Google Nexus 7 Android tablet hands-on

As we near the Nexus 7’s first birthday, chatter is building about the tablet’s potential successor.

Google is reportedly planning to release an upgraded Nexus 7 in July, Reuters reports. There’s a good chance Google will announce the tablet at its I/O conference next month, so a July release date makes sense.

Pricing is likely going to be a key component of Google’s strategy with the new Nexus 7. Reuters notes that the tablet could end up selling for the same $199 as the first model, while the older Nexus 7 gets discounted. Alternatively, Google could offer the new Nexus 7 for just $150 and discontinue the earlier model. Google is also expected to tap Asus to build the tablet, once again.

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Reuters expects the usual upgrades from the new Nexus 7: It’ll have a higher-resolution screen as well as a thinner design (one of the big issues with the first model). Additionally, Google is reportedly tapping Qualcomm for the new slate’s processor, which is a blow to Nvidia, whose Tegra 3 processor powered the first Nexus 7.

Both chip-makers have new products out this year — Qualcomm has the Snapdragon 600 series out now, and it’ll release the even more powerful Snapdragon 800 chip later this year . Nvidia has the Tegra 4, which is notable for its 72 (!) graphics processing cores. A recent report showed that the Tegra 4 beat out the Snapdragon 800 in speed.

I called the Nexus 7 the first Android tablet worth owning, and even today it remains a compelling product. In addition to the new tablet, Google could also unveil a new Nexus Android smartphone at its Google I/O conference next month. We’ll be on the ground at the conference, so stay tuned for more.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat