We already know that an updated Nexus 10 from Samsung is on the way: a prototype was shuffled around during CES 2013 back in January. This second-generation tablet supposedly addresses the performance gap between the Exynos 5 chip – which features two Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.7 GHz and a Mali-T604 GPU (single core?) -- and the screen's monstrous 2560 x 1600 resolution. The current model's underpowered hardware rears its face in many scenarios like HD video playback which can get annoyingly choppy.
The new Nexus 10 will supposedly pack a chip with an eight-core Mali-T678 GPU and four CPU cores. The Mali-T678 actually supports a single to an eight-core design whereas the currently used Mali-T604 supports a single to quad-core design. The newer GPU will support OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0/3.0, DirectX 11 and Google's Renderscript Compute just like the GPU in the current Nexus 10. The updated Nexus 10 will also supposedly have only 2 GB of RAM, but that could have changed since January.
Talk of a new Nexus 10 began to heat up after Google introduced the updated Nexus 7 on Wednesday. Although Sundar Pichai didn't mention anything about refreshed Nexus 10 hardware during his presentation, he supposedly told a number of reporters during the hands-on demo time that Samsung is gearing up to release an updated model.
"Expect to see new 10-inch Nexus 10 Android tablet (made by Samsung) in the near future, Google’s Sundar Pichai tells me," said The Wall Street Journal's Amir Efrati via Twitter.
Of the two Nexus tablets, the larger Samsung model is the less stable. While the Asus 7 inch model mainly has issues regarding the screen separating from the plastic bezel (other problems are listed here), the Nexus 10 has been plagued with random reboots, freezing related to the Chrome browser, faulty batteries and performance issues which, again, may be related to not having enough hardware to fully support the high screen resolution.
One glimmer of hope regarding the current Nexus 10 – and for the first-gen Nexus 7 for that matter -- is Android 4.3 which is rolling out now. It promises better overall performance, and for gamers, throws in support for OpenGL ES 3.0 which offers more detailed and photo-realistic 3D graphics. The entire list of Android 4.3 changes and enhancements can be seen on Google's dedicated Android site here.
There's talk that the Nexus 10 may actually launch with Android 5.0 "Key Lime Pie", packed with a desktop mode when plugged into the HDMI port of an HDTV or monitor. The Nexus 5 slated for an October reveal – which could be the same time we see the new 10 inch tablet – may have a piece of the new Android pie as well. It wouldn't be surprising if both devices will be revealed at the same event.