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October 26, 2012

Nexus Rumors Hint At New Phone, Tablet

It has been all but confirmed that Google will be unveiling its newest Nexus phone and a 10-inch tablet at a media event Oct. 29 in New York.

This will come nearly one week after Apple representatives slammed the Nexus 7 when showing off the iPad mini. It also comes on top of Microsoft’s launch of its Surface and Windows 8.

The Next Web and other tech sites have reported that Google will be unveiling a 10-inch tablet dubbed the Nexus 10, an  LG Nexus 4 phone, and a 32GB Nexus 7. Other rumors include a HSPA+ variant of the tablet, which would allow Nexus 7 users to connect when away from Wi-Fi.

The popularity of the Nexus line has shown that this page from Apple’s playbook has been the right one to emulate. The tight integration between Google’s software and the ASUS hardware made the Nexus 7 an excellent product and one of the best tablets. It also has an excellent price point, at only $199 for the 8 GB model. Compare that to $329 for an iPad mini with weaker specs and consumers have some real options to weigh when looking for a tablet.

What didn’t get much attention this week in the iPad vs. Nexus 7 vs. Amazon Fire discussion was the strength of the competing operating systems. While Apple can boast of a larger app ecosystem and developer support, those who rely on and use Google’s system of apps have much to gain from using Android. While choosing a device is a matter of personal choice, the constant slam-the-competition-fests Apple puts on are getting old. Yes, to some extent everyone does this, but the logic-bending which Apple put on about competitors’ tablets on Monday was a bit over the top.

A well-built device that performs well with a fair price is something that Google can offer with its new devices. Add in some other tweaks to Jelly Bean and Android has come a long way from when its tablets were rather unremarkable. The quickly approaching holiday season will offer a good test to see if anyone is paying attention to Google’s message about the power it can offer with Android.

To make this happen, Google must continue to get more involved with its ecosystem. Just as Microsoft decided in building the surface, it can no longer rely on third-party manufacturers to create a good Android experience. Too many custom UIs and other tweaks have diluted what has become an excellent mobile operating system.

Much is at stake Monday; Google must again come with a compelling product line and narrative about the future of Android.

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