Nexus 8 release date, news, specs, rumours and price

An in-depth look at Google’s potential new tablet

With more and more speculation that Google will launch an 8-inch tablet, the Nexus 8, soon we attempt to make sense of

the rumours and questions. What could the the Nexus 8 could look like

and where it will sit in Google’s Nexus range? We’ll update this article regularly with more news and rumours.

UPDATE: It’s now out and going by the name of “Google Nexus 9

On

26th May Google updated it’s Google I/O website. A mysterious tablet

can been seen in the main image which looks similar in size to the Nexus

7, but takes all the stylistic cues from the Nexus 10. Could this be

the Nexus 8? If so we’d be pretty upset. The rounded edges look

old-school and the side bezels are chunky in comparison to the Nexus 7.

It looks too small to be the Nexus 10, but that’s exactly what it is.

Rumour quashed.
Nexus 8
Could this be the Nexus 8? No it’s actually a slightly altered image of the Nexus 10

But how do we know a Nexus 8 is even on its way? On

12th May 2014 eagle-eyed German tech blogger Carsten Knobloch found

references in the Chromium Projects code that hint towards a Nexus 8 and

Nexus 6.

The Chromium projects include the Chromium and Chromium OS open source

projects that power the Chrome browser and the Chrome OS used by

Chromebooks. The source code mentioned the Nexus 8 but offered no

additional information. It’s a tentative case for the Nexus 8 but offers some substance to rumours.  

More

recent code has fuelled that speculation. Tech community Myce uncovered

Android code refering to project named Volantis and Flounder which has

since been removed. Could these be code-names for the Nexus 5? It is

certainly possible, particularly since Google was quick to remove all

refereces once it noticed.

Does the Nexus 8 mean the end of other Nexus tablets?

Other questions that surround the likelihood of a Nexus 8 release revolve around whether we will also see a new Nexus 10 or Nexus 7

and who will manufacture these devices. Will Google stick with Asus and

Samsung to manufacture its next tablets or will it look elsewhere?

There

was no Nexus 10 refresh in 2013 although the Nexus 7 did see an updated

version get released. It is quite possible that Google has concluded

that smaller form-factor tablets are the way to go. There are plenty of

rumours and analyst opinions spreading around the internet that the

Google Nexus 8 – which could either be an 8-inch or an 8.9-inch tablet –

could take over from the Samsung made Nexus 10.

Look at the

sales figures and a strong case can be made for Google dropping the

Nexus 10 from its tablet line-up. While there is no public data of how

many Nexus tablets have been sold industry watcher Benedict Evans

has used a complex modelling system to calculate active Android users.

He estimates that the Nexus 10

only sold around 10% the amount of the Nexus 7 – or around 680k units.

While the 2012 Nexus 10 scored highly in reviews it did not sell

anywhere near as well Google

hoped it would. Neither did it make a major dent in Apple’s iPad sales.

This may be why Google chose not to target the iPad Air with the Nexus 10 2.  

There

are a few companies that have made an impact in the less competitive

8-inch market. Amazon has had some success with its well-regarded Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and so has LG with the LG G Pad 8.3. Samsung has a huge range of tablets that includes two 8-inchers – the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4.

Google

looks to follow suit, whether it will do so to replace its 7-inch or

10-inch tablet, or as an addition to them, remains to be seen.

Nexus 8 Release Date: When will the Nexus 8 come out?

Nexus 10 release date: November 13, 2012
Nexus 7 2012 release date:  July 13, 2012
Nexus 7 2013 release date: July 26 2013

Google

tends to release its 7-inch tablets in July while the Nexus 10 was

released in November 2012. When exactly the Nexus 8 release date will be

remains unknown.

Some rumours based on leaks from a Google Dublin employee

suggest that the Nexus 8 will be released in July 2014, shortly after

Google I/O – Google’s annual event that focusses on software rather than

hardware.   

A July launch is unlikely, though, unless Google

decides not to launch a new Nexus 7, it’s hard to imagine it will cease

production of its most popular tablet, however. With just a few months

to go we

would expect to have seen many more rumours to have surfaced by now,

including more concrete information on the screen and specs. A Q3

release date, somewhere between September and November, is a more

reasonable assumption and ties in with the Christmas rush to buy

tablets. Some rumours suggest that production won’t start until July or

August which would also support this hypothesis. However, there is still

a chance that we will see an anouncement made at Google I/O on June

25th.

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Nexus 8 Specs: Screen, Processor and Android 4.5

The question as to whether the Nexus 8 will come with an 16:10 8-inch or 16:10

8.9-inch screen. Rhoda Alexander from research firm IHS Technology told Cnet

that the new Nexus 8 will pack a high-resolution 8.9-inch screen that

would at least match the 2560×1600 pixels on the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9.

That would give it a pixel density of 339PPI, which is a little higher

than the 323PPI found on the Nexus 7 2013.

If the Nexus 8 is to

replace the Nexus 7, which is unlikely considering its popularity, then

an 8-inch screen is possible. If, however, it is set to replace the

Nexus 10 then an 8.9-inch screen makes more sense. We think this is the more likely scenario. With the constant

growth in Android tablet sales we think there is an opportunity for

Google to slot an 8.9-inch Nexus 8 into the range, rather than as a

replacement to either of the other tablets.
Nexus 8 dimensions
A scale representation of how an 8.9-inch Nexus 8 could stack up next to its siblings

Alexander

also added fuel to the rumours that the Nexus 8 will be made by

HTC, makers of the HTC One M8 phone. It might not be as farfetched as it

sounds. According to DigiTimes HTC turned down the opportunity to

create the first Nexus 7 as it wanted to focus on its smartphone

business and had already had its fingers burnt by the unsuccessful HTC

Flyer and 10-inch Jetstream. This left the door open to another

Taiwanese company, Asus.

It is also probable that Google will

choose to partner with a new manufacturer for the Nexus 8, particularly

if it sits in between the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Google has used LG for

the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5,

Asus for both Nexus 7s and Samsung for the Nexus 10. By spreading the

love Google manages to keep manufacturers happy and unthreatened, which

is also one of the reasons it sold Motorola to Lenovo earlier this year.

Who will build the Nexus 8 is not the only enigma surrounding it. Another is which brand of chipset it will use.

The

Nexus 7 2013 runs the Snapdragon S4Pro, just like the Nexus 4, whereas

the Nexus 10 uses a dual-core Samsung Exynos processor.

There are now three schools of thought on which processor the Nexus 8 will run.

The

first is that it will use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, just like

the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and both Nexus 7s. The precedent exists but the

question remains would it come with the new Snapdragon 805, the 801 or the 800

found in most flagship Androids or tablets? Google tends to use solid,

but last-generation processors in its tablets to keep costs down. If it

follows the pattern then the Snapdragon 800 or 600 may well be the SoC

of choice.

Vague reports from AndroidPIT suggest that Google will choose an Intel Atom processor instead of a tried and tested Qualcomm one.

Codenamed

Moorefield, Intel’s SoC is quad-core and 64-bit. Two versions were

announced at MWC 2014 The Intel Atom Z3560, running at up to 1.8GHz and

the Intel Atom Z3580 running at 2.33GHz.

It’s the extra

graphical grunt both these chips provide that make them exciting

prospects for the Nexus 8. Using the same PowerVR G6430 GPU as the iPhone 5S means that the Nexus 8 should perform blisteringly well during intensive 3D gaming.     

Moorefield performance
According

to Intel’s internal testing the dual-core Z3480 Merrifield with PowerVR

G6430 outperforms the Snapdragon 800 and Apple A7

The third, and most recent rumour, suggests that the Nexus 8 could be powered by a Nvidia Tegra 64-bit SoC, perhaps the K1. The fact that Google appears to be racing to get a 64-bit version of its Android operating system up and running adds some credence to this rumour, but it’s just too early to know for sure.

We will update the news on which processor the Nexus 8 will run as soon as we find out more.
    

Nexus 8 Price: It will be more expensive than the Nexus 7

Regardless

of the processor used it is fair to assume the Nexus 8 will be more expensive than

the Nexus 7. A bigger and higher resolution screen will increase the

cost of production and this will be reflected in its price.  Rhoda

Alexander of IHS Technology says that she “would not be surprised if it

is higher than $299.” That’s $70 more than the Nexus 7 2013 retails for

but $100 less than the $399 price the Nexus 10 launched at.

We’ll update this article with more news and rumours as they happen.