Google’s Nexus smartphone lineup has been pretty well-received over the years, but unfortunately, we can’t really same the same for its Nexus tablet lineup. There might have been some initial demand for them when they were first launched, but given that Google has never really bothered updating them since, it’s safe to say that the demand isn’t quite there yet.
In fact, the last Nexus 7 tablet we saw was back in 2013, and given that it’s been 3 years since, is Google done with it? After all, the tablet has been removed from the Google Play Store, but recently there have been rumblings that Google could be staging some kind of comeback.
ASUS Or Huawei?
So far both the Nexus 7 tablets that have been released to date were built by ASUS. The company has had quite a bit of success with their Transformer series tablets back in the day, which explains why Google had initially tapped them for the Nexus 7 tablets. In fact last year the company’s chairman, Jonney Shih, even hinted that they could be making a third Nexus 7 tablet.
Shih was quoted back then as saying, “So for the [first-generation] Nexus, I think that both parties feel that this will be an exciting product, with this kind of…price and this kind of functionality and quality. Even [the second-generation Nexus 7], we moved to the Full HD screen, and we still believe in this kind of beauty. It still makes sense. But then the next one actually takes a lot of discussion.”
Now this is where it gets interesting.
A couple of months after Shih’s statement, a new rumor surfaced which said that Huawei, not ASUS, will be in charge of 2016’s Nexus 7 tablet. Huawei is relatively new to the Nexus scene and to date have only made the Nexus 6P, but it is possible that Google liked Huawei’s work on the Nexus 6P enough to have tapped them for the Nexus 7.
Unfortunately apart from the rumor that either ASUS or Huawei will be leading the charge with the Nexus 7 tablet this year, not much else is known about said tablet. It will (obviously) sport a 7-inch display, but what kind of resolution is still anyone’s guess. 2013’s Nexus 7 came with a 1920×1200 resolution which will still hold up pretty nicely even by today’s standards, so it is possible that this year’s Nexus could maintain said resolution.
However, it will also depend on what Google is aiming for. If they’re looking to create an affordable tablet, then sticking with the 1920×1200 resolution makes sense. However if they’re looking to create a top-of-the-line tablet, bumping its resolution to QHD would make more sense and make it more appealing.
As for its chipset, the Nexus 7 relied on the Snapdragon 600 (also known as the Snapdragon S4 Pro) which was a mid-ranged chipset back then. Assuming Google maintains its mid-range choice of chipsets, we could be looking at the use of the Snapdragon 625. As for RAM, 3-4GB seems to be standard these days so we would expect nothing less.
Storage options back then were at 16GB and 32GB, and given that media and apps seem to have gone up in sizes these days, we’re probably looking at 32GB and 64GB options, or maybe even a third 128GB option.
Software & Features
Android N is still in its developer preview which means that it probably won’t be making its way onto the Nexus 7. This means we are probably looking at the latest version of Android Marshmallow. In terms of features, fingerprint scanners seem to be the in thing these days, but apart from Apple’s iPad lineup, we haven’t really seen other tablet makers introduce fingerprint scanners on their devices, meaning that we probably shouldn’t hold our breath.
Pricing & Availability
While Google could have unveiled the tablet anytime they want, Google I/O will be kicking off from the 18th-20th of May, giving them the perfect platform to make an announcement. Of course there’s no guarantee of that happening, but it does seem to make sense. As for pricing, the 2013 Nexus 7 was priced starting at $229 which is admittedly a rather affordable price tag, so we can expect 2016’s Nexus 7 to be priced roughly around the same too if it were to be announced.
Right now all the specs and features of the tablet are pretty much just rumors and speculation based on previous trends. Like we said, Google did sort of discontinue the tablet last year and with no update from 2013, it is easy to think that Google might have simply lost interest, not to mention the tablet market isn’t quite as vibrant as the smartphone market which means Google has even less incentive to keep going.
In any case take it all with a grain of salt for now, but do check back with us in the coming weeks where maybe, just maybe, Google might have something new to surprise us with.