What's in a name? In the case of the Google Nexus device range, it conjures up images of a pure installation of Google Android on reasonably modern, powerful hardware receiving software update at or close to the front of the queue. We've covered a number of stories regarding the Google Nexus project recently including how some customers feel aggrieved that their device is not receiving updates in a timely fashion, through to rumors that we will be seeing a pair of Nexus smartphones in 2015, one built by LG and the other built by Huawei. However, we've not touched upon the idea of a Nexus tablet and there may be a very good reason for this: there are no plans.
The first Google Nexus tablet was the Nexus 7, released in the summer of 2012 and manufactured by ASUS. The 2012 Nexus 7 packed a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, a quad plus companion core processor designed to switch across to a special low power application processor when the device was not working so hard in Nvidia's early big.LITTLE concept. It had a 7.0-inch, 720p resolution display, 1 GB of RAM and a chocie of 8, 16 and 32 GB models. The 32 GB model had an optional 3G modem. It was followed by the Samsung-built Nexus 10, which introduced a new ultra high definition screen, QHD, a new ARM Cortex-A15 processor, 2 GB of RAM and a chocie of 16 GB or 32 GB capacities. A couple of years later and smartphones have inherited the 1,440 by 2,560 pixel resolution display! In 2013, Google together with ASUS released an improved and updated Nexus 7 based around a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 7.0-inch 1080p screen, 2 GB of memory. The 8 GB version had been dropped and the data enabled device now had LTE included. In 2014, working in conjunction with HTC, released the Nexus 9, which saw the Nexus tablet line move back to Nvidia for the K1-64 processor, one of the first 64-bit processors to see service in an Android tablet. The Nexus 9 has a 4:3 aspect ratio, ultra high definition screen, 2 GB of RAM and a choice of 16 or 32 GB capacities, again the 32 GB model has an optional LTE radio. The rumor that Android Police has picked up on is that the Nexus 9 will remain the flagship (the only) Nexus tablet for the time being.
I do need to remind readers that this remains a rumor at this time. And there may be a number of reasons as to why Google could have decided not to release a new tablet into the market. Perhaps it is because the sales of the Nexus 9 have been somewhat less than hoped for, or perhaps it is because they are hedging their bets and will take a view later in the year. It might be that the Nexus 9 was designed to be their headline tablet for eighteen months rather than the more established twelve month product cycle? Whatever the reasons behind this rumor, as soon as we learn anything else we will let you know.