Editors' note: This piece was first published on June 13, 2014 and will be updated periodically.
It's hard to keep a secret. While Google and any prospective partners have kept mum about the existence of an 8.9-inch Nexus tablet, that hasn't stopped Internet sleuths from digging through code, sifting through leaked images, or chatting up analysts for a whiff of what's to come.
None of the rumors have been substantiated; some of the older ones have even been proven wrong already, though we're beginning to see the cloud of theories and claims coalesce into something like a concrete package. But the Nexus 7 is getting a little long in the tooth, and is starting to lag behind the competitively priced competition where specs are concerned. And as 8-inch tablets continue to make something of a splash, a Google entry into the space makes sense.
Read on for the news thus far, and check back -- this story won't end until Google pulls back the curtain, hopefully sometime later this month.
June 27, 2014
Google I/O has come and gone, with no sign of an 8.9-inch Nexus tablet. But that's OK -- all of the rumors suggested we wouldn't hear anything until July. And in the days following Google's developer conference, sources "familiar with the device" told CNET's Roger Cheng that the device "is still on its way to the market." For something a little more concrete, we can look directly to Google executive Dave Burke. He remains coy about upcoming devices but assured ReadWrite that the Google is "still invested in Nexus."
June 22, 2014
Citing "unnamed sources," the folks at Android Police are offering up the clearest alleged image of the rumored 8.9-inch Nexus tablet, codenamed "Volantis." Designed by HTC, the tablet is purportedly 7.9mm thick and weighs 418 grams, or 427 grams if you opt for LTE. A Tegra K1 processor and 2GB of RAM power the 2,048x1,440-pixel display, coupled with a pair of forward-facing stereo speakers and an 8-megapixel rear camera.
June 5, 2014
Images emerge: the Chinese website MyDrivers.com has leaked images of what they claim is the Nexus 8 tablet, allegedly wrapped in an outer case that obscures the device. The leaked images were accompanied with specs: the device will run Android 4.5, and pack a 64-bit Qualcomm processor alongside 3GB of RAM.
May 19, 2014
Chromium is the Google Chrome browser's open-source counterpart. Chrome draws it's code from Chromium, so it's not uncommon to turn to Chromium to get a sneak peek at what's in store from Google. Observers at tech site Myce did just that, uncovering references to something called "Flounder" in the Chromium issue tracker. Aquatic code names have been used for both the Nexus 5 (Hammerhead) and Nexus 10 (Manta), suggesting that Flounder is something in the Nexus lineage.
March 19, 2014
Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research at IHS Technology, told CNET she "would not be surprised" if an 8.9 Nexus tablet's price tag passed $300 (converted, that's about £175 or AU$320). It is expected to be a high-performance device, but signs now point to HTC being the developer.
February 21, 2014
While the annual Google I/O developer conference will be held at the end of June, a Google Dublin employee reportedly told Android Geeks that Android 4.5 Nexus 8 would not be announced until July.
January 22, 2014
Supply chain sources quoted by Digitimes claim that Google is working on an 8-inch tablet for its Nexus device line. It would be built by Asus, and pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon or Intel Bay Trail-T chip. The mystery device's specs would include a full-HD or better resolution, with a premium price tag.