Attendees of the annual Google I/O developer event are looking forward to the conference, which takes place in two weeks. Sure, they’ll get to hear details of Google’s latest Chrome, Chrome OS and Android efforts, but that’s only part of the story. Often, Google introduces a new Nexus device to showcase its software. Last year the Nexus 7 tablet arrived and this year, it could be a larger Nexus 11 tablet if leaked specifications pan out.
The SamMobile blog, which has a better than average track record for such leaks, reported on Monday that the Nexus 11 appears on Samsung’s 2013 tablet roadmap. Samsung currently makes the Nexus 10 tablet and it also built the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S smartphones. As the biggest seller of Android hardware, Samsung is Google’s key partner of late. Then again, the two have a complicated relationship as Samsung’s Galaxy line is becoming synonymous with the Android brand to many.
So what does the leaked roadmap say about a new Nexus tablet? Not much but enough to give prospective Nexus 10 buyers a reason to pause: The rumored tablet is expected to be the first octa-core tablet to market, running on Samsung’s 8-core Exynos 5410 chip. Don’t get too hung up on the eight cores though; they’re not all high performing processors. Instead, four are cutting edge Cortex-A15 cores for heavy duty activities while the other quartet are Cortex-A7 cores to offload lighter tasks and save on power consumption.
The 11-inch display is expected to be a Super PLS TFT screen and I’d expect it to be at least 1920 x 1080 resolution, if not the same 2560 x 1600 resolution used on the current Nexus 10. A pair of cameras should grace the slate — 8 megapixels on the back and 2 megapixels on the front — while a feature unique to Nexus devices may finally appear as well: micro SD expansion.
A lesser version of the tablet is reportedly planned as well: Samsung may create a Galaxy Tab 11 with similar specifications. That device would certainly use Samsung’s TouchWiz software interface and feature set, of course. And if the roadmap is accurate, Samsung will opt for a standard dual-core Exynos 5250 chip; likely to keep costs down.
Could the Nexus 11 be legit? I’d say the odds are quite good although I don’t know if we need a larger Android tablet on the market. Then again, might a Chrome OS tablet be a possibility? If so, then an 11- inch slate might be sized just right, especially with a docking keyboard.
We’ll find out for sure at Google I/O, where we’ll be reporting live.
(c) 2013, GigaOM.com.