After three years, Google may be gearing up to refresh its 2013 Nexus 7. Despite the rumored Pixel-branding for its upcoming smartphones, the 7-inch tablet may hold onto the Nexus name. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Huawei-made Nexus 7 successor shockingly may not run Android. Instead, it may run a new operating system that merges Android and Chrome OS — it’s known internally as Andromeda.
Both Android Police and 9to5Google say Andromeda exists, but the former reported the merged OS will land on a laptop nicknamed Pixel 3, codenamed Bison. The laptop-tablet hybrid is expected to land some time next year, but 9to5Google says we may see Andromeda earlier on the Nexus tablet.
Andromeda would essentially bring desktop capability to Android devices. We don’t have any other information of what it looks like and how it runs, but we may get a sneak peek at Google’s October 4 event.
Google is reportedly testing early builds of Andromeda on the Nexus 9, though 9to5Google says the company will not release the OS publicly on the 2014 device.
The Pixel laptop targets MacBook Pro users, and the Nexus tablet seems to sit more in line as a developer-focused device, just like previous Nexus smartphones and tablets.
German site HuaweiBlog.de has some leaked information about the specs on the upcoming Nexus/Pixel tablet. The 7-inch AMOLED display will have a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, and will be powered by the Snapdragon 820 and an Adreno 530 GPU. It will be packed with 4GB of RAM, which was initially reported by @evleaks, and the base storage offering will be 64GB.
The rear camera will be packed with 13 megapixels. We can’t verify any of this information, so take it with a grain of salt.
A Huawei-built tablet
Rumors about a 2016 Nexus 7 have been circulating since last year, and one piece of information has been consistent — Huawei will be manufacturing the tablet. It’s not the first collaboration between Google and the Chinese smartphone manufacturer — the Nexus 6P has that honor, and has been widely praised as one of the best Nexus devices to date.
We do know that Huawei is manufacturing a device for Google — a company official said as much in an interview earlier this year. But while many initially believed it was a Huawei-manufactured smartphone, it’s quite certain the official was referring to the 7-inch slate. After all, HTC has repeatedly been featured in leaks and rumors as the manufacturer for Google’s upcoming smartphones.
There hasn’t been a lot of information within the past year about the rumored tablet until now. Notable leaker Evan Blass, also known as @evleaks on Twitter, has posted sparse details about the tablet, bringing further confirmation about the device’s existence.
Google's Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM, on track for release before the end of the year.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 5, 2016
And that’s more or less all the information we have about the tablet. It has a 7-inch display, comes with 4GB of RAM and is expected to launch at the end of the year. We can’t verify this information, so take it with a grain of salt.
Nexus or Pixel?
The new HTC-built Google smartphones are expected to be called the Pixel and the Pixel XL. That sparked rumors that Google is shutting down the Nexus line. 9to5Google’s chief Stephen Hall thinks different, and says Google may be keeping the Nexus branding for the tablet.
Pixel initially represented Google’s high-end Chromebook, but the line expanded after the company unveiled the first Pixel-branded tablet just last year.
The 10.2-inch Pixel C cost $500, certainly a lot more than previous Nexus tablets. It’s unclear whether a high price tag will follow suit for the 7-inch device, whether or not it’s branded as a Pixel or a Nexus. The Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013) became popular because of their low price tag, so perhaps the 2016 refresh will maintain that expectation.
Availability and price
We’ll have to wait and see whether the price jump in the Pixel line applies to the 7-inch variant. The Pixel C launched in December of 2015, so it’s likely we could see a similar release window for the unnamed 7-inch tablet.
That’s 2 months after the Pixel smartphones and a slew of other Google devices are expected to launch. We’ll update this post as we learn more information.
Article originally published in December. Updated on 09-26-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added new rumors about Andromeda OS running on the Nexus 7 successor, and that Google is testing the OS on the Nexus 9.