The Google I/O event is closing in fast, and in about one and a half weeks from now the search engine giant will officially announce its latest products and advancements in the mobile field. A new version of Android is expected (version 4.4.3 KitKat), and given that software means nothing without hardware, Google should also lift the veil on at least one new device from the Nexus lineup.
It’s too early in the year to expect a Nexus 6 smartphone to make an appearance during I/O, and chances are that if Google will announce a new device, it will be part of the tablet segment. Perhaps a new Nexus 7 or the long-awaited Nexus 10 sequel will make an appearance?
One can only hope, but in fact the only device that has been hinted at to date has been the fabled “Nexus 8″. For the past several months, the Nexus 8 has been the topic of much debate, and a ton of leaks and rumors have flooded the blogosphere, constantly giving us hints on what we could expect from said device.
Today we take a look at Google’s upcoming tablet.
Nexus 8 – Display
Interestingly, earlier this year word was out that Google might have lost faith in the 7-inch tablet market. Or, to put it another way, it appears that Google’s main goal with the Nexus 7 lineup was to pave the road for other manufacturers to take an interest in the budget-friendly Android tablet segment. Now that numerous companies have jumped on the 7-inch bandwagon, the company might have decided to abandon the Nexus 7 family in favor of opening up a new segment.
This is where the Nexus 8 comes in, supposedly, as the tablet in question is rumored to pack an 8.9 inch display. With a larger screen comes a higher resolution too, and if the rumors are to be believed, the N8 will feature a 2560 x 1600 screen.
This change in philosophy will also result in a higher price tag, but we’ll talk a bit more about that later. For now, let’s move on to the tablet’s alleged hardware internals.
The SoC Conundrum
One of the biggest questions surrounding the mysterious Nexus 8 is what type of processor it will make it tick. Initially there was enough evidence to suggest that Google and Intel might team up in order to equip the 8-incher with an Intel Moorefield SoC, despite the fact that Google hasn’t appeared on Intel’s list of multi-year agreements set in place at the Mobile World Congress.
Nevertheless, an Intel Moorefield SoC would’ve made a lot of sense on the Nexus 8, especially now that Google intends on further optimizing Android for 64-bit architecture, and also because Moorefield will come with its own LTE radio.
However, more recent developments have indicated that the Nexus 8 could actually be powered by an NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip. This information has been dug out from the Android source code, where it’s been suggested that the Nexus 8 will either run on 32-bit, or 64-bit. In turn, this would mean that the tablet could either use the quad-core Tegra K1 or the dual-core K1 Denver SoC – the latter taking advantage of 64-bit architecture.
Interestingly enough though, the rumors haven’t stopped at the Tegra K1, and according to a new leak, the tablet could use a Qualcomm chipset instead. More so, this particular rumor has been accompanied by a couple of photos depicting the alleged Nexus 8 wrapped up in a protective case. The source of these images has also suggested that the Qualcomm CPU inside the Nexus 8 will be of the 64-bit family, but that raised even more questions than it answered. This is due to the fact that, as yet, the only “flagship” Qualcomm processors with a 64-bit architecture are the Snapdragon 808 and 810, both of which are said to make their debut in 2015.
As such, the Nexus 8 could pack a different Qualcomm chip, or it could draw its power from a Tegra K1 or Intel Moorefield SoC. Only time will tell, and hopefully we’ll find out more once Google I/O will be underway.
Potential Manufacturer and the Rumored Price Tag
Another big question surrounding the Nexus 8 has to do with the manufacturer behind it. As you all know, so far, the Nexus 7 line-up has been manufactured by Asus, whereas the Nexus 10 has been worked on by Samsung.
As far as the Nexus 8 goes, it’s been rumored that neither Asus nor Samsung will be involved in the tablet’s development. Instead, rumor has it that HTC will build the tablet. This possibility has been first taken into account several months back, but it’s been only recently when an HTC-made devicecodenamed “Flounder” has been spotted in AOSP. For those of you who are not aware of this, most Nexus devices are codenamed after sea creatures, such as “Mako” or “Hammerhead.” The “Flounder” certainly fits this bill, and the evidence so far has linked the gadget to none other than the Nexus 8.
Finally, we should also talk about the rumored price tag. So far, the Nexus 8 has shaped up to be more than just a budget-friendly device. With a 2K 8.9-inch display and a powerful 64-bit CPU, the N8 will most likely be a tad more expensive than the Nexus 7, and according to earlier reports, the device will have a price tag of more than $299.
Whatever the case, the Google I/O conference is rapidly closing in, and if the Nexus 8 will indeed make an appearance at the event, all of our questions will be answered. Until then, feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.