Google's next great business tablet is coming soon. The tech giant hasn't yet confirmed many details about its forthcoming slate — rumored to be called the Nexus 9 — but dozens of rumors and reports indicate that the 9-inch tablet will debut sometime before the end of October. It would be the follow-up to 2012's 10-inch Nexus 10 — Google names its tablets after their screen size, rather than by the order of their release. The Nexus 9 is reported to deliver sharper images and better performance than its predecessor, and perhaps most importantly, it's rumored to be the first device running Android L, the next generation of Google's Android operating system. While we wait to hear more about the Nexus 9, read on for five features that could make it great for work.
The Nexus 9 is reported to pack an 8.9-inch screen that's a bit smaller than the display on the Nexus 10, according to most reports. That's the same size as the screen on Apple's iPad Air. The smaller screen could be a good thing for some business users, since the slate will be smaller and more portable than its predecessor, but still will have enough screen real estate for serious productivity. On the other hand, even a 10-inch screen can feel pretty cramped when you're trying to work, so some users may lament the Nexus 9's lost inch.
Previous Nexus tablets came with plastic bodies that were relatively durable, but lacked the premium appeal of metal slates like the iPad. But the Nexus 9 appears set to buck that trend. Reports indicate that the slate will sport an aluminum design, which might appeal to serious business users. And the device is still rumored to be lighter and thicker than its predecessor, at 7.9 millimeters thick (compared with 8.9 mm for the Nexus 10) and 14.7 ounces (the Nexus 10 was 21.3 ounces). That makes it a premium business tablet that won't weigh you down on your daily commute.
The next Nexus slate is reported to pack an extremely fast processor in Nvidia's new Tegra K1 chip — the same processor that powers the superfast Nvidia Shield, a tablet that was built to run processor-intensive video games. That means business users can expect superfast performance for everyday business tasks. Other rumored hardware highlights include 2GB of RAM for snappy multitasking, and either 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage, plus the option to add a persistent LTE data connection.
But what will really help the Nexus 9 stand out are software updates. Google announced Android L — the latest version of its Android mobile operating system — over the summer, and the Nexus 9 might be the very first device to receive the update. Android L will really benefit business users, since it adds dozens of new productivity-boosting features. Here are some of the highlights.
Android L will let you act on incoming alerts more quickly, right from the lock screen. When a new message, email or alert arrives, you can view it as soon as you wake your phone. Then you can take a variety of actions, such as dismissing a new text or email, or quickly responding using a prewritten message — no need to launch the full app.
Security is key for people who use their smartphone for work, and Android L packs in some great new security features. For starters, it lets your phone use context clues, such as GPS location and proximity to familiar Bluetooth devices, to determine if a lock-screen password is necessary when you turn your screen on. That will help you keep your device on lockdown, without the need to fuss with a cumbersome password screen every time.
Android L adds a new way to multitask. When you press the recent apps button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, individual tabs from your Web browser are now listed alongside recently used applications. That lets you easily jump back and forth between different Web pages when you're conducting research online.
Longer battery life
Good battery life is crucial for business users who use their smartphone for work. That's why Android L boasts some new features that will help your phone last through the end of the workday. For starters, there's a new app called Battery Historical that gives you a more detailed look at what apps are draining your battery. Then there's Battery Saver mode, which automatically reduces background updates when your phone is low on juice.
The Nexus advantage
So you're guaranteed to get Android L on day one with the Nexus 9, but what about future updates? That's the beauty of the Nexus name: Phones and tablets in the line are always the first to get new operating system updates. Users of other devices must usually wait months before updates are ported to their device. That even applies to popular Android smartphones such as Samsung's Galaxy S line. And many devices never receive the latest updates at all. That makes the Nexus advantage a big plus for users who want a business phone with the latest features.