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Google Nexus 8 Android Tablet May Launch in April 2014

By - Source: DigiTimes | B 19 comments

Here's another tale from the unnamed supply chain makers.

Unnamed Taiwan-based supply chain makers report that Google is working on an 8-inch tablet set to be released at the end of April. Google is expected to ship two million units initially.

According to the report, this will be the company's third-generation Nexus tablet, meaning Google may have no plans to release a 7-inch model this year. This new model will follow the 2nd generation Nexus 7 debuting in July 2013 and the 1st generation model in June 2012.

The move to 8 inches likely stems from the second generation Nexus 7, as despite the improved hardware and positive reviews, the sales weren't exactly what Google hoped for, sources claim. They also said that the cumulative sales of the second generation Nexus 7 were less than 3 million units as of the end of 2013.

That said, with the market now saturated with 7-inch solutions, the price competition is intense. What better way to get out of the race than to sport a bigger screen and let the competitors have at it? Sources claim that Google doesn't want to compete with the 5-inch and 6-inch smartphones market either.

So far, the 8-inch tablet market inhabited by Apple's iPad Mini, Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, the Asus MeMO Pad 8 and several more. The sources believe that Asus will likely produce the 8-inch Nexus tablet for Google just like it did with the two Nexus 7s. Other sources have named LG as the 8-inch tablet supplier.

Last week, Focus Taiwan reported that the local media said that HTC is making a return to the tablet market by producing a Nexus unit for Google. According to the report, HTC won orders for a high-end Nexus tablet line that will begin to ship in the third quarter. HTC's tablet experience includes the HTC Flyer (2011) and the Jetstream (2011).

HTC manufactured Google's first Nexus phone back in 2010.

Does this mean HTC could be working on the Nexus 10’s successor? Who knows at this point. A prototype was passed around at CES last year, and then sources indicated that the device would finally show up in time for the holidays. Of course that didn't happen, and now there's some doubt that Google will even return to the 10-inch market, that perhaps Google believes the 8-inch form factor is the sweet spot.

We'll see how that goes when the tablet hits retail shelves.

Display 19 Comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    grebgonebad , February 10, 2014 4:00 AM
    A Nexus 8? Interesting. I am currently the prowd owner of the Nexus 7 (2013) which I find invaluble in my day to day activities, from casual gaming and internet browsing, to banking and finance management, and even using useful apps such as Xbox One Smart Glass and Roccat Power Grid. And all this in a device small and sleek enough to slip into my pocket. If Google pull it off again and bring out a tablet with top end specs for a small price in a sleek package, I will be VERY inclined to get one. =)
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    InvalidError , February 10, 2014 4:11 AM
    The N7v2's sales may have been better if so many people had not had so many nagging hardware problems and so many crash issues with 4.3/4.4.I have owned and returned three N7v2s over a span of about 10 weeks and all three had similar issues, albeit to different severity. The first one had episodes of chronic ghost touches that made it unusable at times, the third one would freeze several times per hour (stops responding for several seconds) and crash/reboot many times per day, all three had loose USB port (the slightest device or cable movement while connected to a PC for file transfer would cause the device to disconnect even with the stock cable), GPS that takes forever to lock even while outdoors, WiFi that dropped out several times per day on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, etc. Many of these issues had 400+ posts long threads on Google's N7 forum and the main one about "Random freeze and restart" got locked at 1000 posts.

    Since I got three out of three duds from three different locations many weeks apart, I am a little surprised Google/Asus did not get more bad press for it. Me and the hundred or so others on Google's forum who have gone through 3+ devices hoping to get a good one must have exceptionally bad luck.
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    joebob2000 , February 10, 2014 7:16 AM
    An HTC tablet? Hope to hell it doesn't have a trackball on it...
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 10, 2014 8:29 AM
    Quote:
    The N7v2's sales may have been better if so many people had not had so many nagging hardware problems and so many crash issues with 4.3/4.4.I have owned and returned three N7v2s over a span of about 10 weeks and all three had similar issues, albeit to different severity. The first one had episodes of chronic ghost touches that made it unusable at times, the third one would freeze several times per hour (stops responding for several seconds) and crash/reboot many times per day, all three had loose USB port (the slightest device or cable movement while connected to a PC for file transfer would cause the device to disconnect even with the stock cable), GPS that takes forever to lock even while outdoors, WiFi that dropped out several times per day on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, etc. Many of these issues had 400+ posts long threads on Google's N7 forum and the main one about "Random freeze and restart" got locked at 1000 posts.Since I got three out of three duds from three different locations many weeks apart, I am a little surprised Google/Asus did not get more bad press for it. Me and the hundred or so others on Google's forum who have gone through 3+ devices hoping to get a good one must have exceptionally bad luck.
    I agree there were a lot of issues around the 2013 Nexus 7--with a lot still not showing any sign of resolution. But I don't know if that was the reason for the relatively low sales. I have the 2012 Nexus 7, and the Tegra3 is definitely laggy compared to my S4 Pro based phone (S4 pro phone is older than the N7). But that being said, it's still a usable device. But the 2013 came out fairly soon after the 2012 version--just a year. While a year might be a long time in terms of tech, the software/services didn't really change much in the way of the hardware capabilities--the only real difference was the higher res screen, and that wasn't really a strong selling point to people that already had one, and I think the existing 2012 N7 sales already addressed that market segment in most ways.But the sales numbers for the 2013 version aren't as poor when you put them into context of the 2012 N7--the 2012 Nexus 7 was estimated to sell ~4.6M. 2M+ sales of the 2013 version aren't awful when you consider it wasn't a convincing upgrade to the current 2012 N7 owners. I think it's a commentary on the state of the software and services--not much has changed since Jelly Bean, new hardware doesn't really do much for a wide audience.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , February 10, 2014 9:28 AM
    Quote:
    But the sales numbers for the 2013 version aren't as poor when you put them into context of the 2012 N7--the 2012 Nexus 7 was estimated to sell ~4.6M. 2M+ sales of the 2013 version aren't awful when you consider it wasn't a convincing upgrade to the current 2012 N7 owners.

    I think the N7-2013 was a fairly substantial upgrade specs-wise for the N7-2012 - I own an original N7-2012 too - but the N7-2013 had so many issues I did not want to risk getting stuck with that I decided to give up on it and go back to my N7-2012. It took me about two weeks to get used to the slower 2012 again after using the 2013. I must have recommended against buying the N7-2013 to a dozen people and that dozen people probably repeated my story to a handful of others. If the issues are as common as I think they might be and half the people who ran into issues did the same, that quickly translates into tens if not hundreds of thousands of aborted sales - people itching to get a N7-2013 scrapping those thoughts like I did.

    Aside from the technical issues, the 2013 also had a few design issues like the wide top/bottom bezel many people did not like (myself included), the off-center front camera which is a bit annoying to use (have to hold the tablet at odd angles to center yourself in the selfie shot), the slightly imbalanced speaker loudness due to the bottom port being split in half by the USB port, still no SD-card slot (one of the most common missing feature complaint on Google's N5/N7 forums) when tons of cheaper models are popping up with one, etc.

    "Only" one year since the N7-2012 should not really get in the way of sales that much since most popular phone and tablet lines sell millions (tens in Apple's case) of devices each year despite much more incremental updates than what Google had between N7 devices.

    The N7-2013 had the specs of a noteworthy upgrade but the design had many questionable aspects on top of the technical issues. The flood of much cheaper 7" devices with SD slot and leaner design certainly did not help either - that likely explains the flood of rumors saying Google is giving up on the 7" space and moving to 8".
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , February 10, 2014 11:37 AM
    I really like the 7 inch Nexus 7, it feels the right size for the hand and the screen size it big enough for my tastes. I hope they don't abandon the 7 inch realm. That being said I'm not likely to upgrade this year as it runs great and does what I need it to.
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , February 10, 2014 12:14 PM
    I liked the 2013 N7 quite a bit; the wide top/bottom bezels worked perfect for a positive grip in landscape mode, and I have had no issues with it whatsoever. No problems here, but I will be interested to see what they come up with for a 8" tablet. For now, my N7 is my primary entertainment device, it runs like a charm.
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , February 10, 2014 1:19 PM
    Quote:
    An HTC tablet? Hope to hell it doesn't have a trackball on it...
    LOL... Ummm, no. Even though Nexus One ( the one you'l alluding to) was the most advanced phone on the market for a whole year and a half (that is, it took that long for other manufacturers to bring up phones with that kind of performance; I would not mind another tech leap from HTC).
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 10, 2014 2:15 PM
    Quote:

    I think the N7-2013 was a fairly substantial upgrade specs-wise for the N7-2012 - I own an original N7-2012 too - but the N7-2013 had so many issues I did not want to risk getting stuck with that I decided to give up on it and go back to my N7-2012. It took me about two weeks to get used to the slower 2012 again after using the 2013. I must have recommended against buying the N7-2013 to a dozen people and that dozen people probably repeated my story to a handful of others. If the issues are as common as I think they might be and half the people who ran into issues did the same, that quickly translates into tens if not hundreds of thousands of aborted sales - people itching to get a N7-2013 scrapping those thoughts like I did.

    Aside from the technical issues, the 2013 also had a few design issues like the wide top/bottom bezel many people did not like (myself included), the off-center front camera which is a bit annoying to use (have to hold the tablet at odd angles to center yourself in the selfie shot), the slightly imbalanced speaker loudness due to the bottom port being split in half by the USB port, still no SD-card slot (one of the most common missing feature complaint on Google's N5/N7 forums) when tons of cheaper models are popping up with one, etc.

    "Only" one year since the N7-2012 should not really get in the way of sales that much since most popular phone and tablet lines sell millions (tens in Apple's case) of devices each year despite much more incremental updates than what Google had between N7 devices.

    The N7-2013 had the specs of a noteworthy upgrade but the design had many questionable aspects on top of the technical issues. The flood of much cheaper 7" devices with SD slot and leaner design certainly did not help either - that likely explains the flood of rumors saying Google is giving up on the 7" space and moving to 8".


    I agree that from a raw hardware comparison standpoint, the upgrades to the 2013 N7 components are not insignificant. The T3 is no comparison to the S800 SoC, and the screen resolution is a big upgrade. But despite the Tegra3 and the lower-resolution screen, there's nothing different on the software or service side ever since Jelly Bean that benefits from a stronger SoC that would significantly encourage mass numbers of people to go from the 2012 version to the 2013 version (at least, my uneducated guess). I think they tried to convince people that the "always listening" feature in google search required specific hardware that the 2013-specific N7 kitkat was capable of handling (but the previous N7 could not handle)--and hence the 2013 was a worthy reason to upgrade. But it turned out that no one really cared enough about that feature to migrate to the newer device for that reason.

    As for an SD card--that has little to do with the ability to integrate it into the 7" form-factor, and much more to do with the fact that Google has officially stated that they have no intention to bring expandable storage to Nexus devices: http://androidcommunity.com/googles-matias-duarte-explains-lack-of-sd-cards-in-nexus-devices-20121030/ Unofficially, Google probably just wants you to use their cloud services vs. relying on external storage so they have access to more user data and info. I mean, they didn't even turn on USB OTG on the Nexus OS's, despite supporting it in AOSP for 3rd party developers and vendors...much less a SD card slot.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , February 10, 2014 5:20 PM
    Quote:
    As for an SD card--that has little to do with the ability to integrate it into the 7" form-factor

    The problem is not integrating an SD slot since SD slots have been in all sorts of devices starting from ~$5. What I was pointing at is how the lack of SD slot (and UMS for USB host mode) is one of the most frequently recurring pet peeves on the Nexus forums and how the existence of sub-$200 devices with SD slot (and UMS) along most of the N7-2013's advantage likely steered people away from it - if I did not already own a N7-2012, I would have seriously considered one of those $130-170 tablets that are nearly as good as the 2013 instead of the (now) $170 N7-2012 or $230-250 N7-2013.

    As for the N7-2013's advantages, I liked how most navigation was significantly smoother, the slightly sharper text and graphics in the UI, much cleaner and smoother 3D graphics in games - some of the games I tried were slideshows or did not work at all on the N7-2012 but worked great on the N7-2013, the rear camera (one of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade), speakers located at both ends which makes a lot more sense for watching stuff in landscape mode, the 2GB RAM which allowed me to shuffle 4-5 apps before having to worry about Chrome tabs getting kicked from memory instead of only 2-3 (another of my main reasons), the much greater brightness dynamic range from about half as bright as the N7-2012's dimmest all the way up to about twice its brightest, etc.

    So, the N7-2013 certainly had quite a fair bit to offer to people who already had the N7-2012 or similar tablet or did not already own a tab and are relatively serious about their tablet use. If I had to sum up the positive part of my misadventures with the N7-2013, I would say the N7-2013 was addictively more responsive than its earlier competitors. Probably not the case anymore with all the new ~$170 devices that have come out since.
  • 0 Hide
    bebangs , February 10, 2014 7:09 PM
    I want to buy Nexus7, but the lack of sd card slot is steering me away from it. It's almost April, i guess i have to wait it out again. otherwise, im getting the Samsung8
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , February 10, 2014 9:18 PM
    Good decision. I have handled the Samsung 8 inch tablet and the screen size feels better. The device is noticeably thinner and probably had a bigger battery. A physically larger chassis would allow many other improvements.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 11, 2014 7:36 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    As for an SD card--that has little to do with the ability to integrate it into the 7" form-factor

    The problem is not integrating an SD slot since SD slots have been in all sorts of devices starting from ~$5. What I was pointing at is how the lack of SD slot (and UMS for USB host mode) is one of the most frequently recurring pet peeves on the Nexus forums and how the existence of sub-$200 devices with SD slot (and UMS) along most of the N7-2013's advantage likely steered people away from it - if I did not already own a N7-2012, I would have seriously considered one of those $130-170 tablets that are nearly as good as the 2013 instead of the (now) $170 N7-2012 or $230-250 N7-2013.

    As for the N7-2013's advantages, I liked how most navigation was significantly smoother, the slightly sharper text and graphics in the UI, much cleaner and smoother 3D graphics in games - some of the games I tried were slideshows or did not work at all on the N7-2012 but worked great on the N7-2013, the rear camera (one of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade), speakers located at both ends which makes a lot more sense for watching stuff in landscape mode, the 2GB RAM which allowed me to shuffle 4-5 apps before having to worry about Chrome tabs getting kicked from memory instead of only 2-3 (another of my main reasons), the much greater brightness dynamic range from about half as bright as the N7-2012's dimmest all the way up to about twice its brightest, etc.

    So, the N7-2013 certainly had quite a fair bit to offer to people who already had the N7-2012 or similar tablet or did not already own a tab and are relatively serious about their tablet use. If I had to sum up the positive part of my misadventures with the N7-2013, I would say the N7-2013 was addictively more responsive than its earlier competitors. Probably not the case anymore with all the new ~$170 devices that have come out since.

    Oh, don't get me wrong--I agree with you, all of those points about the 2013 being better/smoother are totally valid vs. the 2012 version--but those were selling points that current owners didn't seem to care much about vs. the software and services available since 4.1. And also, don't get me wrong, I hate that I got the Tegra3 2012 version (IIRC, I bought mine in March of 2013)--another poor tegra platform. I would prefer to have the 2013 version, but not enough to fork over money again. Maybe my bias on my experience with my device is transferring to how I think others feel/felt--but I also wouldn't say I'm that far off. Even high-end phones and tablets with Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC's that are 2+ years old are still blazingly fast with the software and services available. I think the only real thing pushing some people to continue to upgrade is screen resolution--and I think that's a dying battlefront that people care less and less about.

    And I also agree--I'm unlikely to buy another Nexus # tablet vs. the comparable ones with expansion slots--the only thing I like about Nexus is the reliable OS update--then again, Google has done a terrible job getting 4.4 out the door and functional across the devices, it's not as much of an issue to consider.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , February 11, 2014 11:33 AM
    Quote:
    Oh, don't get me wrong--I agree with you, all of those points about the 2013 being better/smoother are totally valid vs. the 2012 version--but those were selling points that current owners didn't seem to care much about vs. the software and services available since 4.1.

    Personally, I think the lack of SD slot is the single biggest design mistake on the N7-2013: just about all other tablets and phones from the uber-low-end and up have SD slots and the lack of one on Nexus devices makes them stick out like sore thumbs.

    And after seeing how much of a PITA migrating data between Android devices can be for myself, I understand why so many people consider the lack of SD slot on an Android device to be a deal breaker.
  • 0 Hide
    bebangs , February 24, 2014 3:37 PM
    btw, google killed nexus 7 with the release of AndroidKitkat. Disabled SMS feature of Nexus7 3g variants
  • 0 Hide
    grebgonebad , February 25, 2014 12:21 AM
    Quote:
    btw, google killed nexus 7 with the release of AndroidKitkat. Disabled SMS feature of Nexus7 3g variants


    That can hardly be classed as killing it can it? Thats just one feature that was removed?
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , February 25, 2014 12:53 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    btw, google killed nexus 7 with the release of AndroidKitkat. Disabled SMS feature of Nexus7 3g variants


    That can hardly be classed as killing it can it? Thats just one feature that was removed?

    The problem with removing SMS capability is that many prepaid cellphone carriers use SMS-based refills and on a device without phone/SMS support, refill requires jumping through extra unnecessary hoops like swapping SIMs between devices for people who happen to have multiple devices compatible with the same carrier.

    So I have no trouble imagining how removing SMS makes the 3G/4G Nexus feel broken for those people.

    Some people got the G3/G4 N7 to have a larger screen to text with and removing SMS would be major breakage for them too. For the G3 N7v1 which has been able to text for over a year before the feature got disabled with 4.4.x, that might be within "device not fit for the purposes it was purchased for" class-action lawsuit territory if enough people complained about it since it worked "as advertised" for a year before a key feature got arbitrarily disabled without warning.
  • 0 Hide
    grebgonebad , February 25, 2014 1:04 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    btw, google killed nexus 7 with the release of AndroidKitkat. Disabled SMS feature of Nexus7 3g variants


    That can hardly be classed as killing it can it? Thats just one feature that was removed?

    The problem with removing SMS capability is that many prepaid cellphone carriers use SMS-based refills and on a device without phone/SMS support, refill requires jumping through extra unnecessary hoops like swapping SIMs between devices for people who happen to have multiple devices compatible with the same carrier.

    So I have no trouble imagining how removing SMS makes the 3G/4G Nexus feel broken for those people.

    Some people got the G3/G4 N7 to have a larger screen to text with and removing SMS would be major breakage for them too. For the G3 N7v1 which has been able to text for over a year before the feature got disabled with 4.4.x, that might be within "device not fit for the purposes it was purchased for" class-action lawsuit territory if enough people complained about it since it worked "as advertised" for a year before a key feature got arbitrarily disabled without warning.


    I understand your point, fair argument. But I still don't see this as being a major factor as you can simply use an app such as Mightytext which will sync your messages from your phone to your tablet, and vice-versa. So you can still buy the 3G/4G verson and have messaging capabilities if thats the ultimatum between buying the Nexus 7 or another device.

    I can understand people's irritation at the sudden removal of such a prominent feature, I would have expected Google to have at least given a fair amount of forewarning.

    I think that by saying the removal of this feature is killing the Nexus 7 is a little OTT, as I wouldn't say the majority of 3G/4G Nexus 7 users buy it simply for this feature alone. I know several people who own a 3G/4G version, and none of then use it for SMS. They only use the data for web browsing and such.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , February 25, 2014 3:53 AM
    Quote:
    But I still don't see this as being a major factor as you can simply use an app such as Mightytext which will sync your messages from your phone to your tablet, and vice-versa.

    That does not help you in any way at all in markets where prepaid data refills are available and activation codes have to be registered by using SMS or calling from the SIM on want to reclaim the code on.

    The lack of SMS may be no big deal with monthly data plans and post-paid overage which are the norm in NA but many people in Europe/Asia are complaining about the lack of SMS making prepaid data refills a pain in the ass.