Google site hints at Nexus 8 tablet
Details observed on a Chrome bug-tracking website suggest that Google is testing a new tablet. Is it a next-gen Nexus 7, or will it be something entirely new?
With little more than one month to go before Google I/O 2014 kicks off, we're all but guaranteed to see hints and hear whispers about the next generation of Nexus tablets.
The eagle-eyed observers at tech site Myce noticed details on Chromium, a Google site dedicated to tracking bugs in the Chrome browser, that indicate Google could be ironing out the wrinkles on a new tablet. For those who pick through Chromium with a fine-tooth comb, the site has been known to tip Google's hand on a number of features, products and, services.
Very little concrete data is actually revealed by the listing (reproduced below), but those who read between the lines see a nugget of information. At the very bottom of the page, we find "google/volantis/flounder" under the build fingerprint. The code name of "flounder" suggests that Google is testing a Nexus product. How do we know? It's a bit of connecting the dots, really. See, the Nexus 10 was known by its code name of "manta" (as in manta ray), while the Nexus 5 was referenced as "hammerhead" prior to its debut, like a hammerhead shark.
If the pattern of the last few years is any indication, we should look for the "flounder" to ultimately surface as a tablet. This is the right time of year for Nexus tablets; the Nexus 7 (2013) came out in July, and Nexus smartphones typically debut in the fall.
Breaking down the build fingerprint, Myce surmises that Google was using software from May 6. Does this mean we'll see this device at Google I/O next month? Strangely enough, it's still too difficult to say for certain. Sources tell CNET that an 8.9-inch tablet will enter volume production in July or August and go on sale later in the year.
The last few months have given rise to multiple reports and rumors for Google's next-gen tablets: who will design it, what sort of hardware will power the product, what size is this thing? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. A host of vendors have been tossed around these last few months, including HTC, LG, Asus, Qualcomm, and Intel.
I might not hold my breath over a June debut for the new tablet. As much as I would like to see a new Google-branded device, there doesn't seem to be enough meat on the bones just yet, or quite enough leaks. But, if there's anything I've learned over the years, it's that it doesn't take long for pieces to come together. Code names, model numbers, benchmarks, and specs all have a way of converging well before an actual announcement.