Here's why an improved Nexus 7 could unleash the new Android

Chase Bonar
 from  Winter Springs, FL
| April 21, 2013

We're right around the corner from Google I/O and there are plenty of rumors to be excited about. Yesterday, Ms. Anna Scantlin elaborated on a rumor that the new Nexus smartphone from Google could be a modified Nexus 4 boasting LTE and 32GB of storage. But the thought of a Nexus 4 with these two additions would be slightly disappointing considering that Google should have released the Nexus 4 with these features in the first place. And then there's the Motorola X Phone partnership with Google that Evan Selleck expertly analyzed on a few occassions. However, I completely agree with him that the mystery of the X Phone makes it hard to get excited for considering how little we know about the device.

One thing is certain, though. If Google unveils two smartphones at I/O, it would be the first time the company has unveiled more than one smartphone at a single event. The thought of that is rather thrilling considering how much it would mean for Google, the company widely associated as a search engine and software giant, not necessarily a hardware guru.

Many are quick to argue that Google is not a hardware company; their software is the highlight of each product they deliver. Google does not need to deliver a premium smartphone with the best specifications to rally the Android crowd, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't.

I thoroughly enjoy my Nexus 4. It handily puts Google in a league of its own when quality and value are main considerations in the hunt for a new smartphone. With that said, I do think I/O needs a way to highlight a new version of the Android OS in order for Google to rally the sort of publicity competing hardware manufacturers like HTC and Samsung have attracted this year. A revamped "Nexus 4S", as Anna puts it, might not be so bad, but it won't have the "wow" factor Google has managed to stockpile with past Nexus devices like the original Nexus 4 and 7.

Seeing that Google has expanded into the tablet territory with the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 manufactured by Asus and Samsung, respectively, I'm finding myself more excited for the next lineup of Google tablets.

Rumors of the Nexus 7's successor have been running rampant and considering how positive its reception was last year, it's shaping up to be what I'm most excited for as well.

When you look back at the Nexus 7's original unveiling, it was much less a surprise due to Asus spilling most of the beans prior to its release. Even so, Jelly Bean on a 7-incher for $199 was a tremendous value proposition. It delivered new software and a new tablet form factor that solidified it as my favorite tablet. This is why I think a successor to the popular Nexus 7 may be even more exiting.

From the hardware perspective, it's rumored that Google might bring a higher resolution 7-inch display, a faster processor, more RAM, and a bigger battery. These are all good things. But the Nexus 7 II definitely has the potential to bring a few extra surprises to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 and iPad Mini 2 if Key Lime Pie has a say in the matter.

On the software front, Key Lime Pie is expected to debut on each new gadget, but the new Nexus 7 would potentially highlight everything the new flavor of Android has to offer on a bigger screen, and hopefully, with some unique tablet features. I wouldn't put it by Android 5.0 to have a TouchWiz-esque multi-window feature. This addition would surely make stock Android on a larger, possibly higher resolution display more exciting than a 4 to 5-inch display would. This is reason enough for me to nearly call the next Nexus 7 my next tablet.

In addition to new software features, Google is allegedly ditching Nvidia's Tegra in favor of a more developer-friendly Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Asus recently announced the Fonepad which is essentially an Asus-branded Nexus 7 with a cellular-friendly Intel CPU. If the next Nexus 7 can throw a curveball, it will be in delivering a tablet that can double as a smartphone. 

Another shock Google could throw at consumers is the possibility of tablet-optimized Google apps. Though it would hardly be a shocker to see Gmail or the rumored Google Babel in tablet format, it would mean that Google is treating Key Lime Pie as a foundation for tablet optimized apps, something both Nexus branded tablets have been managing very slowly. And with the possibility of SMS capaibilites with Google Babel, a Nexus 7 II could very well be a formidable smartphone replacement.

The last bit worth mentioning about a new tablet from Google is the possibility of additional storage options. More storage options would significantly undercut competing device's pricing (I'm looking at you iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0). Though more storage options wouldn't be a new idea, it would put the Nexus 7 in a more positive light if you consider that the Nexus 4 smartphone is only offered with 8 and 16GB configurations.

However, I'm most interested to hear your thoughts on Google I/O. From the perspective of new devices, what are you looking forward to the most? Does Key Lime Pie on a Nexus 4 with more storage and LTE have you pumped up? Or do you think the new Nexus 7 will steal the show and better highlight Key Lime Pie's new features? Sound away in the comments below!

Images via PCAdvisor and Winmatrix.