Ahead of the highly anticipated Google I/O developer conference, a leaked training document purportedly obtained by the Australian branch of Gizmodo has all but confirmed the specifications of the highly anticipated “Google Nexus Tablet” that is supposed to be confirmed during the conference. The tablet, now known as the Nexus 7 is said to feature the following specifications:
7-inch 1280×800 IPS display with 178-degree viewing angle
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chip
nVidia GeForce 12-core GPU on die
1GB of RAM
8GB /16GB of internal storage (two versions)
1.2MP front-facing camera, no rear camera
9-hour battery life
NFC with Google Wallet
The specifications are inline with the previously revealed Asus MeMO Pad 370T which was announced during CES this past January and originally intended for release in the Spring before being quietly canceled with no further explanation, as that tablet was originally meant to usher in the low-priced quard-core tablet market, owing to its $249.99 MSRP, which had many eagerly awaiting its release, only to be shelved in its original form and re-developed with help from Google.
The Nexus Tablet is also meant to usher in Android Jelly Bean, which is the next version of Android, but rather than focus on the generational leap to 5.0 as was expected, the version that will ship on the new tablet will be numbered 4.1 and reflect a new wave of refinements for larger devices such as tablets as well as featuring enhancements for flagship Android superphones, such as the Galaxy S III and the previous generation Galaxy Nexus, which has already been confirmed to receive the update.
With Android tablets historically struggling in the marketplace compared to the domination of the iPad, the fact that Google tapped Asus to shelve an already existing design for further refinement signals an increased commitment by the search giant to make Android more competitive and more visible in the marketplace, beginning with pricing, as the above mentioned versions of the tablet are expected to be announced at $199.99 for the 8GB version and $249.99 for the 16GB version.
While the initial low storage amounts may put some people off, it’s best to keep in mind that Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s own Android-based tablets in the Kindle and Nook Tablet also ship with low amounts of storage with expansion slots and are also sold for similar prices, although both devices are also sold at a loss to drive content sales while the Nexus Tablet is expected to be sold at or slightly above cost.
For Google to price the tablet at such a low price in order to drive adoption of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is a tacit admission of the mistakes it made with Ice Cream Sandwich, which less than 10% of devices currently on the market run on an official level, mainly due to manufacturers developing phones with underpowered hardware that can’t accept the update and further applying customizations that can affect availability along with carrier development that can also stifle updates and has frequently led to vocal criticism.
More information will be revealed during Google I/O this week, although in lieu of direct coverage, we will direct readers to other sources of coverage, as Google continues to bar PhoneNews.com from its press list for the conference.