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Monday, 09 December 2013 15:15

Nexus rumours re-emerge with a vengeance

Written by Peter Scott



What’s Google really up to?

Google launched the Nexus 5 last month putting an end to much speculation, but the dry spell did not last long. Over the last few days a number of interesting rumours and leaks appeared, pointing to upcoming Nexus devices. 

The second generation Nexus 10 is perhaps the most obvious one. The current model is already showing signs of age and a replacement is overdue. In fact, many punters were expecting the new Nexus 10 to launch alongside the Nexus 5. Of course, this did not happen.

At this point very little is known about the new Nexus 10. Some reports indicate it will be produced by Asus, which makes sense due to its relatively good track record in Android tablets. Asus was already chosen for the first and second generation Nexus 7. Samsung is another option, as it produces the original Nexus 10. The latest rumours point to an Asus device, powered either by a Snapdragon 800 or Tegra 4 SoC, but the rumoured launch date does not make much sense. Since Google already missed the start of the holiday shopping season, rumour has it that the new Nexus 10 will appear in early 2014.

Google does not have a habit of launching Nexus devices on trade shows, so don’t expect it to show launch at CES or MWC. Our best guess is that Google will introduce the Nexus 10 a few days before one of the shows.

The Nexus 8 is back in the news thanks to evleaks. The 8-inch Nexus appears to be coming from the house of LG, as the LG V510. LG’s G Pad 8.3 has a very similar designation - LG V500 – so it is safe to assume that the two devices will end up very similar indeed. This is not a bad thing, since the LG G Pad features an 8.3-inch 1920x1200 display, 2GB of RAM, two cameras and at 338g it is very light. This is where it gets interesting, the G Pad is powered by a Snapdragon 600 and we are not sure the Nexus 8 will feature this particular chip.

Google has two options – it can try to make the Nexus 8 a bit cheaper, mimicking the Nexus 5 – LG G2 approach. This would probably involve a cheaper chip and other compromises. However, since the Nexus 7 already has a relatively outdated processor, we believe Google will chose a different approach, i.e. it will go for a more powerful SoC and it will not pinch pennies. Of course, we can only speculate but this way Google’s 2014 tablet line-up could look a bit like this: Nexus 7 starting at ~$199, Nexus 8 at $299 and the new Nexus 10 for $399+.

There is another non-tablet rumour worth mentioning. Over the weekend rumours of a Google set top box emerged, thanks to Amir Efrati, a very credible source. The device should end up with Nexus branding, unlike Google TV and Chromecast. It will not feature true TV support, but the device should run Android and feature a touchpad remote.

This is perhaps the most interesting Nexus rumour this year. A proper Google smart TV box sounds very appealing indeed, especially if Google manages to keep the price low. Chromecast is a very cheap device, but Nexus TV sounds a bit more serious and it should cost quite a bit more. There are a number of Android sticks on the market already, but most of them are rubbish, as they are built to a budget and powered by ancient processors that would look out of place even in low-end phones. There are a few products with decent quad-core A9 chips, but they don’t come cheap.

Google won’t go after the low-end market and it does not have a habit of launching underpowered hardware, hence it is highly unlikely that it will launch an Android set top box with a lousy processor. An Android box powered by a high-end SoC without the thermal and power constraints of a mobile device would end up faster than nettops and HTPCs of yesteryear and it would have to deal with a much leaner OS than low-end Windows rigs.

We have to wait and see how this plays out, but we must admit we like the idea.

Peter Scott

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