Asus Google Nexus tablet: what to expect, but is it what we want?
All fingers point to Google I/O for the launch of the rumoured Asus Nexus tablet. The event, which is set to take place on 27 June, should also see the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, make an appearance on the Asus tablet. So what to expect from the Nexus device? What do we want? And what are we likely to get?
What to expect
Things are getting pretty leak-tastic on the Asus front and that’s the way we like it. Nothing has been confirmed oficially, but it’s all juicy logs to throw on to the rumour fire. It also helps us to work out a decent picture of the tablet.
Cheap price tag
The Nexus tablet is touted as having a Kindle Fire -price tag. That means cheap. Cheaper than anything else on the market even close to its level of quality. Right now we have roughly a £150 price tag slapped on the Asus. That’s cheaper than anything else Android-based out there that isn’t totally awful.
Rumours in the US agree with the cheaper Nexus, pointing to a 8GB version priced in at $199 and a 16GB offering at $249.
UPDATE: An unnamed Asus exec has reportedly confirmed the Google tablet launch for Google I/O saying that that the new tablet will be targeting Amazon:
"The Kindle is based on Google's platform but with its own service, so Google has to launch its own service, too," said the executive of the device to the new agency Reuters.
The low price means corners will have been cut to save on cash. Some of the features found on other tablets will likely be dropped. In the Nexus’s case, rumours are pointing to a lack of 3G for the device.
We can see this happening. Given Android’s ability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot from 3G, it’s entirely possible Google will want to be pushing that part of its ecosystem for use with the Nexus tablet. Then again, being a flagship Android device, Google may want it to have always-on internet.
The latest version of Android pretty much always coincides with a Nexus device launch. It is possible that the Nexus tablet will just ship with an updated version of ICS, especially given the still meagre take up of it on other Android devices.
That said, this does appear to be the Summer of tablets, with Microsoft announcing Surface and Apple iOS 6. Google could very easily be preparing something big for Jelly Bean and the Nexus tablet could be the device to launch it on. Rumours of Android 4.1 and an accidental leak of the new update's name to the Google Store further add to the rumours.
UPDATE: A Jelly Bean staute has now been erected on Google's lawn (Jelly Bean arrives at Google HQ) along with the other Android statues confirming that the next version will be called Jelly Bean.
Accidental image uploads to Picasa from the Nexus tablet's camera gave away little about exactly what sort of camera it would be, mostly because they were just of the roof of an office. A full spec leak however by Gizmodo Australia points to a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera.
Given the successes of Skype on Android and the fact that FaceTime is about to work over 3G, chances are there will be some sort of front facer. No rear camera could very well be to save on cost.
Of all the rumours so far, the Tegra 3 whispers appear to be the most concrete. An Asus rep over at Computex all but confirmed the tablet to Android Authority. Tegra 3 inside will mean a quad-core processor and a likely class-leading clock speed, like the Galaxy Nexus at launch.
Given Asus’s dealings with Tegra in the Transformer Prime, expect a similar performance level to that. No word on RAM yet but it will likely be 1GB as it tends to be the standard these days. This also collates with Gizmodo Australia's story, which also suggests a 1.3GHz clock speed and 1GB of RAM to play with.
From the leaked pics of the new Asus Nexus tablet, it looks like to have a rather different design to most of the company’s previous products.
The rear looks like that of the original iPhone, the front like that of the Samsung Galaxy S III, although bigger. That was at least with the original leaked image of the tablet. Now a picture of something entirely different and much more in line with the Galaxy Nexus has emerged.
Sporting a tactile-looking back and a Nexus logo etched into it, this is something much more slick than the original rumours point to.
Google continues to push its Wallet service on its Nexus devices. Right now the Galaxy Nexus supports it. Unlike Windows Phone's plans, you need to have the technology embedded into your phone in order for it to work.
In the Nexus tablet, this means NFC support for Google Wallet and things like Android Beam coming as standard. Who knows Google might take things even further with Jelly Bean.
7-inch IPS display
Given Asus's already pretty impressive screen tech in the tablet market we aren't surprised by this rumour. It does make for a slightly more pocketable Nexus tablet but one with a high-resolution screen. The 1280 x 800 resolution rumours should make for sharp text and nice looking apps as well as a decent media playback experience. 178 degree viewing angles make the Nexus tablet sound like an even more tempting package.
9-hour battery life
Tablets tend to carry bigger battery life than smartphones just because of their size. Nexus tablet rumours suggest nine hours of play time with the new Google branded device. This is decent enough particularly when you consider the price tag and the quad-core Tegra 3 chip putting a load on things. It may be that some get a lot more life out of it depending on how Jelly Bean plays with things like syncing and power management.
July release date
Sounds like Google want to get this thing out as soon as possible. Rumours from Digitimes suggest that the Nexus tablet could be landing as early as July. Do take this with a pinch of salt however as Digitimes is not always the most trustworthy of sources. Still though it is very possible Google announced near immediate availability at I/O this week.
What we want
These are the things of Android dreams. This is what we over at Pocket-lint hope for in the new Nexus tablet. Do get involved in the comments and let us know what you want to see in a Nexus device.
We know Android already does a pretty good job of handling notifications but it could be better. Customisation is what we are after. A means to control things like what sort of tablet info you are notified about and how often.
It would also be nice to see an easier way to get rid of notifications once you have received them and perhaps collate different types of notifications in different ways.
Android still lacks proper quality app experiences on tablets. There just isn’t anything that exciting to download on to our tablet which looks truly decent. Most lack proper support for the quality screens you get with Asus devices. For the Nexus here’s hoping Google introduces some sort of minimum app resolution for Jelly Bean on tablets.
iOS-style Twitter and Facebook integration
Android has definitely improved when it comes to social networking. The launch of the Instagram app, coupled with decent offerings from Facebook and Twitter, definitely make socialising easier. The issue we have is, that all too often the share function on Android is either too confusing, or appears in places where you don’t particularly need it.
A streamlined social networking experience and a much clearer sharing setup with the Asus Nexus tablet would definitely make for a cleaner tablet experience.
Even more home screen customisation
No one is going to argue with the customisation options on offer with Android. Since Gingerbread the management of your phone and tablet’s home screen has got better and better. The use of great things like widgets and app folders keeps on speeding up the tablet process. So much so that rarely do you need to open the tablet’s app drawer.
Still though we can’t help but feel things could be made even better. Total control over widget sizing would be nice for starters, as would more space to play with in general. It would also be great to be able to customize home screens for different uses, say one for social networking and another for work, each intelligently linking up with specific applications.
Anything else you would like to see on the Asus Nexus Tablet? Let us know in the comments below ...