The original Nexus 7, released in 2012 and updated in 2013, has always been one of our favourite Nexus devices. It was that convenient smaller tablet, a pure-Android almost pocketable tablet for fun and frivolity.
The Nexus programme has flung out a range of tablets, the pixel-popping Nexus 10, the 4:3 Nexus 9 and that hybrid Pixel C, a tablet that wants to be your workmate.
There have been some gems in there, some breakthroughs, but there's definitely a gap in the pure Android small tablet market. So when rumours appeared suggesting a new Nexus 7, we allowed ourselves to get a little bit excited.
Here's the story on the next Nexus 7 so far.
Nexus 7 (2016): Huawei steps up
In the early days of the Nexus/Pixel smartphone rumour cycle, there was one odd detail that stood out.
While everyone was talking about HTC making the next Google smartphones, a throwaway line from Charlene Munilall, general manager of Huawei's consumer business in South Africa, put Huawei in the frame.
"We're doing the Nexus again this year, by the way," said Munilall. That expression was originally thought to refer to a repeat of the Nexus 6P, but might have actually been about a new Nexus 7 tablet.
That line of thought came back into focus, following a tweet from leaker extraordinaire, Evan Blass.
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
The @evleaks account has often proved to be entirely accurate, adding real weight to this rumour of a new Huawei-built Nexus tablet.
Nexus 7 (2016): What will it be called?
That's a good question. Huawei filed a trademark on the name Nexus 7P, in April 2016. Reported by Phandroid, it very obviously ties the a new larger device into the Nexus 6P smartphone that the company produced in 2015 – which was a great Nexus Phone.
So the Nexus 7P logically sits in the frame, but with a huge amount of debate ranging around the names of the next Google smartphones – currently thought to be the Pixel and Pixel XL, there's a chance that the Nexus brand will be entirely dropped.
So that might leave us with Pixel 7 or Pixel 7P. Currently we don't know, based on the small number of leaks we've seen so far.
Nexus 7 (2016): Hardware and specs
We've already seen that the new Huawei device might come with 4GB of RAM from Evan Blass, a good start.
Beyond that, a set of specifications has surfaced on Huawei Blog. The readout of these runs down as follows: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB RAM, 64GB of internal storage.
That makes for a tablet that's fully-loaded, potentially offering the same sort of power as a flagship smartphone.
There's no mention of battery capacity, or of the connection type. However, with Google switching to USB Type-C on the Pixel C, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, it would be irregular for a new Nexus 7 to use anything else.
That would also suggest Quick Charge 3.0 support, but we have no indication of the battery capacity. We'd hope for something like 5100mAh, like the recently announced Huawei MediaPad M3.
One thing not mentioned so far is a fingerprint scanner. That's been a feature of recent Nexus devices, but we have no idea how Google would implement that on a new Tablet – the Pixel C, famously, didn't have one.
Nexus 7 (2016): Display
The same source at Huawei Blog suggests a 7-inch device with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. That's sounds pretty convincing, although that's a straight down the line 16:9 aspect. While that's great on a smartphone we can't help feeling that the slightly taller 2560 x 1600 might be used instead as it's slightly better for tablets.
We have no evidence for this, however.
Nexus 7 (2016): Cameras
Cameras don't matter much on a tablet – we refuse to accept that it's socially acceptable to take your tablet to the zoo or theatre and snap photos with it – but there's the suggestion that there will be a 13-megapixel camera on the rear.
The front camera is more useful, as this is your key to video chats and so on and we're sure it will be 8-megapixels, because that's what Huawei tends to use on its devices.
Nexus 7 (2016): Release date
The current thinking is that Google is planning a mega dump on 4 October where it will unleash a collection of devices – the Pixel, Pixel XL, 4K Chromecast and Daydream VR.
So far there's been little mention of a new tablet, but it may well fall into the same event. Other than that, the only timeframe we have is before the end of 2016.
Nexus 7 (2016): Conclusions
The emergence of a new Nexus 7 on the rumour scene is relatively recent. There's long been talk of the fun that Google and Huawei had on the Nexus 6P and a belief that new device was in the works from the pair.
The core specs rumoured so far look entirely typical, but there's still a question mark over what this device might be called and whether it's going to be bundled in with the rest of Google's end of year launches.
One thing is certain though: with a tablet market that's got a little boring, it would be nice to have a small format Android tablet to shake things up and rival the iPad mini.
We will continue to update as we learn more.