The heavily rumored Android 4.3, the white LTE-powered Nexus 4 smartphone and the new Nexus 7 tablet did not make appearances at Google’s I/O conference keynote on Wednesday, but this has not stopped experts and enthusiasts from speculating about their eminent releases.
Rumors now indicate that we will see both devices and the operating system unveiled and released during the summer. However, when and how these technologies will debut remains a mystery. Sneak peeks of the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Android 4.3 have all surfaced prior to and during Google I/O, which began on Wednesday and will conclude on Friday.
Android 4.3: Rumor Background
Android 4.3 was spotted just hours before the I/O keynote began, by way of a Google search result directly from Android’s developer’s website that referenced Android 4.3. Possible photos of the white Nexus were leaked just days before I/O, and the new Nexus 7 was likely featured in the demonstration video for the new Google Hangout app that was introduced at Google I/O.
Two prominent rumors suggest that Android 4.3 will either release June 10 alongside the Nexus 4 smartphone or in July alongside the Nexus 7 tablet. Let’s review these speculations and determine which is more plausible.
During the first day of Google I/O, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or BSIG, announced that Android API 18 (the current operating system Android 4.2 is notably Android API 17) will be released in a couple of months and will support Bluetooth Smart, a low-energy form of Bluetooth that has been unavailable on Android devices thus far. Even with no confirmation from Google, most now accept that the new OS will be called Android 4.3 and have also predicted that “a couple of months” means it will release in July.
Android 4.3 Option 1: Release With Nexus 7
In conjunction come rumors that the second-generation Nexus 7 will be released in July with a sales target of 6 million to 8 million units for the second half, according to Digitimes. Likely featuring a 7-inch 1920 x 1200 LTPS display and a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor or Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, the device is expected to be priced the same as the original Nexus 7 at $199. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had similar predictions for the new Nexus 7, suggesting that the device would also include low power usage, LTE support, USB 3.0 support, QuickCharge 2.0 capability allowing for full charges in three hours instead of seven, improved battery life and game-play support.
The Google Hangout demonstration video shown at Google I/O briefly features a small tablet device that resembles the Nexus 7, except it has a blue notification light blinking, a capability that the current Nexus 7 does not have. Most are convinced that the video is proof that an updated Nexus 7 is on the way.
Android 4.3 Option 2: Release With Nexus 4
Meanwhile, there is also increasing evidence for the white Nexus 4 with LTE. In addition to the leaked photos showing a white phone with the Nexus logo clearly printed on its back, Android and Me claims to have seen the white Nexus at Google I/O and says the device will be released June 10 running Android 4.3. According to the tech website, the device is a spitting image of the current Nexus 4, just with a new color. The Nexus 4 is currently available only in black.
Other reports note that the Nexus 4 recently received certification for Bluetooth 4.0, of which Bluetooth low energy, or BLE, is a subset. If the Nexus 4 was updated with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, it would be the first Android-based mobile device to have the capability. Rumors also suggest that the device will contain 32GB of internal storage.
Nexus 4 Vs. Nexus 7: Verdict?
While a new Nexus 7 releasing with Android 4.3 does seems plausible, evidence appears to be leaning in favor of us seeing white Nexus 4 being released first with the next Android operating system. Not only do its rumors include a definitive release date, but the device also has a software connection to Android 4.3. Android 4.3 is expected to allow for the Bluetooth low energy or Bluetooth Smart, and the Nexus 4 has been approved for this new Bluetooth compatibility. The Nexus 7 currently has no such connection to Android 4.3. Though analysts have made similar predictions about the device, analysts are often incorrect.
There is one thing of which we can be certain, the next Android operating system will likely ship on a Nexus device, as per Google tradition. The Nexus 10 tablet and Nexus 4 smartphone were notably unveiled together alongside the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system and were the first devices to ship with that OS in November 2012.
This leaves an option open for both the new Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 to be launched at the same time along with Android 4.3. Other rumors suggest that Android 4.3 will release by August at the latest.
Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.