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Summary:

Google’s Nexus 7 is nearly a year old and likely due for a refresh but didn’t make an appearance at Google I/O. Based on a Bluetooth certification this week, it looks like a new Nexus 7 with Android 4.3 is on the way.

nexus-7

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.

nexus-7-unboxedThere 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.

  1. Perhaps even a cell radio? That’s my guess. Google has a GS4 running stock android coming and if the rumors are true, a HTC one coming also. Why do another “nexus” phone? Stick to tablets (which need a lot of help) and add a cell radio option. Glass is the furture right? So no need for a phone just have glass hook up with your tablet for calls. Or a watch to tablet, or ear piece to tablet etc.

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    1. If it has a cell radio, it would be a phone :) But if you mean in terms of sizes – the reason most people stick with a pocket-sized device is not because of having to hold it up to their ear, but because it fits in their pocket, as well as being easier to use when walking around, standing up, one-handed etc.

      This doesn’t apply to everyone of course – we are now seeing giant phones in the form of Samsung’s Galaxy Note (5″), Galaxy Mega (6″), ASUS Fonepad (7″), and perhaps we’ll see more larger tablets become smartphones, but I don’t think we’re going to see a loss of smaller devices anytime soon – people want something they can carry all the time, which is pushing it for larger devices.

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    2. I use my current Nexus 7 with the Talkatone app to make Wi-Fi calls. You should see the looks at the airport or bars (using their Wi-Fi) when I’m holding it up to my head. Talking in to it you have to hold it backwards and upside down (the screen faced away from you) to talk in it.

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  2. Cool, I think this will be my first google purchases. Yes i do believe they will wait for a new android version to create more buzz at launch.

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  3. Except the model number (ME370T) and hardware revision number (R2.1) remain unchanged. If this was actually new hardware and not just a software update, these values would necessarily change.

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  4. I don’t see this as a sign of the new nexus to come. It is more likely to simply be an update to correct the issues with the current Bluetooth.

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  5. The specs look good enough to handle high end android games for about 2-3 years max

    Pair this with a moga controller and RIP vita and 3ds

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  6. I think you’ve misread this. This sounds like Android 4.3 being pushed on to the Nexus 7 – the model number and hardware revision are identical to the current certification. Don’t get me wrong, I want a new Nexus-class 7-inch device as well, but I don’t think this is it.

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    1. @vnangia absolutely right, this is asus re-certifying the current nexus 7 to include the broaden usage of bluetooth in android 4.3 on the device… just a case of asus keeping there bluetooth certifications up to date. I to am eagerly awaiting the tablet refresh but his news is no indication of it.

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    2. vnangia, you could well be right but I’m still on the fence here. I know that Google is updating the Bluetooth stack for Android 4.3 – the BT SIG basically announced that at the same time I/O was happening.

      But that’s for Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready bits and such. Oddly, this recent certification is still for BT 3.0. Perhaps the new stack required a recert for the newest Android version on the old Nexus, but does that mean every Android maker has to recert theirs as well? Definitely an odd situation…

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      1. Per my understanding of BT (I’m not an expert), BT2 is included in the BT3 spec and BT3 is in turn included in the BT4 spec. BT4 hardware can scale up to BT3 speeds, or down to the new BT Low Energy spec. Most likely, rewriting the BT stack for BT4 enabled BT3 in the process; there was no point in making the effort to extend the existing BT2.1 support to include BT3, since such few devices exist that take advantage of BT3 speeds anyway. So, the certification suggests there was a dormant BT3 radio in the Nexus 7, waiting for the stack to be rewritten and now that it’s been rewritten, there will be OS support for it.

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        1. That all makes sense except I though the Nexus 7 supported BT 3.0+HS already…. I sold mine some time ago and can’t check though. :(

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  7. Ghulam Rasool Monday, June 17, 2013

    so nice hurray I m waiting for that

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