If you believe the FCC (and I do), a new Nexus 7 is coming soon

In the market for a 7-inch Android tablet? The Nexus 7(s GOOG) is now 11 months old and we’ve seen bits of evidence that appeared to signal an updated version of Google’s small slate. Now, it’s an even safer bet that an updated Nexus tablet will be announced soon. Why more certainty? The FCC has certified a new Asus tablet with mention of the Nexus branding — not a guarantee that such a device will go on sale, but a definite requirement and the best indicator yet.

Ironically, it wasn’t even a U.S. news outlet that spotted the FCC testing documents: Notebook Italia got the jump on us all in finding the data. Based on the FCC report, the 7-inch tablet under test uses a Qualcomm APQ-8064(s qcom) chip, which sounds like the Snapdragon S600 used by the Galaxy S 4, HTC One and LG Optimus G Pro handsets. The tablet will have both a front and rear camera as well as a 15 wHr battery. Versions with Wi-Fi and LTE are likely.

nexus-7-unboxedThere’s no indication of the screen resolution but the Snapdragon S600 is surely capable of driving a 1080p display: It does so for the trio of smartphones mentioned above. However, a panel with 1080p resolution would likely drive the cost up. I still think Google should offer a wider range of new Nexus 7 tablets: some at a lower price with the current 1280 x 800 resolution and higher-priced models with 1080p screens. Call them Nexus 7+ or Nexus 7 HD tablets.

Regardless of what the final product line update looks like, if you’re in the market for a Nexus 7, it may make sense to hold off. Even if you’d rather have the current model, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google offer it for a lower price as new models fit into the current price points of $199 to $249.