Google's due for a new small tablet refresh this year, and all signs point to a Nexus 8.
Google has two models of Nexus tablet, the Nexus 10 and the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 enjoyed a refresh last year, while the Nexus 10 was released in 2012. But is Google about to expand its tablet family? Rumor has it a middle child is coming in the form of an 8-inch device imaginatively named the Nexus 8. Below is a list of all the rumors we've come across so far. We'll update this list as time goes by!
Let's start with the most obvious feature, which is the display. The Nexus 8 is thought to measure around 8 inches in size. Right now, there isn't a whole lot of information on resolution or specific screen size (the current generation Nexus 7 has a 7.02-inch display, while the Nexus 10 display is actually a 10.1-inch panel).
There isn't much information on this out there right now. Given LG is the manufacturer behind the Nexus 5 (and the Nexus 4), it stands to reason that Google has a pretty good working relationship with the company. The Nexus 7 was manufactured by Asus (both models), while the Nexus 10 was a Samsung-made product. While it's possible that either of these could also manufacture the Nexus 8, Samsung doesn't seem too likely (since the development of the Nexus 10 was two years ago at this point, and it hasn't made another), but Google could easily offer Asus the gig, too. This Digitimes report from February suggests Mountain View has done just that, citing Taiwan-based supply chain makers that say Google is likely to stick with Asus.
The latest scuttlebutt says we can expect a 64-bit chip powering the newest Nexus tablet. AndroidPit reports that Google's Nexus 8 will feature Intel's freshly-announced Moorefield processor. First unveiled at MWC, this quad-core 64-bit CPU is scheduled for availability in the second half of 2014. This chip uses PowerVR G6430 graphics. Interestingly, during the unveiling of Merrifield and Moorefield, Intel confirmed that Asus, along with Dell, Lenovo and Foxconn, had agreed to multi-year partnerships to use the chips.
Working off the assumption that this tablet will be based on Moorefield, the Nexus 8 could pack a serious amount of RAM. Moorefield supports up to 4 GB of LPDDR3 at 800 MHz. Will Google max that out? Maybe, but probably not. Google likes to keep its offerings affordable, and an Android tablet doesn't need 4 GB of RAM. We reckon Google will go for the same 2 GB of RAM that's powering the current generation Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.
Again, Moorefield supports up to 256 GB, but we doubt Google's Nexus 8 will come near that. Again, it's all about keeping costs down, so we'll probably get a 32 GB option and possibly a pricier 64 GB option. For the record, both of the current generation Nexus tablets are available in 16 GB and 32 GB configurations. The original Nexus 7 was available in 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB.
Word on the street is that the Nexus 8 is going to ship with Android 4.5. Though we don't have a release date for this yet, Android Geeks cites an unnamed Google Dublin employee as saying Android 4.5 won't arrive until July and that the Nexus 8 will debut alongside it. This is quite a surprise, as Google I/O is actually kicking off in late June, and many people figured I/O would come with the introduction of a new version of Android. It's possible Google will unveil Android 4.5 and the Nexus 8 in June at I/O. The tablet won't ship until the following month, though Android Geeks’ source does specify that Google will focus on new services for I/O, Android 4.5 won't be unveiled until July.