Google May Release Nexus 8 Tablet
Google may be working on an 8 inch tablet.
To date, Google offers three Nexus tablets: the first-generation 7 inch Nexus 7 (Asus, 2012) and 10.1 inch Nexus 10 (Samsung, 2012) tablets, and the second-generation Nexus 7 (Asus, 2013). Up until last week, there was speculation that Google would launch the second generation Nexus 10 along with the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4, just as the company did with the original Nexus 10, Nexus 4 phone and Android 4.2 on October 29, 2012. Obviously, that didn't happen.
Now Google's own website has thrown a wrench into the rumor mill. Head over to the Apps and Entertainment section of the official Android website, scroll halfway down to the second image, and you'll see a woman smiling down at a tablet in her hands. This doesn't appear to be either the new Nexus 7 or current Nexus 10, but what appears to be an 8 inch model, likely an unannounced Nexus 8 model. This device also sports Android 4.4. "KitKat" (ugh Halloween is haunting me), based on the status bar icons.
Could this merely be a prop? Google typically doesn't use fake or generic devices in its promotional material. Even more, Google is quite keen in leaking its own devices in promotional material, such as the new Nexus 5, which appeared in an official video featuring an employee casually filming the KitKat statue with the device. That said, this is undoubtedly an unannounced tablet sporting compact, more rounded bezels and the latest Android build.
Why build an 8 inch tablet? Two reasons: Apple and Amazon. Google likely sees just how much revenue both of these companies are raking in with the Kindle Fire HD(X) 8.9 and iPad Mini (7.9 inch), respectively; they hit a sweet spot that the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 cannot satisfy. The new iPad Mini will have a starting price of $399, whereas as the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 will have a starting price of $379. The current Nexus 10 has a starting price of $399, paving the way for a price point for the 8 inch model that could undercut both Amazon and Apple.
Google launched the original Nexus 10 on November 13, 2013. With a second generation model still unannounced, there's speculation that this 10.1 inch model may be replaced by the Nexus 8. Given that a prototype Nexus 10 Gen 2 was shopped around during CES 2013 back in January, that speculation seems unlikely. Google may have simply decided to announce/launch two tablets side-by-side rather than allow the devices to dominate the Nexus 5 launch. We shall find out soon enough.