The first Google device to run a 64-bit version of Android will be a tablet made by HTC. We’ve heard murmurs of the Nexus 9 before, but according to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday, HTC engineers have been flying to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View to work on the high-end tablet.
Back in June, [company]Google[/company] announced Android L, the next version of Android, which will be fully 64-bit capable. But there aren’t many 64-bit capable phones or tablets currently available for developers to test out their new apps, so it’s a reasonable assumption that Google is preparing a new Nexus reference device to coincide with the public launch of Android L.
The Nexus 9, based on previous rumors, leaked accessories, and court filings, will be running Nvidia’s 64-bit Tegra K1 processor and will be Google’s first 64-bit device. The first 64-bit Nexus won’t be a phone because [company]Qualcomm[/company] decided to make its mid-level processors 64-bit compatible before the high-end chips Google likes to stick in its Nexus devices.
[company]HTC[/company] made the original Nexus One in 2010 but has not been tapped for a Nexus device since then. HTC also hasn’t made a tablet since the ill-fated HTC Flyer came out in 2011. The Taiwanese company has seen its fortunes sour since the early days of Android, and even though Nexus devices are not necessarily oriented for mainstream consumers, some estimates have pointed to the first-generation Nexus 7 selling nearly 1 million units in a quarter — which is a non-negligible amount of tablets for a company like HTC.
But it’s likely that the Nexus 9, when it eventually goes on sale, will be more expensive than the $230 the Nexus 7 currently costs. It’s much more likely to replace the $400 Nexus 10, which is made by [company]Samsung[/company]. Leaks have hinted at a tablet with a 8.9-inch 2048 x 1440 screen, 2GB of RAM, and a Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. Note that that screen resolution has an aspect ratio of 4:3, which when considered in addition to rumored keyboard cases, suggests a productivity focus for Google’s next tablet, which is expected to be announced as early as next month.