Although many were disappointed that no new hardware debuted at Google I/O — unless you count the Samsung Galaxy S 4 “Google Edition” — there’s more evidence that a new Nexus 7 is on the way. Liliputing notes that the Bluetooth SIG certified a device on May 27 and the corresponding data indicates it is a refreshed Google tablet.
There isn’t much to go on outside of the tested device, but it has a product design name of ME370T — the same as the original Nexus 7 tablet built by Asus. Another key clue? The software build for the certification is JWR11, which is similar to the JWR42 build spotted last week on a Nexus 4 device running Android 4.3. Based on that information, I wouldn’t expect a refresh to the Nexus 7 until Google officially introduces the next version of Android, rumored to be in June or July. Prior to the back-to-school season sounds about right to me.
The Bluetooth SIG data indicates that the certified tablet will still use Bluetooth 3.0, so it doesn’t appear that a new Nexus will gain Bluetooth 4.0 or be Bluetooth Smart Ready. So what might the new tablet gain? I’m still standing behind most of my thoughts from earlier this year:
- The same 7-inch screen size, but a higher-resolution panel of 1920 x 1080 for a pixel density of 315 pixels per inch (ppi). The current device uses a 1280 x 800 resolution display at 216 ppi.
- It’s possible that Google keeps an improved 1280 x 800 model at $199 and offers the higher-resolution panel as a more expensive option; say $249.
- Google opts for Qualcomm’s new quad-core Snapdragon 600 chipset. The company often switches hardware components between manufacturing partners on Nexus devices, but if this happens, it’s certainly not good for Nvidia and its Tegra 4 chip.
- With a Qualcomm chip inside, it’s highly likely the Nexus 7 gets an LTE option due to the chipmaker’s solid modem integration on its silicon.
- The new Nexus 7 will get a memory boost: 2 GB of RAM up from the current 1 GB.
- A rear camera is added, but it won’t be a top-of-the-line sensor: Just good enough for Google+ photos and such.
- I expect the current metal pins to be in the same place on a new tablet model; this would keep the new device compatible with the Nexus 7 dock which only arrived on the market recently.
I’d keep an eye on the retailers that sell Nexus 7 tablets: WalMart, RadioShack and the like. If you see price drops across all of them at once, it’s a tell-tale sign that a new and improved Nexus 7 is on the way.