Among the obvious changes, you can see a back camera (5 Megapixel) which was not present on the first N7. There is also a front camera (1.2 Megapixel) for webcam/skype conversations.
In terms of hardware specs, things are getting a bit confusing since the information tied to this unit seems to indicate that it is powered by a Snapdragon S4 Pro, while many are expecting a Snapdragon S600.
I may offer an explanation to that: since Snapdragon S4 Pro and Snapdragon 600 are very similar and even pin-compatible, it is possible that early samples and prototypes are using the S4 Pro to allow the engineering team to move forward without having to wait for 600-based prototypes.
Obviously, I would also point out that since is this supposed to be a very affordable device, a Snapdragon S4 Pro would also be a good choice and would still provide a significant boost over the Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 Soc. If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if the S4 Pro prevailed in the end (we suspect that the N7 2013 has cleared the FCC), especially if the price lands around $150-$200. That said, Google doesn’t need to make money on this (although ASUS does), and since there were rumors of a Snapdragon 600 N7 version, so everything is still possible.
There is apparently 4GB of DDR3L RAM in the unit, which seems a bit weird, since 2GB would work just fine in this segment of the market. Again, a development unit may have more RAM to make things more comfortable for the software engineers to debug. The DDR3L memory is less expensive than LPDDR3 but consume more power. This is similar to what was used in the current N7, so I’m not surprised to see it here.
AndroidCentral also mentioned dual-speakers, which is very interesting because this could mean that the sound could be louder and clearer than the previous generation. Although I can’t say that I often use the loudspeaker, it’s nice to have the option, especially if you want to show something to other people. Front-facing speakers would have been even better, but you may have to wait until 2014 for that.
Finally, Android 4.3 will be the operating system of choice, and that’s just about normal since the Nexus devices are supposed to represent the latest and greatest “pure Android” user experience.
The other rumors about the hardware are not very interesting, but this is indeed a 7” display (resolution unconfirmed, but rumored to be 1080p) and there is a consensus that we will see the same 16GB/32GB and WiFi/WiFi+3G (an LTE version may be in the works too) configurations as before. Additionally, the good old 3.5mm audio and micro-USB connectors are still present, more or less at the same location as before. There’ something that looks like a LED notification (in the video), but at this point, we cannot confirm if that’s the case or not…
Among the missing features that are high on users’ list, there is no microSD support or HDMI connectivity (via MHL). At this point, I’m not sure that Miracast is an option either, but Google has supported that standard before, so there’s still a chance.
We may simply know more by next week if Google’s planned event is what we think it is (since May, it is believed that Nexus 7 would launch in July), but in the meantime, the new Nexus 7 seems to be a pretty good upgrade with a faster processor, a rear camera, Android 4.3 and better audio. Now let’s hope for a confirmed 1080p display. As for pricing, the latest leaks indicated a 16GB version for $229 and a 32GB one for $269, but it is not clear what kind of wireless connectivity (3G/LTE or not) that comes with.