Cheap-as-chips, but offering performance and build-quality that hadn't been matched in the 7-inch Android stakes upon its release, Google's Nexus 7 was (and, indeed remains) one of the finest 7-inch Android tablets on the market.
Now a year on since its release, the rumours surrounding a successor to the ASUS-built slate are hotting up, with a Nexus 7 2 seemingly sitting just over the horizon. While we wait for official confirmation of the device from the big G, we've pooled together all the info, leaks and rumours we could find into this post to give you a good look at what to expect from the forthcoming slate.
Design and build
For the most part, the Nexus 7 2 looks to retain a very similar design to that of its predecessor. Heck, there's only so much you can do with a 7-inch tablet design, and with the original Nexus 7 being comfortable in the hand, that's no bad thing.
Still a tough plastic rectangular slate according to the press shots leaked by EvLeaks, the tablet looks set to keep its predecessor's matte-back finish, with a vertical Nexus logo across the rear and a smaller ASUS logo horizontal on the back. Both front and rear cameras feature, while the tablet seems to be finding inspiration from the Kindle tablet range by offering stereo speakers, placed (when held in portrait orientation) at the top and bottom of the tablet, facing backwards. An eagle-eyed Twitter user also spotted a new notifications light, sitting at the bottom of the tablet, in a recent Google+ Hangouts promo videos. 16GB and 32GB models are expected, as well as Wi-Fi and 3G versions. Considering how pretty much every major mobile and tablet device now supports 4G LTE connectivity too, expect a 4G variant to be released at some point too.
The Google Nexus 7's 1280 x 800 screen was top-notch at launch, but with even 5-inch smartphones packing in a full HD display, it's looking a little less sharp than the competition. The Nexus 2 looks to rectify this, with Android Central claiming to have got hold of a spec sheet showing the new tablet to have a full-HD 1080p 7 inch display. That'd give the tablet a 323ppi, making it one of the sharpest on the market, and pulling it in line with Google's hi-res Nexus 10 device.
Processor and RAM
Both processor and RAM seem set to get a boost in the Nexus 7 sequel, with a leaked product sheet passed on to Engadget revealing that the Nexus 7 2 should ship with a quad-core 1.5GHz processor. With the Nexus 7 housing a NVIDIA Tegra 3, could the Nexus 7 pack in the new NVIDIA Tegra 4?
As for RAM, conflicting reports put it between 2GB and 4GB. 2GB is pretty standard among high-end Android devices these days, so 4GB would be an impressive spec, if potentially overkill.
No-one in their right mind should be using a tablet as a camera, and Google and ASUS spared us the indignity of watching morons walking around snapping away with a rear-mounted camera on the original Nexus 7 by only equipping the tablet is a low-resolution front facing one.
That doesn't seem to be the continued plan with the Nexus 7 however, with the EvLeaks image clearly showing a rear camera in the top corner. Engadget's leaked spec sheet tips that to be a 5MP unit.
Plenty of sources have revealed that the new version of Android, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, is doing the rounds in the wild on test devices, and it seems almost certain that the Nexus 7 will be the device to officially launch it.
What's new then? Not too much really, though the reworked operating system is expected to improve touch sensitivity for smaller icons and buttons, include new dialler options and introduce Bluetooth Low Energy and OpenGL ES 3.0 support. There's also the potential for a new camera app, which chimes well with the introduction of the rear-mounted snapper.
For the tablet's key features we once again turn to the Engadget leak, which suggests the tbalet will be compatible with wireless charging devices, as well as offering a slim port for 1080p output to a HD TV. There's no fancy S-Pen like you'd get with a Samsung Note, but the Nexus 7's core performance has always been the most important aspect of its success. Expect NFC connectivity to be a returning feature too.
One of the most attractive features of the original Nexus 7 was its price, with the 16GB Wi-Fi version currently sitting at an inexpensive £159. The Nexus 7 2, according to a number of retailer leaks will be slightly more pricey. Expect to pay $269.99 for the larger 32GB model, according to an OfficeMax leak, which would likely push UK pricing beyond the £200 mark for that model. That would still be a great price for the tablet, should these proposed specifications prove to be true. A leaked BestBuy advert however states that the tablets will start at $229.99.
Release date and launch
Google have a press event set for July 24, which means we could see the tablet launch as soon as this week. As for release, a Staples leak suggests that the company will be selling the tablet from July 31 - an exact week after Google's expected announcement. Sounds legit to us! A BestBuy leak puts the launch a day earlier on Tuesday July 30 though.
We wil be bringing you all the official Google Nexus 7 2 news as we get it, so keep your Tech Digest browser tabs open!