Following Google’s I/O 2013 keynote that lacked any new announcements of new Nexus-branded hardware or new Android OS versions, new reports suggest that the company will unveil such products at some point in the coming months.
Specifically, it is believed that a new Nexus 7 tablet will be launched at some point in July, which is when Android 4.3 would also be made official.
It’s still speculation at this point, but it wouldn’t be completely out of the realms of common sense to see that happen. In fact, when talking about the missing hardware and Android updates at Google I/O 2013, we did say that such products would almost certainly be unveiled later down the road.
For the moment, Android 4.3 seems to be the most likely new Android OS update, although, just like Android 5.0, it’s not confirmed by Google. However, many Android 4.3 references have been already found in the wild, including server logs that indicate Android 4.3 will be another Jelly Bean version and a Google page on its Android site that briefly mentioned the new version a few hours ahead of the Google I/O keynote before being removed.
Whatever the next Android OS version will be, it’s clear though that it will support Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE), according to a press release issued by Google yesterday (see it at the end of this post). This particular detail was not mentioned during Google I/O, but it’s important considering that Google’s Android has lacked support for BLE so far.
Google’s press release says that BLE support will come “later this year,” without specifying exactly when that will happen. But Android Beat tells us that someone said during one Google I/O session that “Android API release 18 will get Bluetooth Smart functionality in ‘a couple of months:’”
Now, Android API release 17 happens to be Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which means that the next Android version – API release 18 – could be unveiled around July.
Finally, we’re also going to remind you that the Nexus 4 has received Bluetooth 4.0 certification just recently so it would be able to offer BLE support once Android API release 18 is launched.
New Nexus 7
In addition to a new Android OS version we could see that rumored new Nexus 7 arrive at about the same time in the coming months.
The device has appeared in various unconfirmed reports leading to Google I/O 2013, but Google did not mention a product refresh during its software-oriented three-hour keynote.
Of those reports, a particular one stood out from the crowd – a note to investors from an analyst – revealing plenty of “new Nexus 7” details that made a lot of sense on paper.
Digitimes, a publication that doesn’t have an always-accurate rumor-reporting track record, on Wednesday said in a post about upcoming affordable second-generation Microsoft Surface RT models that a new Nexus 7 would be launched in July. Here’s the full quote:
In addition to Surface [launching in June], Google is also set to start selling its second-generation Nexus 7 in July with a sales target of 6-8 million units for the second half. The upcoming Nexus 7 will feature Japan Display’s (JPI) 1920 by 1200 LTPS TFT panel and a Qualcomm processor, and be priced the same as the first-generation model.
Naturally, we can’t verify these details at this time, but considering that there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that an Android OS update is in the works, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Google pair a new Android OS release with the launch of new Nexus-branded hardware.
Of all the devices it could possibly unveil in the coming months, the new Nexus 7 makes the most sense, considering that the first-generation model is almost one-year old, and a product refresh is more than logical. Also somewhat logical would be the launch of a mid-cycle 32GB Nexus 4 LTE around the same time, but we’ll cross that bridge when and if we get there.
Google Announces Bluetooth® Smart Ready Support for Android Coming Later this Year
Consumers win as developer opportunity explodes for Bluetooth Smart with support from Apple, Microsoft and Google
Kirkland, Washington – May 15, 2013 – Today at Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, Google announced that in the coming months, Android will include native support for Bluetooth Smart Ready and Bluetooth Smart devices. Phones and tablets with a dual-mode Bluetooth chip running the coming version of Android will qualify as Bluetooth Smart Ready. Bluetooth Smart Ready is the premium designation for devices that are compatible with virtually any Bluetooth enabled product, from keyboards or audio headphones, to the next generation of ultra power-efficient Bluetooth Smart appcessories, like the FitBit Flex or the Pebble watch, coming to market now.
“Working with the big OS providers to offer native support for Bluetooth Smart Ready has been a major initiative within the Bluetooth SIG – we’re thrilled to welcome Android to the family,” said Suke Jawanda, CMO of the Bluetooth SIG. “It’s the hardware and software support that enables Bluetooth Smart Ready devices to seamlessly connect with the billions of Bluetooth devices in use today, and the exploding new market of Bluetooth Smart appcessories. With today’s announcement, Google joins Apple, Microsoft and BlackBerry in providing native software support which is great news for phone and tablet manufacturers, application developers and ultimately, consumers who count on Bluetooth to connect more of their technology.”
The native Android support for Bluetooth Smart Ready technology available in the coming months means Bluetooth Smart developers will have an easy way to connect their devices to and distribute their applications within the massive Android ecosystem. Developers will be able to use the new Android API to feed data collected from Bluetooth Smart appcessories, like fitness monitors or medical devices, to their apps running on Bluetooth Smart Ready products, like smart phones or tablets. Once released, any new Bluetooth enabled phone or tablet running Android and featuring a dual mode Bluetooth radio chip will be Smart Ready.
ABI projects the market for Bluetooth appcessories (defined as an accessory device with a companion application) to grow from 220 million units in 2013 to nearly one billion in 2016. To support this growth, the Bluetooth SIG has launched a Bluetooth developer enablement initiative which includes a web portal featuring a community forum, training and other resources to make designing with Bluetooth easier and faster. The Bluetooth Quick Start Kit (available now) serves as an introduction to Bluetooth Smart technology. For the Android developer community, the Bluetooth Application Accelerator (coming soon) will provide detailed implementation and developer guidelines to speed time-to-market for appcessory devices.
“The real winner here is the consumer,” adds Jawanda. “Bluetooth is truly the people’s technology – it is recognized, trusted, and can already be found in the end user’s pocket. Additionally, it is the only wireless technology to offer the ultra low power consumption and ubiquity needed to bring connectivity to the millions of appcessories coming to market. The Bluetooth Smart products we are going to see in the coming months are going to make life better, give more insight, and enable us all to make more informed decisions.”