Google launched the original Nexus 10 last October. It was preceded by the Nexus 7, probably the best selling Android tablet of all time. The new Nexus 7 (2013) was just released at the end of July. While we don't know for certain, it's a safe bet that Google will announce a new Nexus 10 alongside the Nexus 5 this fall. Google's Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome and Google Apps, Sundar Pichai, has basically confirmed that Samsung is working on their next 10 inch tablet.
What can we expect from the new Nexus 10? What kind of processor will it have? What about screen display? There are quite a few options. So what could we see this fall? Let's take a look.
The current Nexus 10 display is going to be hard to top. The current generation N10 has a 2560 1600 display with a 300 pixels-per-inch screen density. It looks pretty darn good. What is Google going to do to improve on it?
Can Samsung really beat the current N10 screen? There are insane options on the market like the 3200 x 1800 display on the ATIV Q, but the ATIV Q has a 13.3 inch screen. Squeezing that many pixels into the smaller 10 inch screen could be difficult. The real question here is, do we even need a higher resolution panel on the new Nexus 10?
Samsung may keep the same 2560 x 1600 resolution for its version of the N10. Improvements could come in things like brightness, viewing angles, and the technology used to build it. A higher resolution screen is not likely. Samsung could give use an OLED panel for the new Nexus 10, but that's a bit of a dream.
As for the SoC, what can we expect here? It would make sense for Samsung to use the new Exynos 5 Octa chip with its updated GPU, but that might not happen. The new Nexus 7 (2013) did not make the leap from the Tegra 3 to a Snapdragon 800 chip. The new N7 is actually using the same APQ8064 chip that is in last year's Nexus 4.
We just don't know enough about that new Exynos chipset at this point. It's cost and power consumption will be big factors. It is a possibility, but it's more likely that Samsung a new Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. If Google really attempts to keep the new Nexus 10 cost low, it may even get a Snapdragon 600. We can hope for a Snapdragon 800, but that could be wishful thinking.
Much like last year's Nexus 10 display, there's not a lot of room to improve on the new Nexus 10 build quality. The current N10 is only 8.9 millimeters thick. That's pretty good, and Samsung probably won't improve much on it. Thinning things down much more than that isn't really necessary. No one is clamoring for thinner tablets.
The bezel on the new N10 could be thinner. The original isn't bad, by any means. But if Samsung can thin it down just a bit from where it currently is that would be fantastic. The new version of the N10 could stand to be a little lighter. Again, the current generation model is not bad, but is Samsung can lighten it up a little, users would be happy.
The body will almost certainly be made of plastic. Cost being a factor, Samsung probably won't spring for a more expensive material like aluminum. Google has always been more focused on getting devices into user's hands as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Hopefully Samsung will texture the back of the new N10 a little more. On a larger tablet with a 10 inch screen, better grip is a good thing.
What else could we see from this year's Nexus 10 model? The Nexus 7 got a RAM upgrade, from 1 GB to 2 GB of RAM. Maybe the new N10 will get a bump up to 3 GB of RAM this year? It's a pretty inexpensive update to implement. If the SoC is only going to get a small upgrade to a Snapdragon 600 or something similar, it couldn't hurt to see a RAM bump.
Maybe some type of S Pen support? It could happen, but this is something that is proprietary to Samsung's TouchWiz UI overlay. Considering that the Nexus line of devices is focused on stock Android, it's unlikely that Google will let Samsung tinker with the experience. Google will want to keep the Nexus 10 separate from Samsung's Note and S Pen branding.
Wireless charging is another thing that could happen, but probably won't. The technology behind charging our devices wireless has progressed a lot in the last year. It's just not practical in a device this size.
What about Android 5.0? It could happen, but it's a pretty sure bet that it won't. Google is taking it's time with the next version of Android. They still want to give equipment manufacturers time to catch up to Android 4.3, or at least Android 4.2.2. My guess is that we won't be seeing Android 5.0 until next year at Google I/O.
How about a camera update? There are two points of view when it comes to the cameras on large tablets. Some users believe that whether you are using a smartphone or a large-screen tablet, the camera should be of high quality. Others find it completely ridiculous to take photos with a big tablet, thinking that it looks silly holding up the tablet to capture a shot. Either way, we're hoping that the new Nexus 10 has at least an 8 megapixel camera on the back.
This year's Nexus 10 model will probably be a slight update, not a major overhaul. The nexus 7 (2013) did get a decent upgrade, and while the N10 has a lot of potential this year, there's not likely to be anything breathtaking unveiled. We're likely to start seeing more rumors and leaks anytime now, so stay tuned.