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Google Nexus 7 design challenges revealed by Asus

Asus has revealed how teams of engineers raced to create the £160 Google Nexus 7 tablet in just four months.

We know building the Google Nexus 7 by Asus was "like torture", but Asus has given more insight into the design process, revealing how teams of engineers raced to create the £160 tablet in just four months.

Google and Asus first met at annual technology trade show CES in January to hash out the plans for a tablet. As the first device to run the next generation of Android, Jelly Bean, Google wanted "hardware that represents the software to the maximum effect". From those conversations in January to the unveiling of the Nexus 7 at Google I/O in June, the Nexus 7 was designed in utmost secrecy by teams of hard-pressed engineers.

Speaking to Forbes, European Asus boss Benjamin Yeh described how a new device generally takes a lot longer to create: "from concept to mass production, we’re talking about six to twelve months. Six months is very tight." And yet Asus and Google had just four months.

The tight schedule meant that when working out the challenges of designing the device, "instead of one by one, we had to do it in parallel. So we invested much more than usual on this project in terms of engineering."

One design challenge was the screen. Asus managed to slim the display by taking out one of the layers of components that make a screen by adding a touch-sensitive film to the glass. The screen layers are laminated rather than air bonded, which makes them thinner but requires more precise manufacturing -- perhaps explaining why some tablets suffered from light leaking out of the side.

Meanwhile other teams were tackling other challenges, including boosting the battery life and placement of the speakers.

Asus has also revealed that if it was to make a business version of the Nexus 7, it might include security features such as fingerprint recognition and beefier encryption.

The Google Nexus 7 -- sorry, the Google Nexus 7 by Asus -- boasts a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and starts at just £160.