Google’s I/O developer conference is happening next week in San Francisco, and one of the big questions around what we’ll see there includes hardware. Now KGI securities analyst Mingchi Kuo (via 9to5Google), who unlike other analysts actually has a good track record of predicting things accurately, has let slip that one big reveal will be an updated Nexus 7 tablet, with a 1920 x 1200 7-inch display, a 5 megapixel camera and a new sleek, light design for the same $199 price point as the current version.
The Asus-built tablet will boast a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, a “narrow bezel” screen with pixel density of 323 (pretty close to that of the iPhone 5) and physical dimensions that make it either very close to or even smaller than Apple’s iPad mini. If true, that’ll make it handheld, and with a Retina-quality display, at a price that absolutely undercuts Apple’s $329 entry point with the mini.
Other additions to this model include wireless charging according to Kuo, which would be in keeping with that feature being offered standard with the Nexus 4. Google is using Qi-based induction charging, which means that it’s compatible with a wide range of chargers, and the new Nexus 7 would likely adopt the same tech.
Kuo also looked beyond the I/O conference to what we might see from Google in the coming months, which include some fairly surprising developments. There’s a plan to get Samsung Android-powered notebooks to market, for instance, over the next 3 or 4 months. Intel telegraphed Android-based notebooks via one of its executives in a report last month, as 9to5Google notes, but Kuo says that we won’t see these at I/O since the next major point release of Android, version 5.0, won’t be ready for the show.
Android-based notebooks are a bit of a head-scratcher since Google has already invested a lot in pushing Chrome OS on the desktop, and recent reports suggest Chrome OS might end up powering tablets, too. It seems contrary for Google to continue working on that while also building a version of Android that can power notebooks, but this may just be a case of Google putting bets on multiple horses over the long-term, which makes sense given that the company has repeatedly shown it’s willing to invest in products that end up being failures for the sake of gleaning insights from what went wrong.
Beyond that, Kuo says Google is still working on an a Google TV device which will compete with the existing Apple TV, which sounds like it might be a second, more feature-rich kick at the ill-fated Nexus Q can. Finally, he also says a smart watch device is expected to debut alongside Glass in Google’s wearable computing category, but that this won’t hit mass production until at least next year.