The Nexus 7 was always pretty close to the ideal Android tablet.
Working with an OS that’s never quite matched the app support and productivity bent of the iPad, the Asus-made slate instead focused on what Android does best: provide a nice enough, fast enough, and much more affordable alternative, one that was entirely geared toward entertainment.
If you just wanted to browse the web or watch a movie, it was better than average and still a good bargain.
The Nexus 7 also hasn’t been refreshed in three years. Now, though, a spiritual successor of sorts might be on the way.
According to tech reporter Evan Blass, who has a long history of accurately predicting upcoming gadgets, Google is set to launch a Huawei-made 7-inch tablet by the end of the year. There isn’t much word on the device’s feature set or cost, but Blass says it will come with a fairly robust 4GB of RAM.
Huawei and Google were not immediately available to comment.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of a Huawei-made Google device arriving in 2016. Back in June, a rep from Huawei’s South African group reportedly confirmed that the company had another Nexus machine coming this year, but at the time it wasn’t clear if that would be a phone or tablet. The Chinese firm previously partnered with Google on its Nexus 6P smartphone last year.
If the rumour is true, it will be interesting to see how Google decides to brand the device. Last week, a report from Android Central claimed that Google plans to drop the “Nexus” name from its two forthcoming smartphones, which are now widely expected to be made by HTC.
Soon after, Android Police reported that those devices would instead use the “Pixel” branding Google typically reserves for in-house hardware, such as its Chromebook Pixel laptop or Pixel C tablet. It’s also worth noting that Huawei filed a trademark for a “Huawei 7P” earlier this year.
Whatever it’s called, the device would enter a tablet market that’s in steady decline, and an Android tablet market that hasn’t seen much excitement over the past few years. Lenovo made waves last week with its new Yoga Book hybrid, but the fastest growing Android slate recently has been the ultra-cheap Amazon Fire.
A genuine Nexus 7 successor would fall somewhere between those two, but we’ll have to wait and see if Google and Huawei have actually taken that route. Google is expected to hold an event on October 4 to announce the new “Pixel” phones, among other things, so that would seem to be the day to watch here.
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