To date, there has never been a 10″ Nexus tablet from Google. The Motorola Xoom was released as the reference device for Android 3.0, but was never branded as a Nexus device. Instead, Google chose to focus recently on a $199 7″ device. The Nexus 7 had grown in popularity as one of the best 7″ devices out there, to say nothing of being one of the best devices for only $199. While a high end 7″ tablet is great, especially for a reasonable price, there will always be those who want the biggest and the best device they can get their hands on. With that in mind, it is currently rumored that Samsung and Google are working on a high-end 10″ device.
An analyst at NPD DisplaySearch has spoken out regarding a 10.1″ device that will boast a 2560 x 1600 display. If true, this roughly 299ppi screen would put the tablet just above the Retina iPad in terms of density and offer something no other Android tablet is currently even close to. Samsung and Google already have a great working relationship, with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 being one of the developer gifts from the 2011 IO conference and Samsung being responsible for two of the previous Nexus devices. With the Xoom and the Tab 10.1 IO edition both reaching or exceeding end of life status, the two companies could both be looking for a device to refresh their lines.
Android tablets have never been particularly successful on their own. The Nexus 7 was one of the first to gain any real brand recognition as a single device. Samsung’s own Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and Galaxy Note tablets aren’t exactly leaping off the shelf, and their 7″ devices don’t come close to the price point of the Nexus 7. A partnership for a 10″ device would be mutually beneficial, and would put Google in another space to properly compete with Apple.
Unfortunately, Android as an ecosystem isn’t remotely prepared for a device with such a high resolution. Even on the Nexus 7 the volume of apps that stretch and look awkward outnumber the apps that look nice on the tablet. This rumored 10″ device would not have many apps that would look good at all. Apple needed to provide entirely new guidelines in order for “Retina Apps” to work well and look nice on the iPad. Google would likely need to do the same in order to be successful, and that kind of shift in the ecosystem would take time to deploy.
It’s still unclear when this rumored device would rear its head, but it is clearly not terribly soon. Perhaps with the next version of Android we will see some more stringent guidelines for dealing with such a high resolution, but right now Android isn’t really ready for this kind of device.
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