The vast majority of operating systems for tablet and ebook readers are based on Google’s portable, open source Android operating system. Whilst Google do not exclusively produce hardware themselves, they have chosen to brand specific hardware with their name, most notably the “Nexus” range of smart phones and tablets. This hardware is 100% tested and approved by Google and marketed by them as being perfectly compatible with their operating system and apps, although of course the majority of Android based platforms will run the software just fine, depending on hardware specifications.
Nexus has also long been a brand known for quality, with smart phones predominantly manufactured by industry leaders Samsung and LG,
and Nexus tablets being manufactured by laptop experts Asus. Many people wanting to pick up a tablet have been tempted by the excellent Nexus 7 which had a great 7” diagonal screen and powerful Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core chip, which meant that 3d games and complicated apps would have little problem running, and the latest update of Andorid came pre-installed. Having sold over three million units, the Nexus 7 from Google has been a tough competitor for the Kindle Fire, Nook Color and iPad Mini.
The newer and more expensive Nexus 10 is a premium device with a larger, ultra high resolution screen, manufactured by Samsung under the Google brand, which has significantly more market pull than previous Samsung branded tablets, perhaps due to the good name built by the Nexus 7, even though this was manufactured by rival Asus. While a technically excellent tablet, the high price point pits it squarely against the top of the range iPads, which although in some ways are technically inferior, have the advantages of being more fashionable and desirable as a brand, plus the popular iOS operating system that links it easily to other devices that use iTunes natively, such as the popular iPod, iPhone and iMac / Macbook ranges.
There have been strong rumors for a while now that Google were planning a new Nexus tablet that would have a sub $100 price point, with many carriers seemingly gearing up for a $99 release in 2013. Whilst there is little doubt that a tablet in this price range, which combines excellent build quality, performance, design and software compatibility of previous Nexus tablets would be extremely popular, there has been little hard evidence of it actually existing, until very recently.
A recent test was made at GLBenchmark for a tablet with the code-name ME172V that is likely to be a prototype for the new Nexus model.
These rumors suggest that the cheaper version of the Nexus 7 would have a 1 Ghz processor, combined with a dedicated 400MHz Mali Graphic processor and 1 GB of RAM. The screen is likely to have a slightly lower resolution than the current Nexus 7 at 1024 x 600; however, if Google can manage to increase this, it would make the device a lot more tempting. The most interesting development is that all signs point towards the new device having a Micro SD slot. This would be a game changer for Google, as the lack of expansion slot has been named by many tech enthusiasts as the reason they have not purchased a Nexus 7. A device similar to the Nexus 7 but with a Micro SD slot and sub $100 price point would surely lead to market domination in the budget multi-function tablet market for Google, so the Nexus range is certainly one to watch over the next year.