After three years, Google may be gearing up to refresh its 2013 Nexus 7. But things have changed, and the 7-inch tablet is likely not going to fall under the Nexus brand name. Here’s everything you need to know.
A Huawei-built tablet
Rumors about a 2016 Nexus 7 have been circulating since last year, and one piece of information has been consistent — Huawei will be manufacturing the tablet. It’s not the first collaboration between Google and the Chinese smartphone manufacturer — the Nexus 6P has that honor, and has been widely praised as one of the best Nexus devices to date.
We do know that Huawei is manufacturing a device for Google — a company official said as much in an interview earlier this year. But while many initially believed it was a Huawei-manufactured smartphone, it’s quite certain the official was referring to the 7-inch slate. After all, HTC has repeatedly been featured in leaks and rumors as the manufacturer for Google’s upcoming smartphones.
There hasn’t been a lot of information within the past year about the rumored tablet until now. Notable leaker Evan Blass, also known as @evleaks on Twitter, has posted sparse details about the tablet, bringing further confirmation about the device’s existence.
Google's Huawei-built 7-inch tablet, with 4GB RAM, on track for release before the end of the year.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) September 5, 2016
And that’s more or less all the information we have about the tablet. It has a 7-inch display, comes with 4GB of RAM and is expected to launch at the end of the year. We can’t verify this information, so take it with a grain of salt.
From Nexus to Pixel
Nevertheless, it’s highly likely that the tablet will not be named Nexus 7 (2016). That’s because of recent leaks surrounding the upcoming Google smartphones — it is rumored the search giant will be dropping the Nexus brand name, and will go with Pixel instead. The new HTC-built smartphones are expected to be called the Pixel and the Pixel XL.
It would be strange to release a tablet under the Nexus brand, especially at a later date — so expect to see a Pixel-branded tablet towards the end of the year. Pixel initially represented Google’s high-end Chromebook, but the line expanded after the company unveiled the first Pixel-branded tablet just last year.
The 10.2-inch Pixel C cost $500, certainly a lot more than previous Nexus tablets. It’s unclear whether a high price tag will follow suit for the 7-inch device — but the Nexus 7 (2012 and 2013) became popular because of their low price tag. Perhaps the 2016 refresh will maintain that expectation.
Availability and price
We’ll have to wait and see whether the price jump in the Pixel line applies to the 7-inch variant. The Pixel C launched in December of 2015, so it’s likely we could see a similar release window for the unnamed 7-inch tablet.
That’s 2 months after the Pixel smartphones and a slew of other Google devices are expected to launch. We’ll update this post as we learn more information.